Varanger is one of the most attractive birding destinations in Norway. The number of species and birds are remarkable, both summer and winter.
Among foreign birders Varanger might be one of the most famous areas in Northern Europe. During the spring and summer both individual birders and organized groups come here to experience the great variety of migrating birds, Arctic ducks, breeding waders and birds of prey.
The Varangerfjord is unlike other fjords in Norway, as it is not heated up by the Gulf Stream. It can therefore be quite cold and unfriendly, but despite this, the fjord is free of ice during the winter and for many eastern birds it is a convenient place to spend the winter. So when daylight returns in February/March it is a perfect place to see the rare Steller's eider (Polysticta stelleri) and other Arctic ducks such as the king eider and the long-tailed duck. Varanger is indeed the only place in Europe you can expect to see the Steller's eider - between 80 and 90 percent of the European population of Steller's eider overwinters in Varanger.
During the migration the coastline and wetlands are full of seabirds, waders and different kinds of sparrows. Some species, such as the little stint, curlew sandpiper, dunlin and red-necked phalarope, come in big numbers. Many different species are observed in Varanger, and the list includes species from North America, Siberia, southern Europe and high-Arctic areas. Some surprising examples are soft plumaged petrel, cattle egret, spectacled eider, Egyptian vulture, great spotted eagle, little bustard, semi-palmated plover, short-billed dowitcher, stilt sandpiper, little curlew, Ross’s gull, European roller, buff-bellied pipit and white-winged lark.
More information on bird watching in Varanger.
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Finnmark offers fantastic opportunities for birding. The Varanger Peninsula in eastern Finnmark is one of Norway's most exclusive bird areas.
Birding in Finnmark
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