Finland & Norway .......29th May to 9th June 2024

Arctic Summer

Red-necked Phalaropes
Three-toed Woodpecker
This tour combines Arctic Norway’s dramatic scenery of fjords, coastal tundra and uplands with the vast taiga forests, lakes and marshes of Finland. These breath-taking landscapes are largely uninhabited - except by the thousands of birds which make these northern territories their summer home. Huge colonies of seabirds line the rugged cliffs of Varanger’s Hornoya Island, whilst in Finland’s forests and bogs the silence is broken only by the song of Bluethroats, Redwings, Wood & Broad-billed Sandpipers and the eerie drumming of Jack Snipe. Our specially designed programme encompasses the famous Varanger Peninsula in Norway, plus three areas in northern Finland, which host an impressive variety of birdlife. We commence our tour at Oulu, on the Gulf of Bothnia. We’ll visit the internationally famous wetland reserve of Liminganlahti, whose location is on a migratory flyway for thousands of waders, cranes and wildfowl. In the forests around Oulu, we aim to produce close encounters with Tengmalm’s, Pygmy, Ural & Great Grey Owls. At Kuusamo, amidst taiga forest, fjells and lakes, we’ll look for Hazel Grouse, Three-toed Woodpecker, Waxwing, Hawk Owl, Siberian Tit, Siberian Jay, Little Bunting and the rare Red-flanked Bluetail! Norway’s Varanger Fjord and Peninsula then offers a complete contrast - an Arctic environment of low fjells, tundra, coastal marshes, bogs and craggy sea cliffs. In summer, this ‘land of the midnight sun’ is home to a stunning variety of ‘Avian Gems’: King Eider, White-billed Diver, White-tailed Eagle, Gyr Falcon, Red-necked Phalarope, Dotterel, Temminck’s Stint, Long-tailed Skua, Brunnich’s Guillemot, Bluethroat, Red-throated Pipit and Lapland Bunting. The whole area is simply vibrating with birdlife!

Great Grey Owl
Days 1-2: The tour begins with a two-night stay in Oulu on the Gulf of Bothnia. Our exploits into the forests will hopefully reveal several owl species, Three-toed Woodpecker and Wryneck. The marshes of Liminka should hold Common Cranes, Smew, Marsh Harriers, Black-tailed Godwits and migrating shorebirds. Other specialties of the area include Pallid Harrier, Terek Sandpiper and Ortolan Bunting.

Days 3-4: We drive to Kuusamo, a marvellous birdwatching area of taiga forest, fjells and hundreds of small lakes. We will explore the area in search of breeding birds such as Hazel Grouse, Hawk Owl, Waxwing, Little Gull, Black-throated Diver, Red-flanked Bluetail, Siberian Jay and Little Bunting.

Day 5: We travel to Ivalo, crossing the Arctic Circle, looking for Broad-billed Sandpiper and Jack Snipe.

Hawk Owl
Days 6-7: We travel through Arctic Lapland, with a stop en route at a well-known café for refreshment and to observe the bird feeders, where Pine Grosbeak, Siberian Tit and Bramblings are regular visitors. After crossing the border into Norway, we arrive at Tana Bru, gateway to the Varanger Peninsula and continue northwards to Båtsfjord for 2 nights. We travel through an area of majestic upland tundra, where typical birds of this habitat are Black-throated Diver, Long-tailed Duck, Dotterel, Temminck’s Stint, Long-tailed Skua, Willow Ptarmigan, Horned Lark, Bluethroat, and Lapland Bunting.

Willow Ptarmigan
Days 8-10: On Day 8 we’ll drive to the southern part of the peninsula, viewing cliffs for Gyr Falcon, White-tailed Eagle and Rough-legged Buzzard. Coastal bays, marshes and tundra support King Eider, Velvet Scoter, Red-throated & White-billed Divers, breeding Ruff, Whimbrel, Turnstones and Arctic Skuas. Vadso Island nature reserve pool has Red-necked Phalaropes and on Hornoya is a massive seabird colony, with Kittiwakes, Puffins, Razorbills and Brunnich’s Guillemots.

Days 11-12: We return to Ivalo for an overnight stay, with birdwatching en route. On day 12 we will drive to Rovaniemi to catch our return flights to UK.

Tour ref: AA24**

Deposit: £500
Single Room Supplement: £TBA

Leaders: Neil Glenn and Finnature leader

Max. Group: 12 plus Leaders

Includes: En-suite accommodation based on twin occupancy; meals; transportation in Scandinavia and services of leaders

Excludes: Flights, travel Insurance, drinks and items of a personal nature.