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FINLAND & ARCTIC NORWAY

Birding in the Land of the Midnight Sun

Birdquest’s Finland & Arctic Norway birding tour is a classic European birdwatching journey. Our Finland & Arctic Norway tour is the perfect way to see the many specialities of this beautiful part of the world, which include three real mega-lifers, Siberian Jay, Grey-headed Chickadee (or Siberian Tit) and Parrot Crossbill, as well as Yellow-billed Loon (or White-billed Diver), King and Steller’s Eiders, Gyrfalcon, Western Capercaillie, Black and Hazel Grouse, Jack Snipe, Thick-billed Murre (or Brünnich’s Guillemot), Pine Grosbeak and Arctic (or Hoary) Redpoll. For every visitor a major highlight is an incredible suite of owls: Great Grey, Ural, Boreal (or Tengmalm’s) and Eurasian Pygmy Owls, Eurasian Eagle-Owl and Northern Hawk-Owl. What more could one ask!

Tuesday 22nd May — Monday 4th June 2018
(14 days)


Leader: Hannu Jännes

Group Size Limit: 7

Tour Category: Easy walking for the most part and comfortable accommodations

Finland is certainly THE place in the Western Palearctic for owls, with many being staked-out at nests in the spring, such as this gorgeous Tengmalm's (or Boreal) Owl (Pete Morris)

Finland is certainly THE place in the Western Palearctic for owls, with many being staked-out at nests in the spring, such as this gorgeous Tengmalm's (or Boreal) Owl (Pete Morris)

Finland and Arctic Norway hold some wonderful avian specialities, most notably Grey-headed Chickadee (or Siberian Tit), Siberian Jay and Parrot Crossbill, not to mention some of the most charismatic owls in the world, and this far northern part of Europe ranks as one of the continent’s classic birding destinations.

As many of the most sought-after species are very localized, or thinly spread, both sufficient time and local expertise is essential if one wants to see the more difficult species. The high cost of living makes a comprehensive tour to Finland and Arctic Norway relatively expensive, but this is more than outweighed by the experience of seeing some of Europe’s most exciting birds amidst the wide-open spaces of the ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’.

Our tour is very carefully timed so that we will be visiting Finland and Arctic Norway early enough to avoid the plagues of mosquitoes that make life difficult later in the year while being at the optimum time for birding.

Lapland, the only easily accessible Arctic region on the mainland of Europe, is one of those magic places which every birdwatcher should visit. Here the sun never sets for months on end, fuelling the spectacular, but all too brief explosion of life that makes the Arctic summer so special. A wilderness for man, the vast forests, bogs, fells, tundras and wild coasts of the far north are home to countless birds which here seem to lose their fear of humans.

We shall begin our journey through northernmost Europe in the Finnish lake district of the south-central part of the country. Here we should find a fantastic suite of owls, including the magnificent Great Grey Owl, Ural Owl, Eurasian Eagle-Owl, Boreal (or Tengmalm’s) Owl and Eurasian Pygmy Owl.

Heading further north, we will pause at Oulu, visiting the forests and marshes at the head of the Gulf of Bothnia where we have another chance for owls if we missed any further south.

Next we explore the marvelous Kuusamo region, situated near the Russian border at the southern edge of Finnish Lapland, where we shall be wanting to encounter the huge Western Capercaillie, Black and Hazel Grouse, Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker, the lovely Red-flanked Bluetail, Greenish Warbler, Grey-headed Chickadee (or Siberian Tit), Siberian Jay, Pine Grosbeak, Parrot Crossbill (endemic to the ‘Western Palearctic’) and Rustic and Little Buntings.

During the last part of our journey we shall explore northernmost Finnish Lapland and the Arctic region of far northern Norway, and in particular the famous Varangerfjord.

From the Kuusamo region we travel northwards through the forests and rugged fells of northern Finland, where we should see the fearless Northern Hawk-Owl, find some displaying Jack Snipes and Broad-billed Sandpipers, and visit some bird feeders where Pine Grosbeak is a regular visitor.

Eventually we shall reach the Arctic Ocean at Varangerfjord and Båtsfjord in northernmost Norway, spending some time exploring this scenically superb, bird-rich region before we have to drag ourselves away from the Yellow-billed Loons (or White-billed Divers), King and Steller’s Eiders, White-tailed Eagles, Gyrfalcons, Long-tailed Jaegers (or Long-tailed Skuas), Thick-billed Murres (or Brünnich’s Guillemots) and Arctic (or Hoary) Redpolls.

A veritable feast of special birds awaits you in the ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’!

Birdquest has operated tours to Finland and Arctic Norway since 1982.

Important: The Birdquest group size limit of 7 plus leader is much smaller than most Finland & Arctic Norway tours (many of which have limits of 16 including leaders!), making for a far superior experience.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels are of good standard throughout. Road transport is by minibus. Roads are mostly good.

Walking etc: The walking is mostly fairly easy, but there are also one or two fairly long walks, and walks are sometimes over uneven terrain. The long daylight hours tend to result in regular long days in the field.

Climate: Rather variable. Temperatures range from cool to warm in southern and central Finland but are generally cool to cold in far northern Finland and at Varangerfjord. Sunny periods alternate with rainy, overcast weather (and it may even snow at higher altitudes in the north).

Bird Photography: Opportunities are good.

Tour Price: £3920, €4470, $5140 Helsinki/Ivalo. Single Room Supplement: £403, €459, $528. Deposit: £500, €600, $650.

Includes surface transportation, accommodations, meals, water, entrance fees and tips/gratuities.

Base prices for this tour are in Euros. The exchange rates applied at the time of costing were: £1 = €1.140 and €1 = $1.150.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.

The fantastic Great Grey Owl is always one at the top of most people's wish lists! (Hannu Jännes)

The fantastic Great Grey Owl is always one at the top of most people's wish lists! (Hannu Jännes)

The splendid and highly sought Northern Red-flanked Bluetail (or Northern Orange-flanked Bush Robin) just strtches as far east as Finland as a breeding species (Pete Morris)

The splendid and highly sought Northern Red-flanked Bluetail (or Northern Orange-flanked Bush Robin) just strtches as far east as Finland as a breeding species (Pete Morris)

The northern tundra is home to the fantastic Long-tailed Skua or Long-tailed Jaeger (Pete Morris)

The northern tundra is home to the fantastic Long-tailed Skua or Long-tailed Jaeger (Pete Morris)

The eiders of Varangerfjord are another special highlight of the trip - this is a fine drake King Eider (Pete Morris)

The eiders of Varangerfjord are another special highlight of the trip - this is a fine drake King Eider (Pete Morris)

22 photos View Gallery Photos From FINLAND & ARCTIC NORWAY
Other special owls that we will be looking for include the powerful Ural Owl (Hannu Jännes)

Other special owls that we will be looking for include the powerful Ural Owl (Hannu Jännes)

... the attractive Northern Hawk Owl (Hannu Jännes)

... the attractive Northern Hawk Owl (Hannu Jännes)

... and the diminutive Eurasian Pygmy Owl(Hannu Jännes)

... and the diminutive Eurasian Pygmy Owl(Hannu Jännes)

Other specialities of the northern forests include the elusive White-backed Woodpecker (Hannu Jännes)

Other specialities of the northern forests include the elusive White-backed Woodpecker (Hannu Jännes)

... and Parrot Crossbill, endemic to the Western Palearctic (Hannu Jännes)

... and Parrot Crossbill, endemic to the Western Palearctic (Hannu Jännes)

Breeding Whooper Swans are great to see (Hannu Jännes)

Breeding Whooper Swans are great to see (Hannu Jännes)

The seabird colonies give great opportunities to see Atlantic Puffins (Hannu Jännes)

The seabird colonies give great opportunities to see Atlantic Puffins (Hannu Jännes)

... and Brünnich's Guillemots (or Thick-billed Murres) (Pete Morris)

... and Brünnich's Guillemots (or Thick-billed Murres) (Pete Morris)

The superb Steller's Eider is also present at Varangerfjord (Pete Morris)

The superb Steller's Eider is also present at Varangerfjord (Pete Morris)

Many of the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOL Certificate

Birdquest Ltd is Registered in England, Company No. 01568270. The address of our registered office is Two Jays, Kemple End, Stonyhurst, Clitheroe, Lancashire BB7 9QY

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