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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, Siberian Tit (or Gray-headed Chickadee) and Parrot Crossbill, as well as Yellow-billed Diver (or Yellow-billed Loon), King and Steller’s Eiders, Gyr Falcon, Western Capercaillie, Black and Hazel Grouse, Jack Snipe, Brünnich’s Guillemot (or Thick-billed Murre) and Arctic (or Hoary) Redpoll. For every visitor a major highlight is an incredible suite of owls: Great Grey, Ural, Eurasian Eagle, Northern Hawk, Tengmalm's (or Boreal) and Eurasian Pygmy. What more could one ask!

Tuesday 22nd May — Tuesday 29th May 2018
(8 days)


Northern Finland & Arctic Norway Extension: Tuesday 29th May — Monday 4th June (7 days)

The Northern Finland & Arctic Norway Extension can be taken as a stand-alone tour if preferred

Leader: Hannu Jännes

Group Size Limit: 8

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 Siberian Tit (or Gray-headed Chickadee), 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, Tengmalm’s (or Boreal) 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.

We will end the tour in the 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, Jack Snipe, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Eurasian Three-toed Woodpecker, the lovely Northern Red-flanked Bluetail, Greenish Warbler, Siberian Tit (or Gray-headed Chickadee), Siberian Jay, Pine Grosbeak, Parrot Crossbill (a Western Palearctic endemic) and Rustic and Little Buntings.

During the optional extension 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.

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 Divers (or Yellow-billed Loons), King and Steller’s Eiders, White-tailed Eagles, Gyr Falcons, Long-tailed Skuas (or Long-tailed Jaegers), Brünnich’s Guillemots (or Thick-billed Murres) 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.

Northern Finland & Arctic Norway-only Option: It is possible to take the Northern Finland & Arctic Norway extension as a 7-days tour in itself (on an Ivalo/Ivalo basis) if you wish. Simply make this clear on your booking form.

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.

Important: By limiting our group size to 12 plus 2 leaders, rather than 14 plus 2, we allow welcome extra space in the vehicles.

These are provisional prices

Tour Price: £1960, €2450, $2740 Helsinki/Kuusamo. Northern Finland & Arctic Norway Extension: £1860, €2320, $2600 (ending in Ivalo).

Price includes all transportation, all accommodations, all meals, some drinks, all excursions, all entrance fees, all tips for local drivers/guides and for accommodations/restaurants, leader services.

Single Room Supplement: £199, €249, $279. Extension: £230, €288, $322.

Deposit: £300, €360, $390. Extension: £300, €360, $390.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency can arrange your air travel in connection with the tour from a departure point anywhere in the world, or you may arrange your own air travel if you prefer. We can tailor-make your itinerary to your personal requirements, so if you would like to travel in advance of the tour (and spend a night in an hotel so you will feel fresh when the tour starts), or return later than the end of the tour, or make a side trip to some other destination, or travel business class rather than economy, we will be happy to assist. Please contact us about your air travel requirements.

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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