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FINLAND & ARCTIC NORWAY

Tuesday 29th May - Thursday 14th June 2012

Dave Farrow

Siberian Jay (Hannu Jännes)

Siberian Jay (Hannu Jännes)

This year’s Birdquest tour to Estonia, Finland and Norway went to plan despite the obstacles thrown our way by the always unpredictable Mother Nature. As ever, owls were high on everyone's wish list, and once again we succeeded in having really great encounters with all the main species, which included a very showy pair of impressive Great Grey Owls with three large chicks, an amusing Ural Owl chick, diminutive Pygmy Owl, a very cute Tengmalm's Owl peering at us from its nest hole and the Northern Hawk Owl staring at us with fierce eyes. The gamebirds were abundant this year, and we had great views of several Capercaillies and Black Grouse, a few Hazel Grouse and both the Willow and Rock Ptarmigan. Other species worth a mention were Lesser Spotted Eagle, Corncrake, a splendid male Citrine Wagtail, many breeding White Storks, Penduline Tit and several displaying Great Snipes in Estonia, great views of first-summer and adult White-billed Divers, Black, Grey-headed and Three-toed Woodpeckers, two Steller's Eiders and many King Eiders, including one splendid near adult male, Broad-billed Sandpiper in song flight, the enigmatic and elusive Pine Grosbeak, a total of six Red-flanked Bluetails, including several adult males, Icterine, Blyth’s Reed, Marsh, Reed, Sedge, Great Reed and Greenish Warblers, Siberian Jay, Siberian Tit, and Little, Rustic, Lapland, Ortolan and Snow Buntings. In all we observed 217 species of birds including almost all the northern specialities.

Northern Hawk Owl (Hannu Jännes)

Northern Hawk Owl (Hannu Jännes)