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FINLAND & ARCTIC NORWAY

Saturday 19th May - Friday 1st June 2018

Hannu Jännes

Pine Grosbeak (Hannu Jännes)

Pine Grosbeak (Hannu Jännes)

This year’s Birdquest tour to Finland and Norway was once again a great success. Not only did we find the great majority of target birds, we were able to enjoy them in the stunning landscapes of the “Land of the midnight sun” with its almost endless boreal forests, countless lakes, wet bogs, mighty rivers, partly snow covered fells and the rugged coast of the Arctic Ocean that teems with birdlife. As always owls were high on everyone's wish list, and once again we succeeded in having really good sightings of all the target species with an impressive female Great Grey Owl, a splendid Ural Owl, two close encounters with diminutive Eurasian Pygmy Owls, a very cute Boreal (Tengmalm's) Owl family at the nest, and a family party of fierce looking Northern Hawk Owls. We had an unexpected bonus owl in the form of a magnificent Snowy Owl on the fells of northern Norway. It is unfortunately a very rare sighting in Fennoscandia nowadays. The gamebirds, despite suffering poor breeding success for many years now, proved co-operative and we had great views of Western Capercaillie, displaying Black Grouse, confiding Hazel Grouse and good views of Willow and Rock Ptarmigans. Other species worth a mention were a splendid adult male Pallid Harrier, nowadays a rare but regular breeding bird in Finland, great views of four adult summer p White-billed Divers, White-backed, Lesser Spotted, Black, Grey-headed and Three-toed Woodpeckers, King Eider, an admittedly brief Gyrfalcon, several Eurasian Dotterel, Broad-billed Sandpiper and Jack Snipe in song flight, the enigmatic and elusive Pine Grosbeak, a singing adult male Red-flanked Bluetail, Icterine, Blyth’s Reed and Greenish Warblers, Siberian Jay, Grey-headed Chickadee (aka Siberian Tit), and Little, Rustic, Lapland, Ortolan and Snow Buntings. There was also the memorable visit to the bird island of Hornöya in Norway, which, with all the breeding seabirds, is a remarkable experience. As a new feature on this tour some of us spent one evening in a bear hide in Kuusamo enjoying magnificent views of a total of four Brown Bears.

Capercaillie (Hannu Jännes)

Capercaillie (Hannu Jännes)