So picking up the horrendously expensive hire car, a 1200cc VW 4 door petrol saloon, we were on are way. We were staying in a small town near Vadso called Vestre Jakobselv just off the main E75 road. The site provided small self catering wooden cabins, very warm and comfy and the owners estimated a two hour drive from the airport. Baz started the driving spotting plenty of Fieldfare, Redwing, Bean Geese, and Reindeer along the way, and after about half an hour spotted a Moose close by the road side in a field.
|Steller's Eider Vadso Harbour|
|Nesting Kittiwake colony|
|Glaucous Gull Vasdo Harbour|
|Sodden looking Red-Necked Phalarope|
The town of Berlvag, which is probably around 400km further north is a great area, producing a vast variety of species along the way. Absolutely tremendous area, so many changes of habitats along the way provided ample stoppages, highlights being Willow Grouse, Long-Tailed Skua and Temminck's Stint.
|King Eider Berlevag Harbour|
|2cy Ross's Gull on favoured rooftop in Berlevag|
At Berlevag we heard news of breeding Gyr Falcon from some Finish birders, no exact details but they said the nest could be seen from the road. After slowly driving the road we came across what looked like the location. What a massive nest it was and after a couple of hours wait the parent flew in with provisions for the two chicks.
|Gyr Falcon using an old Eagle nest|
After five days birding around the Varangerfjord, a change of habitat and onto the Forest was on the agenda. The route up to Pasvik would take back past Kirkness Airport on the E6. Photographic opportunities aplenty just takes twice as long to get anywhere.
|Whooper Swans on the side of the road.|
|Two adult Hawk Owl one with missing tail feathers.|
|Five star accommodation|
|Brambling very common in this area.|
Would have to say the most commonest bird seen in this area was Brambling, all too often we thought we may have been onto something different, turned out to be the usual suspect.
Although not a lot of new birds on offer, nevertheless the quality is first class. You can spend a lot of time chasing other people's birds or do your own birding, as this is a great place to find your own birds with not a lot of birders around. Perhaps not a big species list on offer but the quality is first class. Very friendly people easy to get around, with the roads being fairly quite one minute but each trial checked could be rewarded with good birds.
Sparadic showers most days with some sunny intervals, few of those days the rain turned into snow, which is very weird in June.Very quiet on the roads, in which would have been the start of there summer season.
Book used: A Birdwatcher's Guide to Norway: Where, When and How to find the Birds of Norway including Svalbard ISBN-13: 9788299806244, very good although a bit pricey in my opinion and the maps are not altogether accurate.
Also followed Finnmark birding on Twitter, which gave us some free news but usually a day old.