Bird watching holidays to Norway take birders to a majestic land of fjords, Arctic islands and Musk Oxen-inhabited mountains. The bird species inhabiting this land are diverse and spectacular, whether breeding colonies on the rugged coastlines or waders in the uplands. There are many rewarding destinations within Norway – three of the finest are Varanger Fjord in the far northern mainland, the Lofoten Islands out in the Arctic Ocean, and the Dovre Mountains in the south of the country.
At the far north of mainland Europe is Varanger Fjord, a less-visited destination for bird watching holidays, but an incredibly rewarding one. Visiting in spring reveals a dramatic side of the Arctic, as the entire landscape reacts to the advent of warmer, longer sunlight hours. Ice and snow recede, plant life emerges for its short growing season, and birds gather to nest and feast on the nutrient-rich waters. Birders can enjoy the sight of sea duck assembling along the shores, including Europe’s largest colonies of Steller’s Eiders. King Eiders, Gyr Falcons and Brünnich’s Guillemots are also present. Venturing further south into the vast taiga forests of Finland – which stretch around to Siberia – birders can also look for Siberian Jays, Siberian Tits and Three-toed Woodpeckers. Many hours of darkness remain in spring, making it possible to see the unforgettable show of the Northern Lights if the weather and solar conditions are favourable.
The Lofoten Islands of Norway are far into the Arctic Circle: a cold, rugged landscape, surrounded by rich blue waters, home to giants of the sea – Sperm, Orca and Minke Whales – and sea birds in vast numbers. It is a stunning destination for bird watching holidays. Step onto the three-billion-year-old rocks of the island of Moskenes, explore the island of Andoya for Whimbrel, Brambling and Redpoll, and pass fishing villages on the remote coastlines. Other bird species that feed and breed in the Lofoten Islands include Willow Ptarmigan, Ruff and Red-necked Phalarope, White-tailed Eagle, Snow Bunting and Rough-legged Buzzard. Whale sightings are also a key feature of holidays to the Lofoten Islands, as well as White-beaked Dolphin and seal colonies.
Heading upland to the Dovre Mountains, birders will see a new side of Norway: an alpine and wetland landscape where reintroduced Musk Oxen roam and bird species are diverse. Bird watching holidays in the Dovre Mountains will take birders in search of Long-tailed Ducks, Red-throated and Black-throated Divers, Temminck’s Stint, Willow Grouse, Ring Ouzel, breeding Fieldfare and Black Woodpecker, birds of prey such as Short-eared Owl, Rough-legged Buzzard and Gyr Falcon, and many more. The Musk Oxen population of 215 animals, typically living in groups of 10 or 15, provides a magnificent opportunity for mammal sightings.