During 21.7 - 28.7.2000

(c) Harry J Lehto

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PARTICIPANTS: Harry J, Kirsi, Kerttu (9y) and Aarni (6y) Lehto


This was really a family summerholiday trip flavored with some birding. No exact counts, just trying to keep track of the birds we encountered. Nor there was any pressure to see the Lappish specialties, so no effort was made e.g. for owls. So consider this more as a list of the birds you could see if you keep your eyes open in mid-summer in Northern Finland and Varangerfjord, Norway. Some GPS positions are included.
Sun was above the horizon. The first sunset of the summer was as we left the area on about Jul 27.
We travelled around in our car and slept most of the nights "in the bush" in a tent. So we have included no information on accomodation or car rental.
We managed to see about 70 different species.


21.7 Oulu-Utsjoki
22.7 Utsjoki (Ailigas, Pulmankijärvi)
23.7 Utsjoki-Nuvvus-Karigasniemi-Kaamanen-Utsjoki
24.7 Utsjoki - Større Ekkerøya
25.7 Større Ekkerøya - Hamningsberg
26.7 Hamningsberg and Vardø
27.7 Hamningsberg - Berlevåg Road - Utsjoki
28.7 Utsjoki-Oulu


In Finland it was warm +20C to +25C. In Norway by the Arctic Ocean the daily temperatures were about +15C, night temps were 0C to +4C. We had only one rain shower during our trip. Most of the time there was some light cloudiness.


Any field guide covering Europe should be sufficient. The only guide I had with me was Killian Mullarney, Lars Svensson, Dan Zetterström and Peter Grant, Lintuopas, Good artwork. Available in bird bookstores in various languages.


Stielle: was useful in locating a Arctic warbler and for the family for learning new birdcalls.


We birded on our own, but useful tips were obtained by membership in paging system of the Finnish Bongariliitto, as well as from Heikki and Olli Karhu (Inarin Lappi) and John Asmar Olsen (Varangerfjord) to all of whom I wish to express my thanks.

Send a report of your sightings to either Heikki and Olli Karhu (Finland) or John Asmar Olsen (Norway).


John Asmar Olsen, Krampenes, 9800 Vadsø, NORWAY (Krampenes is about 19 km East of Vadsø). John has no internet connection.
Heikki and Olli Karhu: Hukkaperän 4, 99800 Ivalo, FINLAND. Web site:



The country code for Finland is +358 and +47 for Norway. In Northernmost Finland two GSM operators have coverage. TELE's coverage appears better than that of Radiolinja. Radiolinja is OK south of Inari, near Kevo, and near the center of Utsjoki and Karigasniemi as well as on most mountain tops eg. towards Pulmankijärvi and on the county border between Inari and Utsjoki at Peitsikko.

In Norway several operators were also available. We used TeleN. The only places were we did not get coverage were the tunnel to Vardø and most of the road from Vardø to Hamningsberg. I managed to find one location in Hamningsberg with a connection to outside world. In these kind of weak GSM fields text messages turn out to be a very useful means of communication.


1EURO = 5.94 Finnish mark (fixed rate) and 1FIM = 1.38 NKR, which makes about 1EURO about 8.20 NKR We exchanged Finnish Marks to Norwegian Kronors at Nuorgam Postoffice, almost accorss the K-food store. Most of the Nuorgam stores accept also Norwegian currency.


On the right side of the road. Some roads are narrow, so average speeds tend to be low. Can do short term (bird) parking almost anywhere.


Fuel in Finland about 7-7.5 FIM (95E), 4.8-5.5 FIM (DIESEL) and in Norway about 11 NKR(95E), 10 NKR (DIESEL). Price is cheaper in Finland, particularly for diesel. Cheapest gas station in Nuorgam about 3 km before the Northernmost boarder crossing to Norway.
General price level quite high in Finland, but even higher in Norway. You may want to stock up in Utsjoki or Nuorgam before you go to Norway.


None if you are coming from EU. Minimal if you are coming from US. The border between Finland and Norway is practically a drive though frontier. If you need to declare something I suggest crossing at Utsjoki, because the customs building at Nuorgam is closed from 22.00 to 08.00.


Nice and friendly. No crime experienced or expected.


Finnish in Finland (and locally in Norway), Norwegian in Norway. Swedish is also understood widely in Norway. One can also cope reasonably well with English. If you want to learn a very interesting little spoken language you could try taking a course in one of the local forms of Saami (or Sami) language spoken by the Lapps. Saami is also the official language in many of the Northern counties/communities.


A one hour difference between Finland (GMT+3h in summer) and Norway (GMT+2h in summer). When you go from Finland to Norway you should move you watch 1 hour backwards. Both countries switch simultaneously from summer to winter time and back.


Yes, plenty of mosquitos close to small bushy streams further than about 10kms from the shore. In practice NO mosquitos along the coastal road from Varangerbotn to Hamningsberg.


My former trip to Vananger (Mar 1995)
Heikki and Olli Karhu:
Morten Guenter
Birding Varanger peninsula
Subbuteo bookstore catalogue
ABA bookstore catalogue



In Finland two quite similar highway map series are available: The GT (1:200 000) and the WSOY map series (1:250 000). I recommend the GT series because the better scale and also because of a better grid. Prices of these maps are about 60 FIM.
In Norway I used my old Norway highway map number 21 (1:250 000) -- see my earlier trip report.


In Finland I recommend you to set you GPS to the Finnish system, which in GARMIN GPSs is (Finnish Hayford, User Grid: Longitude Origin = E 27d00.000, Scale = 1.000000, False Easting = 3 500 000 m, False Northing = 0m ). To get the height from sealevel in the Finnish N60 system subtract about 20 meters from the altitude shown by the GPS. This is approximately the difference between the WGS84 GEOID and the Finnish N60 altitude system. This system is presently used in all Finnish land maps (e.g. topographic maps).

In Norway I used the dd mm.mmmm format and the WGS 84 datum, which is presently used in Norway.


7584700:3519050 Kiilopää parking
7584053:3520810 Kiilopää top (approx)
7662726:3503704 Inari vastusjärvi intersection on Rte4
7665448:3504332 Inari vastusjärvi observation tower
7758855:3501105 Utsjoki village (information center)
7759455:3503445 Road to Ailigas - driving with permission only
7778300:3533500 Approximate start of road to Pulmankijärvi - public road
7767550:3537610 Good spot to view Pulmankijärvi

70° 08.'733N 28° 51.'707E Nesseby chappel
70° 08.'907N 28° 53.'818E Bergebyelva
70° 07.'600N 29° 02.'577E Mortensnes
70° 06.'738N 29° 19.'650E Vesjakobselv bridge + Jakobsevla delta
70° 04.'092N 29° 44.'900E Vadsø; bridge
70° 04.'253N 30° 06.'215E Ekkerøya parkingsite
70° 06.'287N 30° 11.'605E John Asmar Olsen
70° 22.'470N 31° 06.'209E Vardø, Havnkontor
70° 22.'441N 31° 06.'273E Vardø, Hornøya boat
70° 22.'797N 31° 07.'133E Vardø, peninsula
70° 22.'500N 31° 05.'900E Vardø, Shell
70° 22.'451N 31° 06.'021E Vardø, foodstore
70° 32.'274N 30° 38.'080E Hamningsberg, evening & morning
70° 32.'778N 30° 35.'236E Hamningsberg, morning (alternative)
70° 32.'635N 30° 36.'274E Hamningsberg, GSM point



Kiilopää: We visited this place because of a local pair of Grey Wagtails. The slopes and the top of the mountain Kiilopää are supposed to be good for Ptarmigan and Dotterel.

Kuuturantie: Close to Kiilopää within a couple of kms you should be able to find Siberian tits, Waxwings and possibly even Siberian Jays and Capercaillies.

Peitsikko: A nice spot right on the border between Inari and Utsjoki, could be a good spot for Long-tailed skua -- this year a very poor year.


Ailigas: A classical Finnish site for Ptarmigan and Dotterel. Now the road is sign posted as private. Please respect the sign and walk the up along the road or along the birchwoods. You may bump into a Willow Grouse.

Karigasniemi Road: Beautiful road along the Teno river from Karigasniemi to Utsjoki. Sometimes good for raptors. The river is worth checking from several spots.

Pulmankijärvi: A large quiet calm lake. A real "trap". Has had eg. a Fulmar. Worth checking at least for your Finnish list! We had white reindeers here.




Nesseby chappel: Easy to get to. You see it well before you get there. You have almost passed Nesseby village before you turn.

Mortensnes: Marked as a special site of interest. Lots of fishermen. A reasonable site for looking over the fjord. A small kittiwake colony.

Bergebyelva west of Mortensnes and Jakobselva well East of Mortensnes are good for roosting gulls, ducks and possibly waders (shorebirds).

Vadsø; bridge: As you get to town, head right (South). You will end up on the bridge. The whole area that is visible from the bridge is good for gulls waterfowl and waders (shorebirds).

Større Ekkerøya: Seabird colony, mainly Kittiwakes, but has also some guillemots, razorbills and black guillemots. With a luck you could see a fulmar from here. This is the most accessible of the three bird islands.

Vardø: Vardø is the last place to stockup on fuel and food on your way to Hamningsberg. Quite good for ducks and gulls. You can just barely identify puffins at Hornøya from the NE most pensinula at Vardø.

Hornøya: Proper access to Hornøya bird island is by boat with travel time negotiable at Havnkontor. The best time to start is 09.00 AM. Price for the boat ride depends on the time of the day: 180 Nkr on working days between about 09.20 and up to 15.00. At other times the Jul 2000 prices are 210 NKr between 15.00-19.30, and 330NKr at other times (night, early morning and weekend). Cheaper rates are available for larger groups. We stayed 4 hours at Hornøya. This was sufficient for me, and not too long for the family.
Upon arrival to Hornøya take an immediate right to the start of the trail. This trail, which is locally narrow, rocky and steep will give you splendid views of the birds. You must stay on the trail.

Road to Hamingsberg: Fabulous "Moonlanscape". The road is narrow, but there is plenty of locations where you can pull over. Do so when ever you can but consider also other drivers. This is supposed to be the best area for birding in the Varanger peninsula. We did not have enough time.

Hamningsberg: Grassy meadow and a small village plus a rocky peninsula. Upon arrival to Haminingsberg you will arrive to the main intersection of the village. Here you can drive right to the end of the road and walk to rocks by the dock for sea watching. This seems to be ideal in the evening and in the morning. Another apparently good morning site is if you turn left at the main intersection, drive to the end of the road and then walk a couple of hundred meters to the right to the small rocks by the seashore. The only reason for driving straight at the main intersection is to get to the seemingly only location within 30km, where mobile phone net is accesible.
Hamningsberg is the third "bird island", well you can see Syltefjordstauran from here, but you cannot get to the cliffs. Anyway the bird come to you here.


Towards Berlevåg: From Varangerbotn drive towards Tanabru, don't cross the Tana river, but keep on continuing for some 50 kms. You will get above the tree line at about 250m altitude. From there on you have splendid open upland tundra.


White-billed/Great Northern Diver Gavia adamsii/immer
25.7 1 Near Hamningsberg

Gannet Sula bassana
25.7 30 Hamningsberg
26.7 40 Hamningsberg
27.7 4 -> Hamningsberg

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis
25.7 500! Hamningsberg
26.7 3 Hornøya, 1000! Hamningsberg
27.7 4 Vardø harbour, 100 Vardø-Ekkeroya

Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis
26.7 150 Hornøya, 10 Hamningsberg
27.7 3 ->Hamningsberg, 3 Vardø

Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
26.7 15 Hamningsberg
27.7 10 ->Hamningsberg

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
23.7 7 Utsjoki, Nuvvus

Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope
23.7 1 female Utsjoki-Nuvvus

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
22.7 1 unidentified aythya at Teno
27.7 10 ->Hamningsberg

Long-tailed Duck/Oldsquaw Clangula hyemalis
25.7 5 Hamningsberg
27.7 20 ->Hamningsberg, 4 Berlevåg road

Common Eider Somateria mollisima
24.7 4 Nesseby chapel, 10 Bergebyelva, 4 Mortesnes, 20 Ekkerøya
25.7 500 Hamningsberg, 50 elsewhere
26.7 1000 Hamningsberg
27.7 2000

Steller's Eider Polysticta stelleri
24.7 3 Nesseby chapel, 10 Bergebyelva, 30 Ekkerøya
25.7 8 Hamningsberg, 20 elsewhere
27.7 4 ->Hamningsberg

Common Merganser/Goosander Mergus merganser
23.7 5 Utsjoki, 5 Nuvvus
24.7 20 Ekkerøya, 50 elsewhere
25.7 800 Hamningsberg, 300 elsewhere
26.7 250 Hamningsberg
27.7 2000 Hamningsberg (most in 4 flocks)

Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
24.7 20 Nesseby chapel

White-tailed Sea-eagle Haliaeetus albicilla
1 in Norway

Gyr/Peregrine Falcon Falco rusticolus/peregrinus
1 in Norway - looked more like a Peregrine.

Merlin Falco columbarius
23.7 1 Utsjoki-Nuvvus
28.7 1 juvenile Vastusjärvi

Parasitic Skua/Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus
24.7 1 Vestre Jakobselv, 11 Ekkerøya
25.7 20 Hamningsberg, 10 elsewhere
26.7 30 Hamningsberg
27.7 30 Hamningsberg -Vadsø, 6 Berlevåg Road

Pomarine Skua/Jaeger Stercorarius pomarinus
26.7 Hamningsberg 1

Long-tailed Skua/Jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus
27.7 6 Berlevåg Road (above 350m altitude)

Glaucous Gull Larus hyporboreus
24.7 1 ad, I didn't write it up, but I think it was at Berlebyelva

Herring Gull Larus argentatus
22.7 4 Teno
24.7 4 Nesseby chapel, 50 Bergebyelva, 20 Mortesnes, 40 Vestre Jakobselv, 250 Ekkerøya
25.7 300 Vardø, 300 elsewhere
26.7 25 Hornøya, 300 Vardø, 50 Hamningsberg

Greater Black-backed Gull Larus marinus
22.7 2 Teno, 1 Pulmanki
24.7 2 Nesseby chapel, 10 Bergebyelva, 5 Mortesnes, 20 Vestre Jakobselv, 100 Ekkerøya
25.7 150 Vardø, 150 elsewhere
26.7 8 Hornøya, 120 Vardø, 10 Hamningsberg
27.7 500

Common Gull Larus canus
22.7 5 Teno
23.7 2 Nuvvus-Karigasniemi
24.7 8 Nesseby chapel, 20 Vestre Jakobselv, 100 Vadsø-Ekkerøya
25.7 40 Vardø, 50 elsewhere
26.7 10 Hornøya, 30 Hamningsberg
27.7 100 (including at high altitude Berlevåg road)

Black-beaded Gull Larus ridibundus
24.7 10 Nesseby chapel, 1 Bergebyelva, 15 elsewhere
25.7 10

Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla
24.7 70 Bergebyelva, 50 Mortesnes, 20000 Ekkerøya +3000 at sea
26.7 50000 Hornøya, 3000 Hamningsberg
27.7 7000 (by the ocean)

Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea
23.7 4 Karigasniemi-Kaamanen
24.7 50 Mortesnes, 300 Ekkerøya (mostly at sea)
25.7 50 Hamningsberg, 10 elsewhere
26.7 50
27.7 30 ->Hamningsberg, 10 Tana river, 6 Berlevåg Road

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
24.7 30 Nesseby chapel, 6 Bergebyelva, 10 elsewhere
26.7 5 Hornøya
27.7 15 ->Hamningsberg

Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria
22.7 2 Skalluvaara, 7 Ailigas, 2 Pulmanki
25.7 6 -> Hamningsberg
26.7 3 -> Hamningsberg
27.7 4 -> Hamningsberg

Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
22.7 2 Pulmanki
23.7 1 Utsjoki,Nuvvus
25.7 2 -> Hamningsberg
26.7 2 -> Hamningsberg
27.7 8 -> Hamningsberg, 6 Berlevåg Road

Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
24.7 40 Nesseby chapel

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
22.7 1 Pulmanki 1
23.7 2 Karigasniemi-Kaamanen

Common Sandpiper Tringa hypoleuca
22.7 1 Teno
23.7 1 Utsjoki,Nuvvus

Redshank Tringa totanus
24.7 4 Nesseby
25.7 2 -> Hamningsberg
26.7 2 -> Hamningsberg
26.7 1 -> Hamningsberg

Greenshank Tringa nebularia
22.7 2 Teno

Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
26.7 2 Hornøya !

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
22.7 1 Pulmanki
23.7 2 Karigasniemi-Kaamanen

Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii
25.7 1 Berlevåg Road

Unidentif Stint Calidris sp
25.7 4 Hamningsberg

Northern Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus
24.7 2 Ekkeroya
27.7 3 ->Hamningsberg

Unidentified alcid Uria/Alca
25.7 50 Hamningsberg
26.7 15 Vardø, 30 Hamningsberg

Guillemot/Common Murree Uria aalge
26.7 4000 Hornøya, 30 Hamningsberg
27.7 2 -> Hamningsberg

Brünnichs Guillemot/B. Murree Uria lomvia
26.7 400 Hornøya, 1 Hamningsberg

Razorbill Alca torda
26.7 1000 Hornøya, 10 Vardø

Puffin Fratercula arctica
25.7 20 Hamningsberg, 15 Vardø
26.7 >15000 Hornøya, 30 Hamningsberg

Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle
25.7 50 Hamningsberg
26.7 10 Hornøya, 15 Hamningsberg

Domestic Pigeon Columba livia
Didn't write down these, but my recollection is that we had them in Krampenes and Vardø.

Shore Lark Eremophila alpestris
2 ad 2 juv Norway

Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
22.7 4 Skalluvaara, 6 Ailigas, 2 Pulmanki
24.7 5
27.7 15

Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus
22.7 1 Ailigas

White Wagtail Motacilla alba
22.7 2 Teno, 1 Pulmanki
23.7 2 Karigasniemi-Kaamanen
24.7 - 27.7 each day about 20

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
22.7 2 Skalluvaara, 4 Teno
28.7 1 Vastusjärvi

Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
28.8 2 ad 1 juv Kiilopää visitor's center

House Martin Delichon urbica
28.7 4 Vastusjärvi

Sand Martin/Bank Swallow Riparia riparia
28.7 2 Vastusjärvi

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
22.7 15 Skalluvaara, 1 Ailigas, 4 Teno, 5 Pulmanki
23.7 6 Utsjoki-Nuvvus, 6 Karigasniemi-Kaamanen

Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis
24.7 1 Utsjoki-Nuorgam

Bluethroat Luscinia svecica
22.7 15 Skalluvaara, 4 Ailigas, 2 Teno, 3 Pulmanki
27.7 1 -> Hamningsberg

Blackbird Turdus merula
22.7 2 Teno, 1 Pulmanki

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
23.7 2 Karigasniemi-Kaamanen

Red-wing Turdus iliacus
22.7 6 Skalluvaara, 1 Ailigas, 3 Teno, 5 Pulmanki
23.7 2 Karigasniemi-Kaamanen
25.7 1

Fieldfare Turdus pilaris
22.7 1 Teno
24.7 1 Nesseby chapel
25.7 1
27.7 1

Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
22.7 3 Skalluvaara, 4 Ailigas, 2 Pulmanki
25.7 30
26.7 4 -> Hamningsberg
27.7 15 -> Hamningsberg

Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
22.7 1 Skalluvaara

Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca
22.7 1 Utsjoki, 1 Pulmanki

Great Tit Parus major
22.7 2 Skalluvaara
24.7 1 Varangerbotn-Ekkeroya

Willow Tit Parus montanus
21.7 2 Kuttura Road
22.7 2 Utsjoki, Kevo

Siberian Tit Parus cinctus
21.7 1 Kuttura road
22.7 2 Skalluvaara

Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus
21.7 2 Kurttura road
28.7 2 Vastusjärvi

Hooded Crow Corvus cornix
22.7 6 Skalluvaara, 8 Teno, 4 Pulmanki
23.7 6 Utsjoki-Nuvvus, 8 Karigasniemi-Kaamanen
24.7 15 Varangerbotn-Ekkeroya
25.7 2
27.7 4 -> Hamningsberg, 6 Tana

Raven Corvus corax
22.7 4 Teno, 4 Karigasniemi-Kaamanen
24.7 10 Varangerbotn-Ekkeroya
25.7 3 -> Hamningsberg
27.7 8 -> Hamningsberg, 6 Berlevåg

Magpie Pica pica
22.7 2 Skalluvaara, 2 Utsjoki, 2 Teno
23.7 5 Nuvvus-Kaamanen
27.7 2 Tana

House Sparrow Passer domesticus
24.7 4 Nesseby chapel
27.7 4 Vadsø

Brambling Fringilla montifringilla
22.7 6 Skalluvaara, 2 Teno, 2 Pulmanki

Redpoll Carduelis flammea
22.7 15 Skalluvaara, 4 Ailigas, 6 Teno, 3 Pulmanki
23.7 6 Utsjoki-Nuvvus
26.7 2 -> Hamningsberg
27.7 2 -> Hamningsberg

Lapland Bunting Calcarius lapponicus
22.7 1 Skalluvaara

Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis
26.7 7 -> Hamningsberg
27.7 6 -> Hamningsberg

Other species seen during our trip (further South in Finland):

Black-throated Diver Gavia arctica -

Grey-lag Goose Anser anser - Liminka

Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula - Kemi

Greater Scaup Aythya marila -Sodankylä

Siberian Gull Larus heuglini-type - Sodankylä

Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus - Rovaniemi

Snowy Owl Nyctea scandiaca -Pattijoki

Cuckoo Cuculus canorus - Eurajoki

(Barn) Swallow Hirundo rustica

We did not see any of the following species:
King Eider (Somateria spectabilis) - should have found a few birds
Rough-legged Buzzard (Buteo lagopus) - they were just absent
Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus) - didn't really try
(Rock) Ptarmigam (Lagopus mutus) - didn't really try
Dotterel (Eudromias morinellus) - didn't really try
"Northern Owls" (Str neb, Str ura, Sur ulu) - didn't really try

Compiled by Harry Lehto
Elotie 1 A 8
FI-20780 Kaarina, FINLAND
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