Trip Report – June 2018
Comments: We spent a couple of days playing tourist in Oslo and did a day’s birding with a guide just outside the city. Then spent a few days birding in Svalbard and took a 4 day Arctic cruise.
Norway: For our day birding outside Oslo we had a very small but specific target list as we have birded in other part of Europe. Our guide picked us up at 6.30 am and we drove north for about an hour to Maridalsvannet where we quickly located our first 2 life birds – Marsh Warbler and Arctic Diver.
Then a drive to just east of Elverum for wonderful views of another lifer – Ortolan Bunting. Our guide knew an area near by where we had some fantastic birds – 2 lifers – Black Woodpecker and Great Grey Owl along with Chaffinch, Redstart, Crested Tit, Northern Hawk-Owl, Great Spotted Woodpecker and all the local common birds – Blackbird, Siskin, Goldfinch, Robin, Northern Wren, Redwing and more.
That was all the time we had for birding on the mainland – but it was pretty great!
Svalbard: Birding in Svalbard all takes place in a strip of land along the coast from 10 kms west of the airport on one end, through the town of Longyearben and about 10 kms further east. We spent the next day and a half driving this stretch of land checking all the spots along the way to get our lifebirds. The list of possibilities for us wasn’t long but we were excited to get as many as possible. The first day gave us King
Eider (amongst the hundreds of Common Eiders) and Dovekie by the thousands. There were also hundreds of Black-legged Kittiwake, Purple Sandpipers, Arctic Skua and Common Murre.
Day 2: provided Brunnich’s Guillemot, Red Phalarope and Tundra Bean Goose. Unfortunately the Ivory Gull that was on the list for us didn’t show up despite many hours of staking out the
dog pens where they often hang out.
Arctic Cruise: We spent 4 days cruising the fjords north of Longyearben. The scenery was stunning but the wildlife was few and far between. Over the 4 days we had one blue whale, one minke whale, a few walrus’ and a polar bear with cubs. It was all spectacular but very little considering the time we spent.
On the birding front it was more of what we had seen in Longyearben with the addition of Svalbard Ptarmigan and Great Skua – both of which were lifers for us.
Guides & Resources
Guides: Oslo Birder, Simon Rix.
Field Guide: Birds of Europe, Lars Svensson
Lonely Planet guide for points of interest.