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lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

lyskonoh úzkozobý, samice / Red-necked Phalarope, female (Phalaropus lobatus)

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Sunday, 11 March 2012 23:54

Few tips on bird photography in Norway

The new season is slowly starting and it is time to plan on some interesting birding trip. With the increasing number of e-mails asking me about bird photography in Norway I decided to provide a few tips on where to get good information about birding spots. I will stick to a general rule and will not reveal exact locations or GPS coordinates of some sites – in order to keep them quiet and as human-free as possible. The true wildlife enthusiasts will be able to discover these sites anyway. Internet is full of information nowadays…

This article does not contain much information on specific sites, neither is it an ultimate guide to bird localities of Norway – take it more as a starting point on where to find the proper information if you want to go birding.


Lapland longspur (Calcarius lapponicus), male; Dovrefjell



Many people ask me a question like ”In July Im going to Norway for 2 weeks – give me some info on good birding localities with Eagles, Plovers and Puffins”. There is a great amount of good birding literature today and so it is not a big deal to do a little search to find out what is the best time for certain bird species in the target area. July is for example good time for general birding in Varanger but the lek of Black Grouse have already finished two months earlier. Without a good timing birding can become hit-or-miss experience. While the real birder enjoys every season, we photographer must pay attention to pick a time when birds are rather tame and well visible. E.g. the lek of Black Grouse and Capercaillie takes place in late April/early May while Great Snipe in Mid Norway or Ruff in varanger has the high season in late May/early June. That is a good birding time in general – the birds are returning from the wintering grounds and get ready for a new hatch. That is especially true for mountain terrains as are the popular Dovrefjell or Hardangervidda. At these places the timing is crucial – it must be at the time when snow starts to melt down but still covers large extents of the landscape. This helps to concentrate the birds into snow-free patches. When the snow disappears, the birds spread all over the mountains and are difficult to spot and even more difficult to photograph. The available public on-line webcams can then be priceless in helping to schedule your trip to mountain terrains.

Of course, every site is specific and unique – For example the popular Runde island is best to visit in early July for watching Puffins bringing sandeels for the newly-hatched birds. At the same time other youngsters are present – as those of Great Skua or Oystercatchers and Gulls at the coast. During the rest of the year you can still watch birds like Shag or Gannets that returns to the cliffs shortly after New Year. Spring is again the best time for general birding with most of migratory birds and early summer is also best for Kittiwakes nesting on rock ledges. White-tailed Eagle is also a year-round resident around Runde

While Runde must be one of the most popular birding site for amateurs and tourists, Varanger must be one of the best places in Scandinavia for real birders and wildlife photographers. It has spectacular bird fauna with arctic species. While birders appreciate winter and early spring months with arctic species of Gulls and Steller`s and Spectacled Eiders, migration of waders and other birds starts in May and peaks in June to July. it is not rare to see flocks of Knots with several thousand birds. Among photographers Varanger is well-known for its lek-sites of Ruff and localities with Phalaropes, Skuas, raptors, Owls and rare passerines.


Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria), male; Dovrefjell


The complete list of interesting sites would be very longand you better choose your own preference, here are a few good sources:

The best so far must be the guidebook that has been issued in Norwegian in 2010 and in English in 2011. The English version is just slightly shorter than the Norwegian one but all the relevant information is kept. The English version (the Norwegian one is not available at the moment) of the guidebook "A birdwatcher´s guide to Norway" canbe offered here: http://ornforlag.no/BirdwatchersGuideNorway

If you do not mind photographing birds from commercial photo-hides (I am personally not a fan of that), you can use paid service of some of the companies operating in Norway – the most famous is probably DINTUR (raptors, owls, lekking species…):


There is high number of personal birding blogs on the internet hat you can use for finding information about some sites – I’m watching this site e.g. for the local birding news around Bergen:


Many good information and great pictures from Varanger are found here: http://knutsverrehorn.blogspot.com

Links on these blogs will lead you to a immense number of other related websites. Internet is powerful tool and great source of information of today. It contains more information that we actually think. You will find information about almost every interesting locality – it just needs less or more time spent looking for the right keyword ;-)

Last note: My favourite sites in Norway must be Dovrefjell, Hardangervidda and Varanger


Last Updated on Monday, 12 March 2012 10:43
Comments (32)
  • Jiří Ševčík

    Zdravím, i v případě nejsevernějších oblastí Norska bych doporučoval spíš ten červen. V červenci mají pěvci a většinou i bahňáci vyvedeno a je těžké je zastihnout.

  • Jirka

    Dobry den, a diky za Vas postreh, samozrejme cerven je nejlepsi, ja sam letos stravim na Varangeru dva tydny na prelomu kvetna a cervna - kazde obdobi ma neco do sebe. Pro Varanger se pak udava jako nejlepsi obdobi (pro urcite druhy!) posledni tyden v cervnu a prvni polovina cervence.

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    S pozdravem

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