vadsø, king eider

Birds in Vadsø

Vadsø is the largest town in Varanger and its central location on Varangerfjord makes it the perfect base to visit the area. In winter, the town’s harbour is a great place to see rare Steller’s Eider. From the hide on the pier you have a birds-eye view of the entire harbour basin, so you’re almost certain to see these magical ducks up close. The harbour also attracts Long-Tailed Ducks and Eiders too, such as King Eiders in winter.

Venture across the bridge and you’re on Vadsøya, which is another amazing birdwatching haven. In spring and summer, there are waders such as Dunlin, Redshank or Temminck’s Stint. You can also spot passerines on Vadsøya, including Red-Throated Pipit, Bluethroat and Lapland Bunting. The small pond to the east of the island is a magnet for wading birds and several rare species can be found here. The south of Vadsøya juts out into the fjord and is a great vantage point to see Minke Whales, rare Humpback Whales, Killer Whales, leaping porpoises and occasional Common and Grey Seals. In fact, any place in Varanger with a good view of the fjord is great for whale-watching. Vadsøya is also home to Arctic Hares which can be seen all-year-round. Vadsø, itself, has a wide range of accommodation options while great nature experiences abound just outside town.

Of course, summer is the time when you’ll find the most species of birds and animals but Vadsø has plenty to offer throughout the year. Spring migrating waders reach their peak in the week following 17th May and you’ve still got a chance to see the sought-after Steller’s Eider before it leaves for its wintering grounds and in North-East Russia.