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Birding in Bremanger

Situated at the central parts of Western Norway, Bremanger is one of the largest communes in the region, covering more than 800 square kilometers. Ranging from the outer coastline in the west where the waves of the ocean are pounding against ragged cliffs and sandy beaches, to high mountains with glaciers in the east, Bremanger offers a wide selection of habitat types and a typical selection of Scandinavian bird species to go with it.

The climate is oceanic, therefore the winter temperatures average above zero on the coast. This means that birding in Bremanger will give you plenty to look at no matter when you pay a visit. Days are short in mid-winter, but even in early January there are about five hours of daylight available for those who want to explore the wide range of wintering divers, ducks and other seabirds on offer in the many shallow bays and sounds.

Seabirds are numerous both in winter and during the breeding season, but the selection of species present in summer is very different from those present in winter. Breeding birds include Greylag Geese, Common Eiders, Red-breasted Mergansers and several species of gulls and terns. If the weather is in your favour and the wind not too strong, renting a boat will enable you to visit the southernmost of the major Puffin colonies in Norway. Veststeinen is a true "Fuglefjell", a Norwegian term for seabird colony that translates into "bird mountain". At Veststeinen, more than 16.000 Atlantic Puffins breed alongside Shags, Black-legged Kittiwakes, Black Guillemots, Razorbill and Common Guillemot. A trip out to Veststeinen could also produce species such as Northern Gannet, Great Skua, Arctic Skua and Arctic Tern. If a boat trip is not an option, you could still observe some of these species from the westside of the small settlement of Nesje, provided that you bring a telescope.

In the winter season, between late October-November and March-April, a wide range of divers, grebes, ducks and other seabirds find food and shelter in the many bays and sounds. Shags and Cormorants share the skerries with Grey Herons, Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls, while wintering ducks include Velvet Scoter, Common Scoter, Long-tailed Duck and Common Goldeneyes. A Birding Norway visit in March 2003 revealed no less than 11 Great Northern Divers, a very impressive number in Western Norway. We have also found species such as Red-throated Diver, Slavonian-, Red-necked,- and Little Grebe, and four species of auks also in winter - not to mention quite a few sightings of the very charming Otters! Look out for rare gulls in winter, especially around fish factories such as in the charming village Kalvaag. Glaucous Gulls and Iceland Gulls sometimes pay a visit! And last but not least - the majestic White-tailed Eagle is always present, especially in the southwest around Kalvaag.

The coast of Western Norway is famous for its potential for migrants and vagrants, especially when the wind is in the eastern sector. The many small farms and settlements at Fröya and along Bremangerpollen creates a mixture of habitat-types that attract a good selection of migrants. A morning walk checking the fields and gardens can be very rewarding, especially in September and October. In 2003 we came across species such as Jack Snipe, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, Bohemian Waxwing, Barred Warbler and "Eastern" Chiffchaff, while thousands of Fieldfares flew south together with smaller numbers of Sparrowhawks, Starlings and finches. In the Calluna-covered heathlands above the fields there were good numbers of Black Grouse - quality birding it was, for sure!

Bremanger has a wide variety of woodland, depending on altitude and exposure. Woodland birding is all about finding the right spots. While low-lying deciduous forest often have a good selection of common species, the rare and more sought-after species are often found in mature natural forest, often pine-dominated with mature birch and Populus stands mixed in. In Western Norway these types of woodland can produce species such as Capercaillie, Black Grouse, Goshawk, Grey-Headed-, White-backed,- Green,- Great Spotted- and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Wryneck, Crested Tit and Parrot Crossbill, in addition to a range of other species. The full potential of woodland birding in Bremanger has yet to be explored, but Myklebustdalen in the eastern part of the commune seems to have a good potential, especially the woodlands around Myklebustsaetra.

The landscape of Bremanger is spectacular, one of the most prominent features is the mountain plateau of Bremangerlandet protruding into the ocean north of Bremangerpollen. If you feel like putting your hiking boots on and do some mountain birding, a track leads up from Ytre Grotle to the mountain plateau. A 500-meter rise, but take it easy and enjoy the plantlife and birdlife along the track. Ring Ouzel and Twite inhabit the hillsides, and once you reach the mountain plateau look for Rock Ptarmigan, Dotterel, Golden Plover and possibly Lapland Bunting. Looking at these mountain birds and at the same time enjoying a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean is both an odd and breathtaking experience! The mountains and hillsides of Bremanger also hold species such as Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon and Eagle Owl. You need a bit of luck to stumble upon them, but isn't that what birding is all about? Have a nice trip to Bremanger and try our recommanded accomodations at Kalvaag and Knutholmen. If you have outdoor interests beyond birding Bremanger offers a range of activities - check out www.visitbremanger.no!

Travel to Bremanger: by car through different routes or by boat, e.g from the city of Bergen, the capital for the Fjordlands or from the closer situated, smaller towns of Florö and Maalöy.

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