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Birding Norway trips:

Birding at Hardangervidda

Hardangervidda Mountain Plateau holds the most southerly breeding population of many arctic and sub-arctic bird species in Scandinavia. Here, at altitudes ranging from 900-1200 m.a.s.l., it is quite easy to find such species as Black-throated Diver, Long-tailed Duck, Greater Scaup, Velvet Scoter, Common Scoter, Temminck's Stint, Eurasian Dotterel, Red-necked Phalarope, Shore Lark and Lapland Bunting. With a little luck a Gyrfalcon comes by - a number of pairs breed in and around the national park. These species never or only rarely breed further south than here.

From the end of May, most breeding birds have arrived at their breeding sites, or can be found consentrated on snow-free spots awaiting further thawing. This is the best time to find Eurasian Dotterel, Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin and Shore Lark. Later in the summer, access to the central parts of the National Park is easier as the snow disappears. To see as many of the breeding birds as possible, the best period is the first half of July.

Day one will be spent travelling and birding between Bergen and Eidfjord, at the foothills of Hardangervidda. The drive normally takes around 4 hours, and depending on when we leave Bergen should give plenty of time to find a good selection of the breeding birds of Western Norway. The route takes us past Voss with several easily accessible small wetlands, and also a chance to visit places with several breeding woodpeckers or even Nutcrackers. We are passing some of the best fjord-scenery in Norway, and after two-three additional stops we arrive in Eidfjord in the afternoon. Some forest-birding here should produce 5-6 warbler species including Icterine Warbler, flycatchers, a good chance for woodpeckers (most likely Green Woodpecker) and a good number of more common passerines.

Day two we start early, and in less than an hours drive we will experience the best mountain birding in southern Scandinavia. Depending on when we are satisfied, we return to Bergen in the afternoon/early evening.

This trip can also be made into a three-day trip, with two days available at Hardangervidda. This enables us to visit a few more sites and also explore an area at slightly lower altitude that holds a few species rarely seen in the high alpine region. A second day at Hardangervidda will greatly increase the chance of seeing the more difficult species such as Hen Harrier, Gyrfalcon, Common Crane, Short-eared Owl, Great Snipe, White-throated Dipper and Ring Ouzel.

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