Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Autumn Birding in Tromso by Wim Vader.

And here's another note written by Wim Vader from 2005 about birdwatching in Autumn in Tromso. This is more a reminder to myself about the possibilities of birding in Tromso and to others with a similar fascination with birds in the north.


Today, late october, we have a brisk southwesterly wind here in Tromsø, N.Norway, severe rain showers and a temperature of 12*C, in short typical autumn weather. But only two days ago everything looked completely dofferent, for a week we had beautifil winter weather, a few degrees frost, 5-6 inches of snow, all postcard pretty. In the course of the last two days the temperature has risen 20*C, and all the fresh snow has disappeared even from the surrounding hillsides. So we are back to where we started from; this entire autumn has basically been wet, wild and mild here, with more than double the average precipitation in September, and 55 days of consecutive rain (Not all the time of course, but such that there was some rain on every day. meanwhile each day has inexorably ten minutes less daylight than the day before; just now the sun is already pretty low in the southern skies at noon, and disappears below the horizon at c 3 30 pm.

There are not all that many landbirds to report on in late autumn in Tromsø; in my garden Hooded Crows and Black-billed Magpies absolutely dominate, together with gangs of largely greyish young Greenfinches, that are attracted to my hanging feeder with mainly sunflower seeds. One of the family of magpies that nested in a garden across the street last summer, and that still seems to keep together, has amazingly learned to feed from the hanging tube-feeder, although not for long leriods at a time. It clings acrobatically to the tube, and extracts the seeds one by one, like a grossly overgrown chickadee. There are real chickadees also in the garden, the large and showy yellowish Parus major (the Kjøttmeis)and the neat black-and-white P. montanus(the Granmeis). You will all need to learn the Norwegian names of these nice tame feisty birds, because if I use the english names, my mails get refused 'because it contains obscenity' or even 'blasphemy', or when I am very lucky, they get sent out with two or three red peppers. I have been severely bowled out by somebody at a Welsh boys school for 'corrupting the minds of innocent young boys', and that all because the members of the Paridae in Europe have the English name t*i*t, and many filters clearly automatically and unintelligently react to this word in whatever meaning it may appear.

OK, Kjøttmeis and Granmeis are also common in my garden and feed from my feeder, and now and then I have one or two House Sparrows as well, also a new development. Earlier this autumn, as every year, large flocks of thrushes, Fieldfares and Redwings came to raid the Sorbus (Mountain Ash or Rowan) berries; this year there were also quite a number of Starlings among them---maybe our campaign (I know, hard to understand to overseas people) to 
put out nestboxes for starlings, in order to try to stem their serious decrease in our region, has born some fruit. Day before yesterday I walked to the shop, down the hill from our house (which lies at c 45m a.s.l.), and was very much surprised to find a few trees chockfull of Bohemian Waxwings, there must have been at least 200. We have these tame, beautiful fruiteaters almost every autumn here in Tromsø, but this time there must have been a very large influx, as I have seen several large flocks fly over my house the last few days. Usually one finds these birds by their cheery trilling calls, but this flock 
was absolutely silent; I watched them quite some time, from very close, as they were as tame as they always are, but I didn't hear any sound at all!

My walk through the Folkeparken, a very muddy affair these days, goes now through a  silent and bare forest. I haven't even heard any Bullfinches for weeks. The only sounds one hears are the chattering of the  magpies, and the calls of some Great Black-backed Gull flying over. Oddly enough I have not yet heard any Ravens here either. So this time a year is a good time to bring ones record up to date, and to follow the birding exploits of others. Most years my year list comes to a full stop somewhere in October, unless we'll have a late influx of Pine Grosbeaks, as happens some years.

Wim Vader, Tromsø Museum                                                                 9037 Tromsø, Norway"

This is an image of the Rakmyra marshes mentioned by Wim in the previous post taken from the air enroute to Oslo from Tromso. We made a week's trip to Tromso 11-18th May 2013 and completely missed this site, we were too early anyways in our estimation of the arrival of the migrants.

Spring birding in Tromso by Wim Vader

Yet another note by  by Wim Vader ( of Tromso Museum, this time about Spring birds in Tromso, a note he wrote for one of the birding chatrooms back in 2005. I felt obliged to repost it here as a reminder to self about birding possibilities up north ... Spring is =4 deg C up north, I hope there is much more light then to see the birds.


These last winters have been 'easy' here at 70*N, with never much more than 1 m  
of snow on the ground, no periods of extreme cold (which here , on an island near the open sea, anyway only is something like -15 to -18*C), and a  reasonably early snow melt. Now, 21 April, there are large bare patches near  the sea and on sunny open places, and the official snow-depth can't be much more than 1-2 feet. The optimists are already changing from the studded winter  wheels on their cars to summer wheels , but the 'snow-sticks along the roads, guiding the snowploughs, are still there, and now and then fresh snow showers  bring a temporary return of wintery feelings. But in general the weather is somewhat mild, with temperatures above freezing during the day.

That is not to say that we have glorious weather: these last days have been  mostly grey and dreary, with low clouds lying like wet rags halfway up the hills, and constant drizzle varying between rain and sleet. But last weekend was not so bad, and on Sunday it was calm and intermittently sunny, so we grabbed the chance to go out---we being both my daughters and grandchild Marte  of 1 1/2 years. For her---or maybe rather for grandfather-- it was a red-letter  day, as her mother showed her her very first amphipods in the intertidal at 
Tisnes! (Pappadyr=daddy-animals these were known as when my kids were small).

At Tisnes where we had a picnic, there were hundreds of Eiders in the sound  just offshore and their cooing was a constant backdrop. Also the gulls were back; pairs of Common Gulls just start occupying their territories again, and the larger gulls have come further and will soon have their first eggs. Lapwings demonstrate their flying abilities during acrobatic displays, and now and then one hears the bronze flute of the Curlew. Tisnes is also a favourite place for Shelducks, and their crisp colours and proud stance were much admired. Otherwise the Redshanks are back, but the Golden Plovers and Ruffs not  yet, and of dabbling dicks I have hitherto only seen Mallards (galore!), a few Wigeons, and a lone male Pintail. The first Greylag Geese were also back and I 
also saw 5 Pinkfoot Geese, on their way to Svalbard. Dominating this day, here  as well as elsewhere on Kvaløya, are the large flocks of Snow Buntings,  fattening up here for a few weeks before their arduous crossing to Greenland;  they are a joy to behold, as flocks of often as many as a few hundreds wheel and turn, white in the sun.

The weather was in fact so pleasant this day (although the temp hardly crept  past +4*C) that we decided to drive out to the coast, to our favourite walking island of Hillesøy, where the snow was practically completely gone except in very shady places, and where the peat underground gives always an extra spring to our steps, so even little Marte walked by herself for long stretches. While we were celebrating the coming spring with an ice outside the café on Sommarøy (Norwegians eat ice all year round, in fact), no less than 4 adult White-Tailed Sea Eagles circled overhead, and the first Ringed Plovers of the year tripped on the sandy beaches. Also here there are small flocks of Snow Buntings,  and a raven carried out acrobatic display flights overhead.

On the shore we had a view of large lines of hundreds of Common Eiders, while the skerries were festooned with Cormorants, and here and there a stark black and white Black Guillemot gleamed in the beautiful backlit conditions. On the shore the thin reels of the Rock Pipits also talked of spring, and on the walk back we stumbled across a pair of Willow Grouse, the very cocky cock strutting around all white still, but with a brown neck and very conspicuous red 'eye-brows', while the hen ducked down and played invisible, not so easy when you are still white and most of the snow is gone.

The landscape itself is still brown and uninviting looking, and the only flowers are the yellow stars of the Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara, locally extremely common on road verges and other disturbed places, as the pioneers 
they are. At Tisnes old Puffballs still 'smoke' and this time there was also much evidence that Moose had been here recently, in addition to the more common. Reindeer. And at Hillesøy we glimpsed a few ¨springere' (jumpers), the White-nosed Dolphin Lagenorhynchus, so-called because its proclivity to jump right out of the water.

Not many songbirds as yet, but others have already noted the first Fieldfares and Chaffinches, and when I return to Tromsø after two weeks abroad, around 10 may, there will be much more to listen to and write about.

Wim Vader, Tromsø Museum
9037 Tromsø, Norway"

The view that greeted us as we were driving towards our cabin in Oldervik, 11th May 2013. It was +10deg C ... everyone was sunbathing ...

Are these late arrivals or early migrants on route to Greenland. After almost a week of driving around Tromso, these fellas arrived just a day before we flew home! Resplendant colors!

Wintering Birds in Tromso by Wim Vader

I found this post by Wim Vader ( of Tromso Museum about on Wintering birds in Tromso, a note he wrote for one of the birding chatrooms back in 2007. I felt obliged to repost it here as a reminder to self about birding possibilities up north ... wonder how much light there is for birding in Tromso winter.


I originally wrote this piecefive years ago at 65*S, as far away from Tromsø as I have ever been probably, on a ship in the open Weddell Sea in the Antarctic. Our ship, the Polarstern, lies on station near a large table iceberg, floating over a sea just here 4780m deep (I know, as we are sampling the bottom fauna here), and around the iceberg fly a couple of terns, Arctic Terns, possibly on their way to Tromsø to nest there. This is about the longest migration route of any bird known (although some southern shearwaters fly comparable distances from their southern nesting areas to winter in the northern Pacific, and South Polar Skuas have also been observed quite regularly in both the northern Atlantic and Pacific). Still, all the other birds seen here never make it even as far north as the equator, so the Arctic tern is definitely a special case.

It made me think, though, about the great variation in migration patterns among the birds that are common in Tromsø, and as I have time on my hands here---deep-sea collecting is often a slow business--- I thought it might be of some interest to give an impression of this variation, even though I can not check up all the details down here.

Not all birds in Tromsø migrate, in fact, in spite of our far northern locality and the very prolonged, although not overly severe, winter. Our crows, ravens and magpies are sedentary, and so are the various grouse: Willow Grouse, Ptarmigan, Black Grouse and Capercaillie. Among the small birds, the House Sparrows stay put, and so do most of the tits, the Creeper, and the Goldcrest, as well as the Bullfinch and latterly also the Greenfinches of our feeders.

Also a few raptors spend the winter in the far north, local examples are the White-tailed Sea Eagle, the Sparrow hawk and the Gyrfalcon, as well as some forest owls. On the coast the local Common Eiders stay year round, and so do the newcomers Grey Heron, while the Mallards of the island content themselves with moving from their nesting lake on top of the island of Tromsøya to the
coasts of the sounds around the island, where the water never freezes over. Also our Red-breasted Mergansers are with us summer and winter.

For some other species the situation is more complicated than it seems at first sight; we do have them on our island both summer and winter, but they may well not be the same individuals. Good examples of this are the Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls; they are common year round in Tromsø, but  ringing results seem to indicate that the majority of our nesting birds migrate to the
countries around the North Sea, while they are replaced in Tromsø in winter by birds that nest further north and east, e.g. in North Russia. Also our eider flocks are augmented in winter by northern birds, i. a. those that nest on Spitsbergen, easily recognized by a somewhat different bill colour.

Similarly, the Kittiwakes on the coast in winter, and the Guillemots (Murres) in the outer fjords may well be primarily far northern birds, and not our own nesters, in fact we have had returns also from immature British guillemots from winter Tromsø.

We know that for sure for a few other species that have been better studied:
Purple Sandpipers nest in the hills around Tromsø, although sparingly, and they are, as the only shorebirds left in that season, also common in winter on our stony coasts. But these are exclusively birds from northern Russia and the Arctic areas, and our Purple Sandpipers spend the winter further south in Europe.

(Similarly, Snow Buntings are common nesting birds of stony slopes in the surrounding hills, where their cheerful presence and song greatly enliven that often a bit depressing landscape. They are also well-loved in town as harbingers of spring, and in late April-early May may occur in large numbers in town and on partly snow free areas along the coast; they also come to feeders in the gardens at that time. But these are not at all our nesters; these hordes all belong to the E. Greenland population of Snow Buntings! These have a complicated migration pattern, and apparently winter somewhere in Russia --- they then move to the coasts of N. Norway where they stay for a while and fatten up before the long and arduous oceanic crossing to Greenland. Meanwhile our local Snow Buntings sneak in more or less unnoticed on their nesting territories, and we see them rarely in town.

As far north as Tromsø may seem to be for most of you, we still have a number of wintering birds that consider our winter climate an improvement to that of their nesting areas, and who winter regularly in the Tromsø area. These are almost exclusively coastal or sea birds, at least in winter.  These hail mostly either from the Arctic islands: the Svalbard archipelago, Frans Josef Land and
Novaya Zemlya, or from the bleak northern coastal areas of Russia. A few, like the two scoters and the Long-tailed Ducks, all common winter birds on the fjords, come partly from closer by, the now frozen freshwater lakes of N. Scandinavia. But the King Eiders from Svalbard and the White-billed Divers from N. Russia (Yellow-billed Loons, if you prefer; it is still the same bird, with a bill neither truly yellow or white), the most famous of our wintering birds, do not nest in Norway at all, and the same goes for the Glaucous and Iceland Gulls that also are regular, though never very common winter visitors here---they are much more common on the Finnmark coasts, where also Steller's
Eiders winter in large numbers.

There are also more local movements which result in wintering birds in Tromsø. For some reason Cormorants Phalacrocorax c. carbo do not nest in the immediate area around Tromsø, although they have colonies both north and south of us. But in winter they migrate to Tromsø harbour in considerable numbers, and some old wrecks and derelict piers are literally festooned with them in the winter half year. Auks of several sorts, mainly Razorbills and Little Auks (Dovekies, who
nest on Svalbard) stay in winter normally mostly on the open coast, but come near town under certain circumstances (large shoals of pelagic fish for the Razorbills and occasionally Puffins, mostly adverse weather for the Little Auks). As reported before, we can get wracks of Little Auks when strong winds blow the birds ashore and often far inland.

As inland Troms is so much colder than the coastal areas where we live, there may be also be movements coastwards in winter. These are not regular, however, but have more the character of infrequent influxes. Underlying causes are often as much scarcity of the right food as directly the cold itself. In years of very rich crops of Rowanberry (Mountain Ash, Sorbus aucuparia) not only our nesting thrushes (Fieldfares and Redwings) stay much longer in autumn, but we may also have invasions of Bohemian Waxwings and, less often, Pine Grosbeaks from the taiga forest of inland northeastern Scandinavia, Finland and N. Russia. From the same regions in many winters come influxes of great Spotted Woodpeckers, Crossbills  and forest owls, chiefly Hawk Owls; more rarely we have had Siberian Goshawks and ditto Nuthatches, while the invasions of Siberian Nutcrackers usually go further south into S. Scandinavia and W. Europe. Some winters we also have large numbers of birds that are normally uncommon in the area, such as Long-tailed Tits, Coal Tits, Goldcrests, and Redpolls, but such top years concern the entire area, and seem more to be a strong increase in numbers than a migration. The normal resident birds of the inland usually stay put, although a few Tree Creepers may turn up on the island in winter; Siberian Tits, for example, I see not more often on Tromsøya than maybe once every five years, and Siberian Jays and Three-toed Woodpeckers I have as yet never met here at all.

These are the birds that make up the wintering population at 69*50*N.

Wim Vader, Tromsø Museum
9037 Tromsø, Norway"

11-18th May 2013 in Tromso, can't what it's like Dec-Feb!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Who is Wim Vader?

This is a short biodata of Professor Wim Vader of Tromso University describing himself to Professor Richard Nowotny of Melbourne, Australia in a short email posted in Birding Australia forum. I've reproduced it here in case anyone's wondering who he is after reading his notes which I have reproduced here.

"In a nutshell, I was born (1937) and bred in the Netherlands (Zeeland) and am still a Dutch citizen. I studied in Leiden (biology) and was active in the NJN, the Dutch youth nature club, as are most Dutch field biologists. After my studies I worked as a benthos marine biologist at the Delta Institute in Yerseke, close to my birth place for two years, but meanwhile I had met my future (Norwegian) wife on a biological excursion of the Leiden students, so in 1965 I emigrated to Norway and got married. I lived on grants for 8 years in Bergen and our 3 children were born there.

In 1973, I got the position of curator at Tromsø Museum, that I still occupy; my responsibility is "everything but the insects", from sponges to whales. In 90 I was elected as a full professor. In 1985 my wife, then the professor of aquatic biology, died of leukaemia.  I now live in a LAT relationship with an old school friend from my village, but she still lives in Holland, and it was her garden I have described a few times. So here in Tromsø I live alone.

My professional base is wider than deep; I use as a motto something I heard somebody say disparagingly about a colleague: "My science is like the Mississippi river, 3 miles broad and 5 inches deep". But I am a well-known specialist in the taxonomy and biology of the Amphipoda, and I have also for a period of some 10 years done seabird research. I lived twice in California (Bodega Bay, and La Jolla) and once in Sydney (1993) during sabbaticals, and hope to go to Cape Town for 3 months this autumn, for what may well be my last sabbatical.

I have started a website at (now defunct):

, and that will show you where Tromsø is, tell a bit about my scientific work, and give a list of publications.

I should think this would be more than you ever wished to know.

In addition I can tell you that we have had wonderful weather the last weeks (while Oslo "snows down", something we register with great malice): calm, sunny, cold.  One of these days the first Oystercatcher will be back, something that even the newspapers register. Next to come are Common Gull and Common Starling, but spring itself is not before May.

Best greetings,
Wim Vader, Tromsø Museum
9037 Tromsø, Norway"

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Naerland Nord

Having seen the big numbers when the day was wet, cold and windy the week before: I couldn't wait to see what it's like on  a relatively good weather day. I rushed back to Naerland very early Saturday morning to check out my favorite birds.

Originally I thought of doing a timelapse of waders feeding and flying off, as it turned out the wader numbers weren't too significant and they were spread out, not to mention that the remote unit didn't reach as far as I thought. That idea was quickly abandoned.

I left most of the gear in the car and decided to explore Naerland Nord, a short northerly walk away. This was the upper section of the beach ... rocky and full of rotting kelp. And full of birds  ... ducks, seagulls, waders, all of them are there! Armed now with only the 400/5.6 and half of a battery life, I decided to stay. I edged closer and closer towards the shore and towards the birds.

It was exhilarating (in addition to the sweet acrid smell of decomposing kelp) to be amidst this order within chaos. Waders all over the place : Bar-tailed Godwit, Sanderling, Little Stint, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, Redshank, Dunlin, Eurasian Curlew, Oystercatcher, Common Ringed Plover, as well as Grey Plover. There are ducks Common Eider and Mallards; seagulls, cormorants and starling. Every half and hour a Peregrine Falcon swooped by onto the buffet  ... and thousands of winged wonders took up to the skies, swirling and circling towards the sea and landed back onto the kelp buffet table in a few minutes.

Last year I spent many and outing searching for THE wader spots in Jaeren, looks like this year I can vouch for two ... Naerland and Reve. Wondering now how the numbers are at Madland, Obrestad, and Kvassheim these last few days! 

Finally it's a case of too little time, too many waders!

PS: Reminder to self - lug all gear all over the place!

Words and images by Nazeri Abghani/07Sep2013

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Naerlande Sor

Last week was my last visit to Naerlande. It was wet, cold and raining ... and I was there with my son, Ali for our short Sunday drive before dinner. Since it was raining, I decided that there was no real need to pack up the usual gear but in the end decided to lug the 40D coupled with a 150mm in any case.

We drove for almost 40 minutes before reaching the beach, the rain did not let up. We decided to peek out on the beach. There was a mass of waders flitting about eagerly feeding amongst the kelp washed ashore. They flew up and around at every perceived danger, made a circle and came back to the very same spot. There was no once else on the beach except us. Autumn beach walking is very popular here, I guess not so when it's pouring.

Equipped with only the 150mm, options for wader photography was rather limited. And it was raining. Ali quickly ran back to the car when he decided it was enough waders for the day, while I decided to hang about and watch.

At one point I was 5-6 feet away from the birds, with the rain and abundance of food, they did not seem to bother too much and just continued feeding. I stayed low on the ground and made a few shots and only left when the wind started to pick up and rain started to get heavier.

Most of the waders were Dunlin, Sanderling, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Common Ringed Plover and Bar-tailed Godwit. The interesting thing about wader watching is that you sometimes don't know what's in the flock. Being so close to them pose great possibilities but then it was raining heavily and the wind chilling ...

Text and images by Nazeri Abghani/01Sep2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Some recent pictures at Reve

Spent half a morning at Reve with Neil Friestad amidst waders a week earlier at Reve. It was fabulous ... there were first and foremost the thousands of waders feeding amongst the washed up kelp; and then of course there were other birders too. I took a day off work and returned to the same spot mid-week to make a few more intimate pictures with the 600mm this time thinking that no one else would be sitting on a beach watching birds midweek. Wrong!

Along the way to the beach, I bumped into a birder who's been there since 5am and had counted 800+ Ruff roosting in the fields; he was already on his way out by the time our path crossed at about 9am. On the beach there were two other birders stalking raptors in complete camo gear, ghilly suit and all. I went ahead and sat across from where they were.

How was I supposed to know that there were stalking raptors?

I've always complained about other people stumbling into my viewfinder when I'm on a shoot; and here I was making the same dumb mistake. Perhaps we all should carry placards or something stating our intention. "Stalking Raptors!" or maybe some sort of color flag. Red-Do not approach, important stalking in progress. Orange-Approach with caution. Green-Safe zone. These flags should be stuck in the ground with metal stakes with an arrow pointing to where the photographers were.

After a long futile wait, one of photographers decided to abandon raptors completely and focus on Ruddy Turnstone up close and slowly crawled his way towards me. By noontime he had reached where I was. We broke into a friendly conversation, I felt sorry for both of them. One left for lunch and I decided to not completely wreck the other guy's chance of an uber raptor shot so I moved around and shot from his flank instead. We continued like this for another hour or so ... no raptors but I took plenty of close-up shots of Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit, Ruff, Red Knot, and Common Redshank, Sanderling, and Ruddy Turnstone.

Waders don't really give a toss of their main agenda to simply feed. Raptors however are a bit more cautious; they are stalking the waders. Waders would flit in and out to the same spot upon identification of threat. Raptors won't even bother making a swoop.

I consoled myself that I did not completely ruined the other guy's day. When I left he was still at it ... hopefully he got his killer shot.

Upon leaving the spot, I bumped into another birder on his way in with a big lens, looking for his killer shot no doubt. And this was Wednesday mind you ...

Dunlin / Myrsnipe / Calidris alpina

Red Knot / Polarsnipe / Calidris canutus

Little Stint / Dvergsnipe / Calidris minuta

Ruff / Brushane / Philomachus pugnax

Bar-tailed Godwit / Lappspove / Limosa lapponica

It's great to be in the field and commune with nature, mano-a-10,000 waders but in a place as important and popular as Jaeren that might be a little difficult to achieve. Shooting weekdays might be a better idea than Sunday for example. Shooting in not so perfect weather could also be alternative. Shooting early probably isn't even a good idea cause most birders rise early anyway. Saturday morning could be a hit and miss sometimes ...

And not to forget, these beaches are also public places. There'd be surfers, frolickers, pensioners, walkers and their dogs on the beach enjoying nature as you do especially on a great warm sunny summers day!

Images and Text: Nazeri Abghani/Aug 2013

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Birding Saturday : Three Autumn Wader Migration Jaeren Hotspots

First Stop : Naerlandestranda

From Sola, it's probably less than 20 minutes drive to Naerlandestranda on the coastal Nordsjo road. If you are driving south follow the signboard and make a turn left at the Telekom Museum sign. You can drive the car all the way to the beach and park.

This place was hot in winter for ducks, and spring and autumn for the migrants. Upon arrival, I was startled by a feeding Peregrine Falcon ... where there is prey, obviously there'd be predator, the falcon probably the main species here on the coast of Jaeren. They are magnificent to see.

From the coast, Oystercatchers can be heard and barely seen slightly off the beach flying inches above the wave rushing to their wintering grounds further south.

On the beach itself, the quarry were  scattered on the sands frantically feeding, now and again nervously taking off in flight, returning again when feeling more secure. Amongst waders at the beach were Dunlin, Common Ringed Plover, Red Knot, Ruff, Bar-tailed Godwit and Redshank. Most are young birds with their fresh looking plumage, most adults have most likely taken up the journey south a couple of weeks earlier ... there still are a few straggler adults now and again.

Winter months could prove Naerlandestranda to be productive for ducks. Last winter I ticked Velvet Scoter and Long-tailed Duck here, the come and play quite close to the shore. Other usual suspects like the Ruddy Shelduck and Common Eider are also common. One big advantage of the colder months is that there are less people on the beach. Walking is a big past time here, there's always someone with a dog walking someplace.

Easy parking spots (P) and potentially productive places to peek at the birds. Come Spring (May/Jun) and Autumn (Aug/Sep) these sites are teeming with migrating waders. Arctic Terns are commonly seen as are Ruddy Shelduck, Long-tailed Ducks, Velvet Scoter and others.

Peregrine Falcon.

The northern section of Naerlandestranda still to be explored.

Waders undecided whether to stay or to go, round and round they go.

Young Mallards.

There are waders and ducks in the them dar rocks. The southern section.

Waders on the water, just arrived from their nocturnal roost. Orrevatnet is not 10 minutes away by car. Reminded me of Kpg Masjid Kuala Baram and the marshes just beyond the beach (probably all oil palm plantation now!).

Second stop : Orrevatnet

This freshwater lake is an important roosting site for waders and waterbirds alike. Every year droves of birders flock to this lake together with the ducks, waterbirds, shorebirds that use this site as main habitat or stopping over point.

A bird friendly farmer understood the drive and has allocated some space for parking on his property. The situation is now more orderly than it has been in the past, birders can just drive up from the main road and park their car nicely by the roadside in the space provided and walk leisurely by the hedges to the edge of the lake.

The lake's surface coverage is huge, there many not-so accessible points surrounded by farms, private road and properties. Egravatnet is nearby as well which just across the parking space.

In the summer and winters months the lake is busy with both migrants and vagrants.

Parking (P) is coveniently allocated by the property owner right by the side on the road. Birding side is then only a mere 10 minutes walk away ... with full access to all that Orrevatnet has to offer, at all times of the year. Many birders near and far flock to this very important site for waterbirds in Norway.

Little Gull.

Hundreds of Ruff roosting ready to move south.

Mallards in the air.

Arctic Tern.

Northern Lapwing.

Third stop : Reve

This is the Reve site that Jaeren is famous for. Located not 15mins from Orrevatnet, the area is surrounded by flat farmlands, undulating dunes, rocky and sand shores as well as isolated stunted shrubs. You can birdwatch for passerines, raptors, waders all in the same day given the right season. Raptors preying on waders, ducks and geese flying across to reach Orrevatnet, seabirds cruising the North Sea and little passerines making the leap from across the seas.

The site is popular with local and international birders alike and you can be sure that there's always a birder at the side. Though access can be a cumbersome walk for those without parking permits, there's plenty to see in the fields along the path to the beach. Even the little scrap of forest at the start of the path has been very fruitful for many a birder during the right time of the year.

There's limited free parking along the Nordsjo route just pass Revtangen, then the beach is but a 10min walk west along a private gravel road a working field. Another option is to pay an annual NOK500 maintenance fee to the property owner and park by the beach, saves a birder the walk over. Depending on how much gear you have with you you have the option to park and walk from Revtangen or Orrestranda.

Ruff in non-breeding plummage.

Bar-tailed Godwit on the rocks.

Young Red Knot about to be on the rocks.

Little Stint ... my first!

Wader galore.

Red Knot.

Young Red Knot so close you can almost touch!

Young scientist trapping and ringing the waders.

Thank you Neil Robert Jones Friestad for a whole morning of awesome Jaeren birding.

Words and images by Nazeri Abghani/Norway/Aug 2013