After the usual early morning explore around Vardø and another very substantial breakfast our group made our way to the loaned vehicles and under the tunnel to the mainland. Our first stop off was the airport in the hope of tracking down some Willow Grouse. It was a bleak and exposed area and we could not locate our hoped for species. There were of course numbers of the ubiquitous Snow Bunting present to keep us entertained!
Next we visited the harbour we had visited the previous day. There were plenty of birds to keep us entertained here, including Steller’s Eiders, Common Eiders, Long-tailed Ducks, Purple Sandpipers, Glaucous Gulls, Scandinavian Herring Gulls and of course Snow Buntings! The views of Steller’s Eiders were really good, allowing us to attempt to age them! Further along the Fjord we enjoyed views of a pair of White-tailed Eagles behind us and two White-billed Divers in front of us in the bay! Groups of Reindeer were scattered along the route we drove, some coming reasonably close.
Every bay seemed to hold either Steller’s Eider or King Eider (or both) and there were the odd single or pair of White-tailed Eagles scattered along the route. Brief views of a Red Fox was an added bonus!
We stopped for our lunch in Vadsø before following the coast road back to Vardø exploring bays and suitable habitat along the way.
Our day total was an amazing 1000 Steller’s Eider, c300 King Eiders, 3 White-billed Divers and 8 White-tailed Eagles. It was soon time for us to return to the hotel at Vardø for our evening meal. Both Tormod and Martin gave a fantastic set of talks filling our minds with inspiration and anticipation!