BIRDS AT SYLTEFJORD
Syltefjordstauran is one of Norway’s greatest and most important bird cliffs. It stretches three kilometres along the north-west side of the Syltefjord, and reaches 200-300 metres above sea level. Many seabird species nest here. Birds of prey often use the bird cliffs as a hunting ground. Along the fine Syltefjorddal there are good areas for passerine species. Along the first part of the way one can find most of the typical mountain species.
The bird cliff Syltefjordstauran had at one time several million seabirds. Unfortunately there has been a
catastrophic reduction in many populations of seabirds along the Norwegian coast, and this has also hit these colonies. The populations of Kittiwake and Common Guillemot have been especially severely affected,
nevertheless one still finds a teeming bird life here.
Best time to visit
These areas are best to visit in the period May to August and are mainly breeding grounds for seabirds, but are
also staging sites for ducks.
Habitat and observation species
In the bird cliffs Kittiwake, Common Guillemot, Brünnich’s Guillemot and Razorbill all nest. Black Guillemot and Atlantic Puffin may also be seen in the area. The bird cliff also houses the northernmost Gannet
colony in the world. The White-tailed Eagle can often be seen hunting in the bird cliffs, and there is also the
possibility of seeing Gyr Falcon. From the Syltefjord there is a path out to the bird cliffs. This is a long walk,
partly in difficult and barren terrain, where one can also observe Snow Bunting and Rock Ptarmigan.
The road down towards Syltefjorddalen can offer many exciting bird observations. The first kilometres
pass through fine mountain terrain, and Long-tailed Skua and Lapland Longspur often sit right beside the
road. In the lakes one can see Red-throated Diver and Scaup, and along the steep downward path towards
Syltefjorden the Rock Ptarmigan has its home. The vegetation is richer when one comes down to level ground and to the road that leads along the Syltefjord river.
In the luxuriant and isolated willow and birch forest the Bluethroat and Brambling are common species. The Arctic Redpoll may also be found here. Red-throated Pipit and Willow Ptarmigan can be found in the open bog areas. In the innermost part of Syltefjorden, Straumen, many Red-breasted Mergansers and Goosanders often rest, and also some Velvet Scoters and Red-throated Divers. Out in the fjord one can see several species of marine mammals such as killer whales, porpoises and grey seals.
About four kilometres before Båtsfjord one turns off from road no. 891 and onto road no. 25 eastwards
towards Syltefjord. After 35 kilometres one arrives out at Syltefjord. The road to Syltefjord is closed in winter,
but usually opens in mid-May when the snow has begun to thaw.
Boat trips are arranged from Syltefjord during the summer. This is the easiest and best way to experience this fantastic bird cliffs.