Birding Varanger


The majestic Persfjorden offers a spectacular landscape and exciting bird watching. Among the most interesting are the large flocks of diving ducks that gather here. This is also a very fine place to see divers, gulls and birds of prey. On both sides of the fjord there is the special and barren moon-like landscape that continues out to Hamningberg.

Bukkemoltangen projects out into Persfjorden and divides into two the inner part of the fjord. Here there are sandy beaches, coastal fields and grazing ground. This is one of the best places in Varanger to observe sea mammals.

Best time to visit

As long as the road is open it is worthwhile to take a trip out here. The fjord is exciting throughout the year. The best time to visit the inland valleys is from late May until mid-July

Habitat and observation species

Persfjorden is one of the very best fjords in Varanger for bird watching. The flocks of staging and summering ducks and seabirds are especially interesting. Single birds or small flocks of King Eider, Common Scoter and Velvet Scoter can be observed the whole summer. The same applies to Yellow-billed Diver, Black-throated
Diver and Red-throated Diver. During migration in May and in late summer the numbers are greater. The Long-tailed Duck can appear in thousands, and the same applies to Red-breasted Mergansers and Goosanders.

Persfjorden has also proved to be a site where one may meet with very rare species. Both Harlequin Duck and White-winged Scoter have been recorded here. The fjord should therefore be observed from all sides. At the river outflows, large numbers of gulls gather, especially when there is an onshore wind. One should
always study these thoroughly. The scarce Sabine’s Gull is a species that one may meet during such conditions.

When there is much fish in the fjord, there is a teeming bird life. Then the Gannet often comes into the innermost parts of the fjord, as also do auks, divers, skuas and gulls. The White-tailed Eagle and Rough-legged Buzzard often hunt along the fjord, and Peregrine, Gyr Falcon and Merlin also occur in the area. The Temminck’s Stint
nests along the rivers, and Sanderlings often rest along the bare sand beaches. There is little vegetation around Persfjorden, partly due to the stony terrain, but also due to the amount of grazing by sheep and reindeer. As a result there are not many species of breeding passerines.

Nevertheless, there are good possibilities of seeing Red-throated Pipit, Horned Lark, Bluethroat and Arctic Redpoll. The Ring Ouzel nests in the mountain slopes along the fjord. Further into the valleys and in the mountains, one may find Willow Ptarmigan and Rock Ptarmigan. By the road, three kilometres east of Persfjorden, lies the bay Prestnæringsbukta. Here large flocks of ducks and gulls often gather.


Take off from road E75 immediately before the tunnel out to Vardø and into road no. 341. After 30 km you come to Persfjorden. There are many fine places to stop on the way, and it is worthwhile to stop at these in order to gain a good view over the different parts of the fjord. One should go out on Bukkemoltangen in order to come nearer the birds out on the sea. It can also be worthwhile to walk along the rivers further in the valleys. The road is closed in winter, normally from October to early May.

Further information

The road is narrow and winding along the fjord, and in summer there is also alot of traffic. Many grazing sheep and reindeer in the area make it necessary to drive carefully.





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Brand: Visit Varanger
Company: Greater Arctic Moment AS
Address: The Icehouse
Ørtangen 10A, NO-9800 Vadsø
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