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Pushing the boundaries and Arctic Norway

Last night, Monday 21 January, we joined other members of the Bangor Bird Group to hear a very entertaining presentation.

Martin Garner, of Birding Frontiers, led the way with an excellent talk about his birding highlights in 2012. His visit to Arctic Norway, for an Arctic Gull Fest, was amazing with views of wonderful birds in stunning scenery. Next up was migration in Israel, and some stunning images of raptors on the move, everyone should experience this at least once, the birds just pour north leaving your mind spinning with bird over load! Martin also took us about to sea in search of wonderful rare seabirds, again with amazing mouth-watering images. Throughout Martin's talk his sheer pleasure in birds and birding came across and had everyone sharing the excitment that birds bring into our lives.

wader line up
Some of the waders you could see at Varanger Fjord.

Next up was Tormod Amundsen who had an amazing tale to tell about how birding has taken off at Varanger and the surrounding communities. Since taking the brave decision to move north to Vardo, in the far north-east of Norway, Tormod has enthused the whole town and many people around Varanger about the joy of birds and how they can be the spark to transforming the town and provide valuable income to lift the town into a better brighter future. Inspiring stuff indeed! From a position of in-difference the town now embraces their special birds, that are all around them, and takes great pride in the wildlife they live with. We need more people like Tormod!

Of course there were lots of amazing images of the birds found here in the far north. Stella's Eiders formed rafts of colour, King Eiders by the hundreds, thousands of Brunnich's Guillemots, and amazing shots of Puffins fighting in the snow! A series of wonderful shots of juvenile Red necked Phalaropes learning to surf, gorgous breeding plumaged Lapland Buntings, Gyr Falcon sparring with a Raven, male Snowy Owl the mouth watering birds just kept coming!

After seeing these amazing images of Varanger we looking forward to our visit in June even more! Inspired by Tormod we are in the early stages of planning more visits to northern Norway in 2014, looking at March for rare gulls, seaduck and seabirds and another visit in May/June. If you are interested in joining us for amazing birdwatching do get in touch and we will keep you updated with information.

This morning we took Martin and Tormod on a whistle stop tour of our local area, first we headed around the Great Orme, Llandudno, a wonderful limestone headland with stunning views across Snowdonia and Anglesey.

Martin Great Orme
Marin and Tormod in the snow on the Great Orme

Birds were few and far between but we did enjoy a lovely Stonechat and a pair of Chough. Next we called in at RSPB Conwy for a quick walk as far as the Carneddau Hide. A lot of ice about but the sun broke through and we enjoyed great views of drake Goldeneye and Lesser Redpolls.

Robin 1 Conwy
But it was a common bird that produced the biggest smiles

Robin 2 Conwy
A Robin poses for the visiting birding celebes!

Surely these images sum up what it is all about? There were very experienced birders, talking about a whole range of bird related issues from identification, conservation, future of birding, global migration, and we all stopped to take real joy in watching a Robin! Never loose that delight in birds, where ever and when ever birds appear.

For details of all our trips please email us at

For details of the Pushing the Boundaries Tour, with Martin and Tormod see


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