birds at Svartnes and Barvikmyra
These are among the most important bird localities in Varanger. Here one
finds large breeding populations of waders, divers, passerines, dabbling
ducks and seabirds. Along the coast large numbers of waders, gulls and diving
ducks gather. Birds of prey hunt regularly in these areas. Here there are long
sandy beaches with several outflows of rivers and streams. Extensive bogs
stretch far in over the moors. A wide harbour surrounds the outflow of the
river Storelv. On the west side of the breakwater lie Sandbukta and Smelror.
Around Smelror there is some agriculture and scattered habitation.
The extensive bogs along the coast, the cultivated
areas and the nutrient-rich coast, together create a
great species diversity. These areas are easily accessible
and surveyable from the road. Use some time here, look
out over the bogs and walk along the beaches and tracks.
Best time to visit
The coast can be exciting throughout the year, but the
period May to August is especially fine.
Habitat and observation species
The extensive bogs have many small lakes and pools.
There is great variation in the water content of the bogs,
and this creates many different habitats which suit
many species. There is a particularly dense population
of breeding Red-throated Diver, Arctic Skua and
Red-necked Phalarope. Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit,
Whimbrel, Golden Plover and Common Snipe also
breed here. This is also true of the Ruff, and from late
May to mid-June one can experience the breeding
display of the Ruffs. This is also a good area for nesting
ducks such as Scaup, Long-tailed Duck, Pintail, Wigeon
and Teal. The bogs are also much used by Bean Geese
and Whooper Swans. Nearer the coast, the terrain is drier and there is
more vegetation in the form of willow scrub. here there are good numbers of Red-throated Pipit, Lapland
Longspur, Bluethroat and Ringed Plover. In the driest
areas one finds Shorelark and the locally scarce Skylark.
The coastal fields and sand dunes dominate down near
the shore, and in this area several pairs of Temminck`s
Stint nest. Many wader species use the shore during
migration. In addition to the species already mentioned,
one can often see Spotted Redshank, Sanderling, Little
Stint and Turnstone.
The harbour area is a good place to see Stellar`s Eider
in the period January to May. Between the mainland
and Vardø lies Bussesundet. This is a very nutrient-rich
area, and from February until mid-April there gather
thousands of King Eider, Common Eider and Longtailed
Duck. In summer Smelror is a fine place to find
King Eider. Tjuvholmen near Smelror is a good nesting
site for Black Guillemot, Cormorant and gulls.
The gulls use the river outflows as a site to wash, and
several thousand Kittiwakes and big gulls can gather.
The Glaucous Gull may be seen throughout the year,
and other rare species may also occur here, such as
Ross`s Gull of which there are at least two observations!
The White-tailed Eagle is commonly seen along the
coast, while the Rough-legged Buzzard is often seen
over the bogs and moors. One may also meet with
Gyr Falcon, Peregrine and Merlin. On rare occasions a
Snowy Owl may visit these fine areas. The Short-eared
Owl can often be seen hunting from evening until early
morning. The fields around Smelror and the airfield are
good places to see this attractive species. From the observation hide placed up on the height
overlooking the bogs, there are fine possibilities of bird
watching. Spend some time looking over the bogs with a
telescope. On the opposite side of the road out towards
Blodskyttsodden there is a more barren mountain
landscape. Here the Snow Bunting nests on the highest
Turn off from road E75 immediately before the
undersea tunnel to Vardø and onto road 341 towards
Hamningberg. The road follows the coast, and it is
worthwhile stopping at the bridge over Storelva. One
should drive out to the western breakwater, around the
gravel roads on the inner side of the road, and then down
to Smelror. The road is closed in winter at Smelror, but
usually opens in early May.
In large parts of Barvikmyra and Blodskyttsodden
entry is forbidden in the breeding season from 15th
May until 31st July. Use of firearms and release of dogs
is forbidden throughout the nature reserve from 15th
May until 30th September. Show extra respect for
the wildlife also outside the boundaries of the nature