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  • Photograph of Siberian Cranes

    Siberian Cranes by Jon Hornbuckle.

  • Where to watch birds and wildlife in

    Best Birds and other wildlife in Arctic Russia

    This list is for the northern summer.


    Siberian and Sandhill Cranes, Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Ross’s and Sabine’s Gulls, Great Grey, (Northern) Hawk and Snowy Owls, Gyr Falcon (grey and white morphs), Emperor Goose, King, Spectacled and Steller’s Eiders, Harlequin Duck, Smew, Black-billed Capercaillie, Horned and Tufted Puffins, Kittlitz’s Murrelet, White-billed Diver (Yellow-billed Loon), Grey (Red) and Red-necked Phalaropes, and Aleutian Tern.

    Bewick’s (Tundra) and Whooper Swans, Taiga Bean, Tundra Bean and (Greater) White-fronted Geese, Brent Goose (Black Brant), Long-tailed Duck, Siberian (Stejneger’s) Scoter, (Rock) Ptarmigan, Black-throated (Arctic), Pacific and Red-throated Divers (Loons), Red-necked Grebe, Pelagic Cormorant, Golden and White-tailed Eagles, Rough-legged Buzzard (Hawk), (Eurasian) Dotterel, Pintail Snipe, Bar-tailed Godwit, Great Knot, Little Whimbrel (Curlew), Ruff (at leks), Long-billed Dowitcher, Spotted Redshank, Grey-tailed Tattler, Curlew, Marsh, Pectoral, Rock, Terek and Western Sandpipers, Little, Red-necked and Temminck’s Stints, Little and Vega (Herring) Gulls, Arctic, Common (longipennis) and White-winged (Black) Terns, Arctic, Long-tailed and Pomarine Skuas (Jaegers), Brunnich’s Guillemot (Thick-billed Murre), Pigeon Guillemot, Crested and Parakeet Auklets, Black and Eurasian Three-toed Woodpeckers, Siberian Jay, Siberian Tit, Lanceolated and Pallas’s Grasshopper Warblers, Red-flanked Bluetail, (Northern) Wheatear, Dusky and Naumann’s Thrushes, Pechora and Red-throated Pipits, Arctic (Hoary) Redpoll, and Lapland, Pallas’s Reed, Pine, Rustic, Snow and Yellow-breasted Buntings.

    Also a chance of Baikal Teal, Hazel and Willow Grouse (Ptarmigan), Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Bohemian Waxwing, Shore (Horned) Lark, Asian Rosy-finch and Pine Grosbeak.

    Beluga (Anadyr near Chukotka), Grey Whale, Elk (Moose), Reindeer, Arctic Fox, Mountain (Arctic) Hare, Brown and Collared Lemmings, and Largha (Spotted) Seal.

    Best Sites for Birds and other wildlife in Arctic Russia

    Best Times for Birds and other wildlife in Arctic Russia

    The best time is mid-June to early September.

    Recommended Bird Books etc. for Arctic Russia

    The Arctic Guide: Wildlife of the Far North by S Chester. PUP, 2016.

    A Complete Guide to Arctic Wildlife by R Sale. Helm, 2006.

    Collins Bird Guide by L Svensson et al. Collins, 2010 (Second Edition).

    Birds of Europe by L Jonsson. Helm, 1999.

    Birds of East Asia by M Brazil. Helm/PUP, 2009.

    A Field Guide to Birds of Russia and Adjacent Territories by V E Flint et al. PUP, 1989.

    The Birds of Siberia (Two Volumes) by H Seebohm. Alan Sutton, 1985 (First published in 1901).

    Mammals of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East by S Aulagnier et al. Helm, 2009.

    Mammals of Britain and Europe by D McDonald and P Barrett. Collins, 2005.

    Apps etc.

    Collins Bird Guide.

    Birding and Wildlife Trip Reports for Arctic Russia

    Many trip reports, some for Arctic Russia, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to Arctic Russia. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Arctic Russia' below.

    Local bird and wildlife guides in Arctic Russia

    The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.

    Accommodation for birders in Arctic Russia

    Some Organized Tours for birds and other wildlife to Arctic Russia

    There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.

    While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and they are popular with people with partners with different interests. Individuals, partners and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more for a custom tour than an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.

    Tour companies who run organized tours to Arctic Russia include the following. Many of these also offer custom tours.