of Engerdal (in the county of Hedmark) in eastern Norway is a
very few people, a lot of wilderness and some of the Scandinavian
specialities many birders from further south in Europe drool over.
There are lakes, marshes,
mountain tops and A LOT of woodland and forest.
June 2016. Although this species
is rapidly disappearing from much of Norway one can still find them in
seems rather unexplored by birders and I definitely get the
feeling there is
plenty just waiting to be found - it is without a doubt a place to
visit if you want
to find your own stuff! Although there are a number of nature reserves
in the area I have only
visited a few of them.
There are undoubtedly many more localities
waiting to be found but be prepared to put in a bit of effort - much of
the woodland can appear quite birdless at times. In June 2016 a singing
second year male Red-flanked Bluetail was found here!
have barely scratched the surface of birding in the area but spent a
of time out and about in various places - and learn more each time I
visit this fantastic area. I know that I will find more good sites and
more good species in the future. Hopefully this page might
point you in
the right direction.
recommendation to purchase is at least one map - it
WILL be useful - both in the field and in order to find promising
locations. It may sound incredible but I have yet to visit Engerdal
with a telescope - this is something I need to correct as a scope would
help A LOT at a number of localities - especially the larger lakes.
main roads are of surprisingly good quality and it can be difficult
to stay under the speed limit at times. However, many places are served
by forest tracks which can be of a very variable standard and
may play havoc with a normal car. Engerdal is a place where SUVs are
actually useful! Even in early June roads may still be closed due to
snow or because of damage caused by floods caused by the spring thaw.
Be prepared for closed roads even well into June......
Even in winter a number of the Scandinavian specialites can be seen.
Tengmalm's Owl can be heard advertising territories from mid February
Broad-billed Sandpiper, Pine Grosbeak, Waxwing, Hawk Owl, Pygmy
Owl, Siberian Jay,
Three-toed Woodpecker, Hazel Hen, Capercaille,
and more besides are all good reasons to visit Engerdal.
Ptarmigan, Engerdal, June
This species takes over from Willow Grouse at higher altitudes.
Sometimes you just have to slam on the brakes and come to a stop!
Pygmy Owl hunting birds at a feeder in someones garden, Engerdal, April
Yet another reason to slam on the brakes (I leave a lot of rubber
behind in Engerdal....)
Cranes are a regular sight in Engerdal, usually more distant than this
bird posing in May 2021
Galtsjøen is covered in the "Birders guide to Norway" and is
nature reserve. It is always worth checking - I have seen a decent
selection of wildfowl as well as Crane and Pine Grosbeak here. A
telescope is highly recommended for scanning the lake.
is a huge nature reserve consisting of open
woodland, marshes and small lakes. It is the best place to go birding
in Engerdal that I have visited so far and one of the few places I have
put some effort into. To get the most out of this
area a map and compass
(or these days I should probably say GPS) is necessary as is waterproof
footwear and mosquito repellent. Insects have not been too bothersome
during my visits thus far but the potential is obviously there.
me the main reason to go here is Siberian
- I have seen them easily on all but one of my visits. I have seen
Crane in the immediate vicinity and it would not be surprising if they
were also present
in the reserve itself.
nice variety of waders breed in the area incuding some
really special ones (that I haven't connected with yet!). The commonest
waders in the area I have managed to cover thus far are Wood Sandpiper
and Whimbrel. Greenshank and Redshank are also common.
in this area include Whooper Swan, Teal and Goldeneye.
a few passerines breed in the area with Yellow Wagtail, Redstart
and Whinchat being some of the more obvious.
Jay are the easiest of the
target species to connect with in
Willow Grouse, Engerdal, Norway, June 2016
Three-toed Woodpecker are regular, if rather sparsely distributed in
Tengmalm's Owl, Engerdal, May 2021
These birds were ringed under somewhat unfortunate circumstances, the
male died having flown into a window but helpful neighbours provided
extra food for the chicks and most at least left the nestbox:)
I have a couple of sites I will be trying to keep an eye on in the future....
Wagtails are a cracking bird! Kvisleflået,
Flycatcher are a common breeder in Engerdal, Pitcure taken in September
Crane are a widespread species in Engerdal. Photo taken from the car at
Kvilten, July 2014
of Kvisleflået from near Svarthammeren, October 2015
View of the treeline towards Roskarven, October 2015
Picture taken from near Svarthammeren - on a day with hundreds, if not
thousands of Fieldfare, were gorging themselves on the vast numbers of
berries on the slopes
Just to the south
of the nature reserve there is an area that contains a number of
holiday cabins and has a good network of prepared cross-country skiing
trails during the winter months. These trails pass some intruigingly
named places which, when translated directly from Norwegian appear
almost obscene. Despite the names of these placea this area (near
Kvilten) is a fantastic place to see Siberian Jay - one of the
relatively few species able to survive the winter here. I have explored
this area almost exclusively on skis but the area is undoubtedly worth
visiting during the spring and summer too.
is a productive lake which houses quite a few
widespread in Engerdal and good numbers can be seen on both
Drevsjø and Vurrusjø
highlight here must be the good numbers of Black-throated Divers
that gather to feed on the lake - numbers can get into double figures
at times. Crane can also be seen in the area.
During the autumn seaduck stop here on their way down from their
breeding grounds - I have seen Greater Scaup, Common Scoter and Velvet
Scoter here in
October and Long-tailed Duck on lakes nearby at the same time.
This is just one of the places I have seen Pine Grosbeak in the autumn.
Engersjøen This is the area in which I
have spent the most time. Among
real specialities I have seen here are Hazel Grouse, Tengmalm's Owl,
Capercaille, Black Woodpecker and
Grey-headed Woodpecker. There are definitely some
more birds to
see in the area. The surrounding hills seem attractive to a number of
species including Hawk Owl (at least during autumn / winter) and Black
are present in Engerdal throughout the year - as long as there are
areas of ice-free water. This
picture was taken at Heggeriset in February 2015
Even during winter Whooper
Swans can be found on the few
- such as the river running into the north end of the lake.
By April the lake (Engersjøen) houses a variety of duck and
ice free areas. In the summer Goldeneye and Goosander breed locally and
the former are particularly common, small numbers of Black-thoated
Diver are regular too. I have seen Osprey here during the summer months
and Golden Eagle can often be seen soaring over the valley.
common around the lake and on the river.
A selection of woodland
species, including Black Grouse and
are present on the slopes. Mistle Thrush, a localised species in
Norway, are a regular feature. Later in the sping (at least up to an
including late May) the fields next to the river may flood and become
productive for a number of waders - largely the usual suspects but I
have seen Great Snipe and Red-necked Phalarope here more or less side
by side. The latter two species were no doubt migrants heading up to
breed in areas still covered by snow.
Grey Shrike, Heggeriset, Engerdal, October 2014
One of a couple of singing Icterine Warblers present at Heggeriset,
Engerdal, June 2017
Engersjøen, June 2016
Dunlin occur as migrants and I have also seen them on breeding habitat
on the tops. This bird dropped in at Heggeriset in June 2017
During the autumn some good
migration can be observed here with
numbers of thrushes and finches moving through. I have
Waxwing and Great Grey Shrike here as passage birds in mid September -
Jay landscape, Kuhølen in Engerdal, Hedmark, February 2015 -
at least four Sibe Jays and a Black Grouse were seen during a brief
pause during a skiing trip here.
is a locality that is not in "A
Birdwatchers Guide to Norway" and
a typical example of
how easy it is to find one's own places with the aid of a map. It
looked good on the map and is good in reality.
area is much more open and the
trail here goes right at the tree
limit. For numbers of birds this is the best place I have visited thus
far - without finding anything really special. There are higher tops
surrounding the valley which I have not yet had the chance to explore. Brambling,
Yellow Wagtail, Whinchat,
Wheatear, Meadow pipit and of
course Willow Warbler are the commonest species here. Several species
of wader breed here including Wood Sandpiper and Whimbrel.
the autumn the number of
species to be seen in Rødal
drops considerably but quality can make up for quantity. Autumn passage
birds observed here have included Hawk Owl and Rough-legged Buzzard.
are a possibility in Engerdal - at least during autumn and winter. They
seem to favour areas on, or close to, the tree line. This particular
was taken in Øygarden, October 2014
Mountain tops / upland On higher
ground above the
treeline a variety of wildfowl
along with Ptarmigan and other upland species can be found. Long-tailed
Duck, Common Scoter, Tufted Duck and Wigeon are the commonest of the
breeding ducks. One of the commonest waders on the tops is Golden
Typical view of Hazel
Grouse, Engerdal, March 2018 I regularly manage to
get quite close to this species but an unobstructed photograph is
information and books
Links to other websites covering Engerdal can be found below:
wide variety of fish live in the lakes and rivers. I have caught
Grayling (harr), Trout (ørret) and Char (røye).
are numerous - tracks and signs
are everywhere and they can be seen
in the woods if one is quiet. Flocks of tame Reindeer are common in the
area around Drevsjø. Roe deer are the commonest mammal I
encounter during my birding trips. Beaver are obviously a common
species but it is not
easy to see the animals themselves despite the fact there is evidence
of them all over the place.
I have seen Otter at Heggeriset, even in the depths of winter when the
vast majority of fresh water is frozen.
and Wolf are all
present - although I have yet to be lucky
enough to see them.
Beaver, June 2017
Busy Beaver, February
can move surprisingly quietly at
speed through the woods. This one
rushed past as I approached some Siberian Jays
Squirrel, Heggeriset, April 2014
Red Squirrel, Galtsjøen, September 2016
Fox cub near Guttulia, Engerdal, June 2020
One of three cute cubs seen hanging around on the verge.
Engerdal, May 2021
In May some individuals have changed to their summer coat while others
are just that bit more visible:)