Birding hotspots

Birding hotspots in the Central Baltic area

All around the Baltic sea there are excellent birding spots with interesting species all year round. On capes and islands the spring and autumn migration is often intense with large numbers of bird on route to or from the tundra, mountains or boreal forests. Nesting birds like waders and ducks along with the songbirds of the open landscape along the coast will give highlights to summer birding. During the winter large flocks of northern ducks as long-tailed ducks, smew, Steller's eider and many more can be seen along with large numbers of eagles. For Baltic Birding Hotspot map in low resolution, click here. Low resolution map of Gotland birding sites here. Low resolution Gotland Nature map, click here.

In recent years, herring gulls and cormorants have been nesting on the Lighthouse island, which is rarely visited by people. In exceptional cases, even the nests of razorbills have been spotted on the island.

A checklist for Kolka as pdf is found here

Cape Kolka, Latvia: Excellent spot to see migratory sea birds!

Cape Kolka is the furthest northern point of the Courland peninsula. This area is a part of the coastline of the Baltic sea, where the Gulf of Riga meets the Irbe Strait. It is a perfect place to observe migratory birds, and it is widely-recognized among the European bird watchers. The location of the cape creates good conditions for watching the migratory birds during the spring migration season, when birds fly from the south-west. In this period, one can observe a “bottleneck” effect at the cape, where the birds flying above land gather before setting off across the Gulf of Riga towards Estonia.

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Eurasian sparrowhawk is considered to be a background species among the migratory birds of prey at Cape Kolka. It migrates all day long, more than 60 sparrowhawks per hour fly over in the first part of the day; under favourable conditions, their number can reach over 400 specimens during the day.

The largest group of sea ducks on the banks of Cape Kolka are long-tailed ducks (Clangula hyemalis), which remain here from the end of September to the end of May.  

Lausviken, Gotland, Sweden: Eagles and thousands of migrating geese

Lausviken is a shallow bay which attracts migrating geese, waders and ducks. The bay is the best spot for bar-tailed godwits during spring migration and attracts tens of thousands of migrating barnacle geese during spring and autumn, with an occasional red-breasted goose among them. Both golden eagle and white-tailed eagle are frequently seen in the area all year round. There are two birding towers with excellent views over the bay.

Read more on our info sign about Lausviken

The shores are grazed by cattle and the large flocks of visiting geese. From the birding tower one may spot hundreds of bar-tailed godwits during spring migration in April.

Bar-tailed godwits resting and barnacle geese lifting when frightened by a passing white-tailed eagle.

Vårbergstoppen, Stockholm, Sweden: Exciting city birding

An artificial hill with 360 º observation field just outside Stockholm, possible to reach by the subway! Used by migrating birds as a flight beacon and a landmark for their navigation in spring and autumn. Grass covered sun exposed slopes ideal for foraging birds. In March-April swans, cormorants, geese and cranes pass close to the hilltop. In August to October spectacular numbers of buzzards, cranes, pigeons migrate in the area.

Närsholmen, Gotland, Sweden: Waders, eagles, geese and rare small ones...

Närsholmen is a cape with good views of the migrating birds passing over de sea: ducks, geese and loons. In the pine groove by the parking lot there are often resting passarines – including really rare visitors – during spring and autumn. Närsholmen also has a special flora with orchids and much more.

Read more on our info sign about Närsholmen

Eastern vagrants October 2019, short film by Måns Grundsten

The red and white lighthouse on Närsholmen is very characteristic and just outside the stone wall there are good places to set up spotting scopes and watch the passing migrating flocks over the sea. The grazed area has lots of orchids and other rare plants.   

Broad-billed sandpiper, sometimes spotted at Närsholmen.

Elder-flowered orchid (Dactylorhiza sambucina) is found blooming in May on Närsholmen.

Golden eagles are a common sight at Hoburgen all year. Gotland has the densest population on golden eagles in the world.

Large numbers of auks pass Hoburgen on their way to the bird islands Stora Karlsö and Lilla Karlsö and onwards to the Stockholm archipelago and further north.

Rosefinches are nowadays a rather common sight on Gotland, after extending their breeding range westward since a few decades back.

Hoburgen – magnificent spring migration and excellent winter birding

Hoburgen is without doubt the very best birding spot on Gotland. The migration is magnificent with geese, ducks and auks passing on route north or south at a good spotting distance. Checking out the bushes by the limestone cliffs provides a chance to see a number of very rare species in spring and autumn.

The small ringing station during migration is well worth a visit, and continuing south along the gravel road will take you to good birding along the shoreline. Nesting species include barred warbler, red-backed shrike and rockpipit.

The list of rare birds is very, very long including rare birds from the east in autumn and southern species in spring. The migration of ducks, geese, loons and passerines is magnificent.

Read more on our info sign about  Hoburgen