Stockholm consists of 30 000 islands and the whole archipelago is like one big birding site. For those who want to experience nature and birds it is easy to travel around to the larger islands with the regular boat services. For some remote islands you need a water taxi. Many islands are inhabited and offer year-round taverns, hotels, hostels and quaint country shops. Other islands live desolate and captivate with their barrenness all year round. Take a quick tour, click the picture below for a short film.
To help you find the best birding we have made a folder guiding you to the bird towers and platforms in the area as well as a guide to recommended accommodations for birdwatchers in the archipelago, several of them open all year round. Download pdf i low resolution here.
A birdwatching tower was built at the island Utö, in a wetland area close to the Baltic sea shore. To make it easy for hotel guests to go birdwatching, optics (inocular and telescopes) can be borrowed at both Utö Inn and Landsort restaurant. Facilities at Arholma, Landsort, Söderarm and Utö have optics to lend free of charge.
Information signs have been produced within the project. Some of them are placed at the biggest quays and show the transportation possibilities to reach different birding spots on the islands. Other signs have been mounted on the main bird hot spots in the archipelago. The signs describe nature and birds in the surroundings. Bird migration routes through the area are also shown.
A bird species checklist covering 130 species shows which birds can be found in the surroundings of the capital of Stockholm.
Gotland, the largest island in Sweden, is situated in the center of the Baltic Sea between the Swedish mainland and Latvia. The nature is unique with long beaches, grazed meadows, lush fields and lean limestone soils, called alvar fields. It offers a large selection of bird species and good watching spots but also an interesting flora and nature experience in general, have a quick look by clicking the picture below.
Gotland is a paradise for birds and bird watchers. Here you will find exciting birds all year around: eagles, geese in the tens of thousands, waders along the shores and beautiful small birds in meadows and pastures. The island probably has the densest population of golden eagle in the world with its 50+ pair of this impressive raptor. Even White-tailed Eagle has a good breeding number of 45+ pairs.
There are two mobile photo hides available for bird photographers. A small house on wheel mainly for photography of white-tailed and golden eagles along the coast of Gotland. The hide is equipped for three to four photographers and it will be possible to stay over night. All nature lovers are welcome to a close encounter with majestic eagles on Gotland!
The other one is a lightweight carry-along photo hide for low angle photos (waders, ducks). Both hides are placed in prime birding areas and are bookable through Fredrik Ström mobile + 46 70 837 89 39 and Kickan Karlsson, Gangvide Farm mobile +46 73 184 09 22
A nature bike trail follows the southeast coast, with information signs covering several topics (not only birds). Equipment such as bicycles, field guides and binoculars can be rented as a tour package at Gangvide Farm mobile +46 73 184 09 22. The bike nature trail passes two birding towers with excellent birding opportunities for golden eagles, white-tailed eagles, waders, barnacle geese and many other species, depending on season.
Map bike tour trail in low resolution here.
Cape Kolka is the northernmost 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 recognised among the European bird watchers. Have a look by clicking the picture below.
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. Years of observations have proven that the most intense migration at Cape Kolka occurs in the period from April to the beginning of May, yet some birds already start to migrate in March and some birds like European honey buzzards (Pernis apivorus), black kites (Milvus migrans), common swifts (Apus apus) and other bird species migrate until the beginning of June.
A new bird observation tower has been erected (57.75N;22.59E). This tower provides an excellent opportunity to take photos of birds of prey flying close to the tower. Find a pdf checklist for the cape here.
One part of the cape is Slītere National Park. The Baltic Wings program has produced a migratory bird book "Bird watching in Slitere National park” in Latvian. The book also has an online version
Kökar consists of one large inhabited island surrounded by thousands of small islands and rocky islets. It is an interesting hot spot for bird watchers in all seasons. Even in wintertime the birdlife is richer than you might expect. Due to the very special sea climate the sea is often ice free all year around. Many species hibernate on Kökar, like the seabirds Tufted Duck, Scaup and Smew in the bays and White tailed Eagle, Purple Sandpiper, Black guillemot and Razorbill at sea. You can get a sight of Northern Harrier, Rogh-legged Buzzard or Northern Hawk Owl over the fields.
The most impressive part of the spring migration is in the beginning of March, with large quantities of Common Ejders, and in the end of May, when numerous flocks of Black-throated loons can be seen passing west of Kökar at Kalen and Hamnö.
Autumn is again a migratory period - now the route stretches from north to south, over Hamnö and Kalen towards Sottunga and Föglö. The best migration hours can offer more than 10 000 individuals of small birds on their way towards the Sottunga-Föglö islands. As in spring, the moving starts in dawn with unique sunrises.
Even the ferry trips, to and from Kökar, starting at the ports of Galtby on the mainland of Finland or Långnäs on Åland, provide you with fantastic bird and nature experiences any time of the year, in all weathers. Just enjoy the spectacle of nature as you are gliding by the archipelago. There are excellent opportunities to follow these scenes on deck.
See a short film by clicking the picture below.
For more information about accommodations, restaurants, shops and service visit www.kokar.ax
Within the Baltic Wings program six new platforms and shields have been constructed: in Hamnö, Trångsund, Överboda, Skinnars, Sandvik and at Kökar Museum. Most of them are wheelchair accessible. On the platforms you will find signs with pictures of the most common birds during different seasons. Kökar also have several hiking trails that will take you to nice places for bird watching. At Lindhagen there is a natur information point worth visiting. It is open free of charge with various exhibitions during the year.