The white-tailed eagle is one of the largest birds in the world with a wingspan of over 7ft. The largest population of this species is found in Norway, however their breeding range stretches across Northern Europe, Russia and Northern Asia. An awe-inspiring bird to watch, the white-tailed eagle feasts on various fish, small and large mammals and other birds. Also known as the sea eagle, this species are currently classified as “least concern” however were critically endangered for almost two centuries due to hunting and environmental pollution present in their prey.
Face of the White tailed Eagle in Norway Flickr: rattenteufelWhite tailed Eagle Norway Flickr: yathin
Norway has one of the largest colonies of puffins in the world with over 15,000 birds nesting in this region during the summer season. These birds are famous for their clown-like faces and they can easily be spotted on the Puffin cruises to Pyramiden. The nutrient rich bogs and the large amount of insects in this area make it a paradise for these birds and if you’re lucky enough to wander the hilltops you may even see a few scurrying across the path to their burrows.
Atlantic Puffin in Norway Flickr: talaaksoAtlantic Puffin post-fishing in Norway Flickr: talaakso
Wildlife enthusiasts will immensely enjoy visiting the spectacular Vesteralen Islands, an archipelago just off the coast of Norway. There are a number of whale watching safaris between May to mid-September and though centuries of whale hunting has decreased the population of these magnificent creatures, the chance of spotting one is high. An exhilarating experience, you’ll get a chance to view pods of killer whales as well as, sperm, pilot and humpback wales who share the waters with inquisitive seals.
Bearded Seal Flickr: kerrylondonFamily of Killer Whales in The Norwegian SeaDiving Humpback Whale Flickr: anupshah
Another spectacular animal that can often be seen along this coast is the walrus. They can be observed by visitors in summer during their breeding season, along the shorelines of fjords and the islands of Karl Prins Forlandet and Moffen. In addition to the wildlife, the Vesteralen Islands are a fantastic place to watch the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), a natural light show caused by an interaction between the upper atmosphere, cosmic rays, solar wind and magnetospheric plasma.
Walrus in Svalbard Flickr: smudge9000Walrus Island of Storøya, Svalbard Flickr: kerrylondon
For the adventurous among us, guided wildlife safaris take visitors into the exotic world of the musk ox and the polar bear in Svalbard. Polar bears not only survive but thrive in the harsh terrain of the remote Svalbard archipelago and if you’re lucky you might even catch a glimpse of an Arctic fox. The thrill of admiring these giant beasts on a snowmobile is sure to be an exciting experience; the harsh elements easily make it the adventure of a lifetime, in a land where animals outnumber humans.
Male Polar Bear jumping in the pack ice in Svalbard, Norway Flickr: bering_land_bridgeSvalbard Archipelago, Norway. Polar Bear Mother and Cubs Flickr: JidanchaomianBaby Polar Bear in Svalbard Flickr: polarphotosArctic fox in SvalbardCloseup of an Arctic fox in Svalbard Flickr: billyboysfotocolection
The panoramic terrain in the north-east of Finland, filled with pristine rivers and dense forests is home to the majestic European brown bear. The brown bears are native to this region and are best admired on a tour to a bear-hide. Set in the dense pine forests of Finland, the bear hide is equipped with viewing chairs and a sleeping area with strategically positioned amplifiers in the forest announcing the movement of animals inside the hide. Listen carefully, as the cries of the fierce wolverines are often heard in the forest.
Mother bear and 3 cubs Flickr: vermazeren2 Brown Bear Cubs Playing around Flickr: vermazerenMother bear with cubs Flickr: vermazeren Wolverine in Finland Flickr: nh53
Sweden is home to a array of wildlife, including moose and elk which can also be seen on guided wildlife tours. Moose here can reach heights of over 2 meters and males can weigh-in over 800kgs; needless to say, if you want to see one of these immense creatures, be very careful and keep your distance, especially around breeding season. Keep your eyes peeled, if you’re lucky you could see an Eurasian Lynx, this is one of the largest cat species in northern Europe and one of the rarest and hardest to see of all European animals, with an estimated population of around 1250.
Elk in Sweden Flickr: paraflyerEurasian Lynx Portrait Flickr: tambakoEurasian Lynx
It’s not just large imposing animals that you’ll find in Northern Europe, Scandinavia is also home to a fantastic array of owls, who feed on smaller rodents like mice and squirrels. There are over 519 species of birds alone in Sweden making this area popular with birdwatchers and ornithologists alike.
Tengmalm Owl Flickr: francesco_veronesiTawny Owl in Gotaland Sweden Flickr: sbern Red Squirrel in Denmark Flickr: justonemoreshot
A drive along the scenic roads of Northern Europe is invigorating, but do watch out for the reindeer! These beautiful creatures are a common sight along the highways and are often a traffic hazard. Reindeer have historically been found at lower latitudes, however past the late 19th century they have only been found from the top of Northern Europe, along Russia and into Canada where they are typically referred to as caribou.