Russia: The Lena Delta
Photographing in Arctic Russia!


Tour date:
June 22 – July 03, 2017


Machiel Valkenburg 


Minimum group size:
3 plus 1 leader


Maximum group size:
5 plus 1 leader


2017 Tour price:
€ 3.750,- / £3.025,-


Plus flights estimated at:
€ 1.500,- / £ 1.240,- (from London)


Single room supplement:
non available

Russia is by far the largest country in the world, this immense vast country offers so many ecological treasures that it is no more than logical that we have a luxury to pick the best places for a splendid bird photography tour and the Lena Delta is one of those places where we can meet an extraordinary avifauna. Located in the absolute north of Russia in the middle of nowhere at the Arctic Ocean coast we find a small settlement called Tiksi, here only 5000 inhabitants live. Here our adventure into the wild starts. The river Lena is one of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean. Its delta is the largest arctic delta covered entirely by tundra it is one of the richest areas in the arctic north of 71° N for both species diversity and breeding density. It extends 100 km into the Laptev Sea and is about 400km wide. Summer transforms the region into a gorgeous lush wetland for only a few months. Large concentrations of birds are especially coming here to breed and we will have great opportunity to photograph many of these gems in breeding plumage!


The list of birds that occur here on large scale is no more than impressive and during this tour we have good chance to many to photograph many of its birds in there breeding habitat, here  where very little amount of birders have ever been birds are easily approachable. During this wonderful tour we look for Red-throated diver, Black-throated diver, Tundra swan,White-fronted Goose, Brent Goose, Willow Ptarmigan, Rock Ptarmigan, Long-Tailed Duck, King Eider, Spectacled Eider, Steller’s Eider, Pacific Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Dotterel, Ruddy Turnstone, Dunlin, Ruff, Ringed Plover, Red-necked Phalarope, Red Phalarope, Long-billed Dowitcher, Rufous-necked Stint, Temminck’s Stint, Little Stint, Pectoral Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Rough-legged Buzzard, Pomarine Skua, Arctic Skua, Long-Tailed Skua, Ross’s Gull, Sabine’s Gull, Vega Gull, Glaucous Gull, Arctic Tern, Siberian  Red-Throated Pipit, Buff-bellied Pipit, Arctic Redpoll, Arctic Rosy-Finch, White Wagtail, Common Redpoll, Little Bunting, Lapland Bunting and the marvellous Snow Bunting.


June 24, Day 1: Travel to Tiksi.

The group will meet up with the Rubythroat Birding Tours leaders in Novosibirsk or in either Yakutsk. The flight from Europe will be through Moscow or either Novosibirsk from Moscow or Novosibirsk we will fly to Yakutsk and further on to Tiksi, all transport from Europe to Tiksi will be by airplane (this information is based on present flight schedules).


NIGHT: Airplane.


June 25, Day 2: Arrival in Tiksi.

After early arrival in Tiksi we will meet with our local bird-guide who will lead us during this birdwatching holiday. In Tiksi we will stay for one night in a guesthouse, while getting permission documentation from frontier post authorities. We will do some first birding around the city where we hope to come across the first Pacific Golden Plover, Red-throated Pipit and Lapland Bunting.


NIGHT: guesthouse Tiksi


June 26, Day 3: Lena-Nordensjold Biostation.

In the morning we departure to the Lena-Nordenskjold Biostation by boats (120km); which will be our home for the coming week! In the nearby tundra around the Biostation one could find Red- and Black-throated Divers, King Eider, Long-Tailed Duck, Willow Grouse and Rock Ptarmigans, Pacific Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Ruddy Turnstone, Red-necked- and Red Phalaropes, Rufous-necked Stint, Little Stint, Temminck’s Stint, Pectoral and Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Arctic and Long-Tailed Skua, Vega and Glaucous Gulls, Arctic Tern but also Horned Lark, White Wagtail, Red-Throated Pipit, Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunting and Arctic Redpoll.


NIGHT: Lena-Nordenskjold Biostation


June 27 – July 4, Day 4 - 11: Lena Delta.

During the next 8 days we will make day trips into the Delta or two-day trips with overnights at the Sokol weather station. We use small boats which contain 2 persons and a boatman. During these trips we are going to find Tundra Swan, White-fronted goose and Long-billed Dowitcher in the middle of the Delta; visit a colony of brilliant Ross’s Gulls which will receive a lot of attention as being the bird of the trip for most of us. Observe Pomarine Skua’s and Sabine’s Gulls at the edge with the Laptev Sea; and meet Brent Goose, Spectacled and Steller’s Eiders in the Bykovskaya channel. In the nearby hills we could find Rough-Legged Buzzard, Peregrine, Merlin, Siberian Accentor, Arctic Warbler and Little Bunting. Since the weather in Lena Delta in unpredictable, we cannot make a clear day-by-day plan for our trips. Heavy storms and gales are occurring here all times of year. However, our experienced guide, Machiel Valkenburg, will do his best to show us species from our wish-list.


NIGHT: Lena-Nordenskjold Biostation or Sokol weather station


July 5, Day 12: Back to Tiksi..

Today we are leaving the Lena-Nordenskjold Biostation and are going back to Tiksi by boat. Along the way we will be photographing from the boat.


NIGHT: guesthouse Tiksi


July 6, Day 13: Tiksi to home.

During the day we will board our flight to Yakutsk from where on we will depart further to home after having spent the holiday of a lifetime in the Russian Arctic!


NIGHT: Airplane.


*** Please note: depending on the weather we may choose to keep a different schedule, visiting certain locations on different dates. This will not affect the quality of the tour***


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For more information on this tour please download this PDF file