One of the biggest bird cliffs in Norway is located due west of the North Cape and is home to an impressive variety of species. Almost 1 million puffins live there, along with numerous northern gannets, cormorants, kittiwakes, common guillemots and northern fulmars.
The birds are to be found to the west of Magerøya on a number of small islands – known as Stappan – due west of the fishing village of Gjesvær. Warm and cold ocean currents meet here, so the sea is rich in nourishment. This is also one of the most accessible bird cliffs in Norway; a short boat trip from Gjesvær will put you right in the heart of this bird-watchers’ paradise and Nature Reserve.
Puffins keep to the grassy hills on the island. Here, they dig small holes where they lay their eggs. The colony on Gjesværstappan numbers around 500,000 pairs, making it one of the largest in Northern Europe. You can see the puffins right above the waves in the water.
The northern fulmar arrived on Gjesværstappan in 1978. It is a storm bird that looks awkward when walking on land, but is elegant in flight. It spends most of its life away from land and only returns to shore to lay and incubate its eggs. The northern gannet was first spotted on Gjesværstappan in the 1980s, since when one of the largest colonies of northern gannet in Norway has developed here.
Kittiwakes and common guillemots are well represented with several thousand pairs, and reefs around Stappan are also home to colonies of shags and great cormorants. Auks, Arctic skuas and great skuas are also common sights. The remarkable storm petrel nests on Gjesværstappan in the autumn and winter. White-tailed eagles circle the skies constantly, as there is plenty for them to eat here. And don’t be surprised if you spot seals, porpoises and dolphins on the trip out to the cliffs.
Visit Nordkapp takes you all the way
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