The Arctic summer in Varanger is great for birding, because it can be enjoyed all day long and by night too. One of the most fascinating spectacles to experience in this season is definitely the lekking behaviour of the ruffs.
Ruffs are medium sized wading birds, breeding in marshes and wet meadows across northern Europe and Asia. The male birds of this species vary widely (or wildly!). Notably for the adult male appearance is the attractive feathery neck ruffle, from where the bird gets its name.
During the breeding season, male Ruffs try to attract attention of the females by parading and strutting their stunning collars around a small open grassy arena, called lek. Everytime a lady visits the site, the fighting between the males start. During their rivalries they present a dramatic performance including wing fluttering, jumping, standing upright , crouching with ruff erect, and darting at each other. Ruff lekking can be seen in several places in Varanger, however, should you find a lek site be sure not to go too close and disturb the birds. Note that disturbing breeding birds or disturbing wildlife at their key sites is prohibited by law in Norway. Be respectful of the amazing wildlife you witness. Measures are being taken to minimise disturbance at some key sites, but they are not yet in place so be careful about sharing info about Ruff lek sites!