06 May 2017

SNOW LEOPARDS - the Tibetan Plateau expedition

     
            


China, the Tibetan plateau, April 2017 

Snow Leopards are among the most rare and least seen mammals in the world. For nature enthusiasts it is probably the most desired mammal to see. Needless to say I was incredibly excited when I was invited by Terry Townshend of Birding Beijing to be a part of a Snow Leopard pilot tour to a newly discovered area for this amazing species. The vast Chinese Tibetan Plateau probably holds many undiscovered secrets, and among them is an area that seems to be heavily favoured by the Snow Leopards. This following brief blogpost is based on a 14 day visit in China, where 5 days was spent at an undisclosed location between 4000 and 5000 meters above sea level.

20 December 2016

On birdwatching and architecture


An essay on flare versus function

The world of birding is a bit of a paradox. Birdwatching or birding is a wildly popular hobby that attracts millions of people worldwide, while at the same time birdwatching is considered to be very niche and it is, despite its massive popularity, not well known by the general public. Birdwatching has long roots, and in some basic ways it can be considered a modern version of of the hunter-gatherer mentality we see reflected in other hobbies like hunting or fishing, which is no longer done for survival purposes but rather for recreational purposes. Birdwatching however have evolved beyond the hunter-gatherer mind set. Birdwatching is in fact an expression of the modern naturalist science based culture. The desire to understand nature in all of its complexity is a key to understanding birdwatching. Birdwatching is a natural progression from Charles Darwins evolution theory to modern day popular naturalist icons like David Attenborough. Birdwatching is in many ways science for the masses. It is, alongside astronomy, the largest knowledge and science based hobby in the world where the boundaries to its field is pushed forward by a large base of very keen enthusiasts rather than a small base of specialist professionals. Today birdwatching is a global culture with millions of birdwatchers contributing to an ever growing knowledge base of everything related to birds. The plattforms on which birdwatchers communicate are numerous. There are endless magazines, online forums, websites, organisations, companies, etc, catering to every need and want in the birdwatching community. What they all share is a deep passion for birds and nature, wether it is for hard core science purposes like research into bird species taxanomy or the pure artistic exploration of bird art and bird photography. 

06 August 2016

BIRDING NORTH ICELAND - Nature destination development


Biotope recently made another visit to northern Iceland. For the past two years we have made repeated trips to this amazing birding destination, as a part of a nature destination development project we are working on. In collaboration with local nature based businesses we are exploring the region with the aim of designing and building a series of bird hides, photo hides and wind shelters. 

19 June 2016

BIRDING RUSSIA - exploring the northwest russian tundra


Aerial view of the Kostuanoy Cape, our basecamp on the russian tundra


The Nenets State Nature Reserve is a vast tundra and wetland expanse bordering the russian Pechora sea. Biotope was recently invited by the good folks of the nature reserve to visit the reserve and to look into possibilities for creating bird hides and nature viewing architecture. It was an honor to be invited to this reserve and it has been a long time wish for us to visit and bird in Russia. We enjoy every opportunity to visit top nature destinations of the circumpolar regions. Invitations based on our birder architect skills are somthing we consider a big compliment every time. We will do our outmost to see and understand the needs of a destination and the people there and their ambitions to develop a destination. Advising on where and how to put up bird hides, wind shelters and other nature viewing facilities are the jobs we truly enjoy. In addition there are different interests to consider ranging from nature conservation issues to more nature based tourism business opportunities. Finding a balance is important. Making these interest work together is even better.

Версию нашего  отчета на русском языке смотрите ниже

05 June 2016

The Birding Varanger guide book - Arctic Norway sites & birds


"Varanger is the world´s most easily accessible Arctic birding destination. In Varanger, Arctic Norway,  you can experience the northern taiga, tundra and the Arctic coastline within a dya´s drive. Birders, birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts can enjoy an amazingly rich birdlife in a sutnning landscsape. Varanger is particularily famous for its wintering population of Steller´s Eiders. However the wide variety of unique bird species have made Varanger one of the top birding destinations of the world."



26 May 2016

Birding Northwest Iceland - May 2016




 Harlequin Duck, Blönduós May 2016


Nature destination development: Northwest Iceland

Iceland delivers some of the coolest birding in Europe. We just visited the northwestern region of Iceland, working on a destination development scheme. For 10 days we have visited, researched, measured and photographed a wide range of sites. Visiting Iceland is not "just" a birding thing: The landscape, the mammals and the people you meet are equally an important part of any visit to this cool destination. Not to mention the heitur pottur culture! Almost everywhere you go you can sink into  a relaxing hot bath, in the field, at your hotel or at any of the numerous public baths. 

27 March 2016

Øvre Pasvik - birding the arctic taiga - Gullfest pt.2

Hawk Owl about to strike

In the Pasvik taiga forest the arctic bird festival Gullfest turned into an Owlfest! The Pasvik section of Gullfest was an epilogue of Gullfest where we aimed to show our invited guests some of the finest birding in the arctic. The taiga forest of Pasvik is the northernmost coniferous forest in the world. The taiga forest stretches from Pasvik and all the way to the Pacific coast in the far east. The birding here is spectacular, when you where to look, that is. To maximise the niceness and chances of great experiences we teamed up with our Pasvik friends Ben Arne Sotkajærvi aka Mr.Pasvik and the good folks at Øvre Pasvik Camping.

25 March 2016

Vardø, Arctic Norway - Gullfest part 1

King Eiders in Vardø harbour during Gullfest, March 2016

Gullfest 2016 was another successfull arctic birding festival. This year we celebrated the epic Vardø harbour. In town birding in Vardø is probanly some of the coolest in the world! Where else can you enjoy great fish food, a hot sauna followed by a swim with King Eiders?!

We are currently into our video blogging, and we hope you enjoy our vlog version of Gullfest. A few photos follow below as well. There will also be another blogpost coming up soon from the Pasvik section of Gullfest 2016. Stay tuned :)


GULLFEST 2016 - the movie

           

14 March 2016

Gullfest 2016 - fugl & fisk /// nature destination development

The fifth arctic birding festival in Varanger is on! 17-22nd of March 2016 we celebrate the amazing bird life of the worlds coolest arctic birding destination. Gullfest 2016 is about Birding Art, Architecture, Tech and Community.

Gullfest 2016 is open and free to join for anyone in Vardø from Thursday 17th to Saturday 19th. The daytime basecamp is at Østre Molokrok (northeast harbour in Vardø) from 10.00-15.00 Friday and Saturday (Gull ringing, trips, etc) + at Vardø Hotel from 20.00hrs on Thursday and Friday (talks). Welcome!


07 February 2016

Steller´s Eiders & snow caves - living the Arctic life


Incoming Steller´s Eiders in Kiberg harbour. Photographed from water level, dressed in a drysuit, swimming in the harbour. The Steller´s Eider photos and the video was shot, yesterday, Saturday the 6th of February. The weather was just too nice not to go for a swim in the harbour. 

Kiberg harbour in outer Varanger Fjord is one of the best places in the world to get close to this iconic arctic seaduck. We are currently working on a Steller´s Eider photo hide so some research needs to be done. We like everything about our jobs, but this kind of fieldwork is on top of the ´love it´ list. So without further ado: here are a few Steller´s Eider photos and a 2 minute video of the experience. We hope you enjoy (click on any image for full screen view, for desktop)

              
A day in Kiberg, swimming with Steller´s Eiders.