03 June 2015

Birding Nome, Alaska - spring in the US Arctic


This May we set out on a 4 week adventure to explore some of the top birding destinations of the North American Arctic. Birding the Alaskan tundra of the Seward Peninsula is strangely familiar to our own region, the Varanger Peninsula. The landscape, the birds and even the architecture is similar in many ways. The following is the last of a trio of blogposts from our recent Biotope Alaska birding trip. We arrived Nome on May 17th and spent 4 days birding the Seward Peninsula before we flew to Gambell, St.Lawrence island on the 21st of May. We spent 4 days on Gambell before returning to Nome where we spent our last 3 days of our Alaska adventure. The timing was brilliant as we got to experience the sudden arrival of spring. In just a few days Nome and the surrounding areas exploded with life. Nome´s Safety Sound instantly became our favourite hotspot for birding. The wetlands was packed with birds as this was one of few productive places with open water.

The below Biotope aerials are taken just 5 days apart! What an amazing speed of melting. The intensity of birdlife in the sound as ´spring breaks´ was unbelievable. Duck, geese, divers,  waders and passerines in thousands foraged in the melting wetlands. 

Safety Sound on May 20th

30 May 2015

Gambell, St.Lawrence island - Alaska spring birding




Gambell is the westernmost point in USA, with Russia seen in the horizon, surrounded by the Bering Sea. It is one of the most remote places to bird in the US, and some exceptionally cool arctic birding can be enjoyed here. On our recent Alaska adventure we spent 4 days on Gambell. This is a small Yupik (eskimo) community of approx 650 people living on the northernmost point on St.Lawrence island. They are mostly hunter gatherers, but every year a few birders find their way to this remote place and as such makes a little contribution to the local economy. 

19 May 2015

Birding Alaska in spring - Homer & Seward




The name Alaska rings of wilderness and grand nature. At Biotope we have a thing for the northern birding. Which is why we live and bird in Varanger, Arctic Norway. However, we allways need a bit of inspiration and fresh ideas to fuel our birding passion. Since moving to Varanger a few years ago we have started a project to visit top nature destinations around the northern hemisphere.

26 March 2015

Hasselnes Wind Shelter - Watching Auroras in Varanger

Aurora-watching from the new Hasselnes bird hide and wind shelter. To left in the distance is Hornøya bird cliff.

  

Hornøya bird cliff is one of the key attractions in Varanger. We are currently working on a project aiming at improving the fascilities on Hornøya, and to connect Hornøya more with Vardø island. At Hasselnes, northeasternmost Vardø island, you have great views of Hornøya bird cliff. Hasselnes used to be the town dump. With the new bird hide and windshelter we aim to make Hasselnes an attractive place to visit. It is already a key place for birders and all visitors to Vardø, but fasilities and information have been absent. During our recent bird festival Gullfest 2015 we opened the Hasselnes wind shelter.

22 March 2015

Ivory Gull in Varanger - the great white



Ivory Gull. The name itself rings of exclusiveness. This is the great white of the Arctic. A dream bird rarely seen unless you travel to the high arctic.

18 March 2015

Gullfest 2015 - art, architecture & science in the Arctic

Varangers iconic Steller´s Eider - field study by bird artist Lars Jonsson, Varanger March 2015


Lars Jonsson - field studies of Steller´s Eiders

11 March 2015

Gullfest 2015 - Arctic Art & Architecture in progress

Gyrfalcon by Lars Jonsson ©, Gullfest 2015 artist, talking at Unni´s Kafé in Vardø on Friday at 19.00hrs. Surely the birding talk of the year in Varanger.

Gullfest 2015 is just about to start. We have a lot happening at the same time these days: 
- A new Varanger Peninsula National Park Exhibitions opened yesterday, designed by Biotope in collaboration with Varanger Museum. 
- We have a new bird hide / wind shelter being built, to be ready for opening on Saturday on the Gullfest base camp. 
- The base camp itself is being set up ready for this weekend. 
- Our invited artists Lars Jonsson, James McCallum and Jonnie Fisk are already in the field creating their magic take on the Varanger birdlife!

03 March 2015

GULLFEST 2015 - Art & Birding in the Arctic


GULLFEST 2015 in Vardø, March 13-15 
(click on poster for slide show view)

The annual arctic bird festival, Gullfest, is coming up very soon! This year we go back to basics, with a big lavvo basecamp in Vardø. Local super chef Tor Emil will serve great Varanger food. We are very happy to say that Lars Jonsson, the world famous bird artist will join us! At Biotope we think art is an amazing way to show nature, so in addition we are very pleased that the brilliant UK bird artist James McCallum will join us to, together with up and coming bird artist Jonnie Fisk.

22 February 2015

Birding Architecture - bird hides & nature reserve innovation

 Merlin (adult female) at Snettisham RSPB reserve, Feb 2015


3000 kilometers on the road in UK 

             

On our recent tour around UK Tormod from Biotope and Graham White from RSPB visited several of RSPB´s nature reserves. We have also given many talks, both public and staff talks at various places, from Dorset in the south to Minsmere in the east and Flamborough in the north. Our aim has been to share ideas and inspire people by presenting our work. This article feature some thoughts and ideas presented on the UK tour.

23 January 2015

Biotope & RSPB touring UK


We are very happy to launch a new UK tour! Tormod from Biotope and Graham White from RSPB will be giving talks at Minsmere, Poole or Flamborough. We hope to see you in February!

The great guys at ´Birds of Poole Harbour´ made this introduction:

"The talk is titled ‘Viewing the Future’ and focuses on how interaction between people, wildlife and the natural world can be managed in such a way, creating a totally new experience for visitors to a nature reserve or to the public in an urban area. The presentation will be spit into two parts, the first being presented by the RSPBs senior wetland ecologist, Graham White who will talk about how to maximise nature reserve design for both people and wildlife. The second half will be hosted by Tormod Amundsen from Biotope, the worlds first (and only) Ornithological Architects. Biotope are a Norwegian based company that specialises in 'thinking outside the box' when it comes to interpreting the natural world. Biotopes concepts and bird hide ideas have become widely talked about across the country over the last few years, prompting Tormod to host his second tour here in the UK (last one was in 2013) and sharing some of their ideas and visions."