22 December 2015
Wallcreeper - a name that puts a dreamy face on every birder. It is after all one of the most iconic bird species in Europe. The non-birding reader of this blog should note that this is an alpine species that is often tricky to find, unless you know exactly where to look. It is a bird unlike any other species in Europe. Being northern birders we have an affinity for extreme species which seem capable of thriving in the harshest conditions.
03 December 2015
An introduction to of the world of birding and avitourism and its potential in Norway
© Biotope & Innovasjon Norge / 2015
This report was written and researched by Tormod Amundsen and Jonnie Fisk of Biotope. Biotope is the world´s first and only architecture office specialising in birding. We combine more then 25 years of experience as dedicated birders with the field of architecture. Biotope specialise in nature destination development, from designing bird hides to destination schemes to advising tourism businesses on how to operate and engage in the birding niché.
We would like to thank Innovation Norway for asking us to make this report. Our gratitude also goes to all the keen birders and nature enthusiasts who helped us with information and opinions. We hope this report will give the reader a better undestanding of a niché or culture that millions of people worldwide feel connected to, but perhaps is not so well known in a mainstream setting. Birding is on the rise and this will change. We hope this report is one helpfull step forward. Thanks for reading and engaging.
20 August 2015
The arctic summer in Varanger: The midnight sun seems to energize all living creatures and spectacular birding can be enjoyed 24/7. Displaying waders in their full breeding plumage, passerines singing and bird cliffs teeming with life is an experience of a lifetime. We hope the following blogpost provides you with both inspiration and information for your next arctic adventure.
21 July 2015
Iceland is known throughout the world as the land of fire and ice. Large parts are covered by glaciers while others steam of boiling water from the ground. There are few countries where nature has such a strong presence. Then there are the birds. Rich wetlands, rivers and coastal sites are filled with amazing birdlife. A dream destination. We recently visited Iceland, invited by the good people of the Northeast Iceland Birding Trail. Together with a group of nature based tourism businesses and local communities we aim to put northeast Iceland on the map, and to develop better infrastructure for visitors and local communities. In October last year we spent 2 weeks visiting people and seeing sites. Our recent 2 week July trip was a great follow up, looking into a few new places, analysing potential of previously visited sites and, as always, meeting people who are into making new things happen!
03 June 2015
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
19 May 2015
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
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
18 March 2015
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
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.
- 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 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
Merlin (adult female) at Snettisham RSPB reserve, Feb 2015
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.
3000 kilometers on the road in UK
23 January 2015
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."
22 January 2015
Artikkel fra magasinet Arkitektur N (nr8-2014) / Article from Norwegian Architecture magazine Arkitektur N (This article about Biotope is in Norwegian, but with an English summary at the end ).
Biotope er verdens første fuglekikkerarkitektkontor. De har skapt en egen nisje for sin virksomhet ved å koble kunnskaper som vanligvis ikke møtes. Tormod Amundsen forteller om arbeidet som fuglekikkerarkitekt i Varanger: