Thursday 26 August 2010

Trip Advice - Smøla Naturopplevelser!

Last weekend, I was invited to a quite recently established eco-tourism company in Norway. Smøla Naturopplevelser (or Smøla Nature adventures) are run by three young guys, and their base is on the west coast of Norway. The island Smøla is situated just south of Trondheim (2,5hrs) and the area actually holds the densest breeding population of eagles in Europe. Two of the nests here are located only 280 meters apart! Their main focus is obviously white-tailed eagles taking fish at sea. They don’t visit the actual nest sites, but on a 3 hour session we visited about 9 different eagle territories! With so many eagles, you are almost guaranteed a lot of dives even if some of the eagles should not be in a ”show off” mood that particular day. I went for one evening and one morning session, and many of the eagles behaved fantastically well by taking fish just meters from the boat. Unfortunately the weather was not great for photography on my visit, with wind and rain in the best hours of the day. Even though its windy, most of the localities visited are inshore and quite sheltered from splashing waves – something which is quite practical considering saltwater not beeing a friend of expensive camera gear.

Audun, guide and gründer is showing the eagle it might be worth hanging around

The eagle is not playing hard to get.....


..Happy eagle - happy photographer...

I was quite surprised about how well trained the eagles were when considering the recent starting point of this buisness. One eagle followed our boat before we threw the fish, and another even made the dive straight towards the boat – which is extremely rare and difficult to get eagles to do.

Despite white-tailed eagles beeing the main focus, there are also chance of spotting different sea mammals like orcas, pilot whales, harbour porpoises and of course harbour seals. Smøla has also arguably the densest population of otters in Europe.

During the eagle safari at Smøla, there is always a good chance of seeing whales and other sea mammals

whalewatching at its best! This curious harbour porpoise is making us wonder a bit who is watching whom?

The guys running the buisness provided excellent service, knew every sitting post to all the eagles visited, and in general the whole thing seemed very well organised both for photographers and equally important also for the birds. So if you want to take pictures of fishing white-tailed eagles, or just have an extraordinary nature experience in the best coastal landscape Norway has to offer – I would most certainly consider a trip with Smøla Naturopplevelser.

Have a nice trip!

Smøla Naturopplevelser having their safaris in spectacular landscapes!


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