Wednesday 30 July 2014

Svalbard again

The last week I have spent again guiding around Svalbard. This time a group of primarily Australian passengers went with me and my colleagues from Aurora Expeditions. Polar bears were again high on the agenda, and we went had several crowd pleasers out on the sea ice. We manage to reach the remote Kvitøya as the first ship this season. All of the 9 bears but one came close to our ship or zodiacs, and all passengers were of course very happy. It is all about finding the right kind of bears, not the total number of bear sightings.
We also found at least four Blue whales (blåhval) on this trip, actually almost as many as our Fin whales (finhval). But then again, we did search out the good areas for Blues and didn’t go so much after the fins this time. Blue whales have, if you know where to go, become fairly easy to find around the Svalbard waters. Apart from great bear and whale sightings, we had Arctic foxes (fjellrev) hunting geese, Walrus (hvalross) fights and both Ivory gull (ismåke) and Sabine’s gull (sabinemåke) made it to the trip list as well. The most remarkable sighting bird wise, even though not a new species for my Big year list, was three Great-northern divers (islom) in a possible breeding area at the east coast. A species that is very rare in Svalbard indeed. We also found a new spot with very accessible Puffins (lunde) for photography. Something I have been searching for in Svalbard for some time. Puffins are always very high on foreign tourists’ wish list when they come to Svalbard.

Next week, I will have another guiding tour for Aurora Expedition. Hopefully I manage to add something to my Big Year list this time – but it will have to be a rarity.

This bear stayed with us for an hour, and apparantly he liked being taken
pictures of. No, it is not a circus bear, just a crowd pleaser.

Even though being big and heavy, polar bears can be cery gentle as well. This
one was showing its body control by climbing along the ledges feeding on
 guillemot chicks. He even manged to take an adult!

The world's largest mammal ever lived on earth. We found four blue whales
on our voyage. 

Brünnich's guillemot (polarlomvi) throwim himself out from the bird cliff. 

This voyage, we found a very nice spot for puffin photography. A colony of
about one hundred birds, and many of them in only a fewww meters distance.
For sure the best place to photograph this species in Svalbard.

Until next time....


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