Norway, HornØya Island

HornØya island is located just of Vardo in the North Eastern Norway. This is one of the largest bird colonies in Europe and my personal favourite nature spectacles that I have had the pleasure of seeing.

Brunnichs Guillemot (Uria lomvia) nest on this island along with Common Guillemot (Uria aalgae) , Razor Bill (Alca Torda) and Puffins (Fratercula Arcitca) and much more. The Conditions here were quite extreme and the weather would change very quickly and spectacularly.

Norway, Båtsfjord

Window Shot #2. Crossing the Finnish and Norwegian border. Norway on the left and Finland on the Right

The next leg of our journey ventured into the Norwegian municipality of Varanger. This is as close to the Arctic in mainland Europe as you can get. Many species here are truly Arctic specialities and is regarded as one of the most accessible parts to the polar region.

Window Shot #3 Tanamunningen

Window Shot #4. Arctic Tundra aka the road to Båtsfjord

Not only is the wildlife spectacular but the scenery is simply breathtaking. There is something about seeing the Arctic Tundra for the first time, a sense of hostility and sheer beauty at exactly the same time. The snow would soon teach these British adventurers a hard lesson…

Sometimes its best not to look for woodpeckers uphill…

As soon as our vehicle was dragged out, we continued. Båtsfjord is a place full of life even in these harsh winter times. Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus) Sparrows and Gulls. All the target Eider Duck species were present also including Stellers (Polysticta stelleri). An unexpected glimpse of Killer Whales (Orcinus Orca)had the hearts racing and we had only just arrived!

Killer Whale (Orcinus Orca) emerging from the water in the Fjord

Batsfjord Harbour floating hides. These hides offer a unique opportunity to get close to some of the rarest sea ducks in the world. An amazing experience, every 5 minutes a roving flock of mixed species of eiders would come within meters of us!

North Finland

Sunrise over the Taiga forest

My latest project ‘Borealis Winter’, focuses on the Birdlife of Northern Finland and the Varanger Penninsula during the colder months. This projects explores arctic specialities and their environment. Fellow Photographers on this trip include Brandon Kemp, Connor Coombes and Ewan-Heath Flynn. Here I will write about our adventure and some insight behind the project. 

Window shot #1. Early Mornings were the best chances of making the most of the daylight in this area of the world, even if the temerature was -20 degrees Celsius

Forest area behind the feeding station

Our first stop was Neljän Tuulen avoin yhtiö, this accommodation has a very reliable feeding station for the woodland species here. This place being the only easy food source for miles around meant there was many birds to see that were remarkably tame.

Siberian Tit (Poecile cinctsu)

Pine Grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator) many of these birds congregate here and bullied alot of the other birds trying to feed

Grosbeak in a tree, tilting its head to look up at the sky for predators

A Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) made a suprise apperance. More common in the south of Finland, this individual mixed with a flock of House Sparrows (Passer domesticus)

Willow Tit (Poecile montanus)

We heard the drumming of a Three Toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus) on the side of a road but playing its call to get its attention was impossible for it to respond to due to the acoustical absorption of the snow. Siberian Jays (Perisoreus infaustus) were seen around this station and many locations, a Lesser-Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos minor) made an appearance too, an amazing tiny bird. Red Squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) and Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) were also seen. A Hawk Owl (Surina ulula) was spotted in a distant tree on the side of the road near this location.

Lesser-Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos minor)

Mist would hang around the frozen marshes

The snow was incredibly deep in some places

Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)

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