30 April 2012

Gullfest 2012 - Arctic birding adventures, the movies

Gullfest 2012 provided some exellent birding experiences. We travelled the taiga, tundra and arctic coast by dog sled, snowmobile. RIB, car and by foot in search for the most exclusive birds. The Gullfest program was tailored to see great birds, huge numbers of birds and birds that usually require local knowledge to find. Great company and great and varied birding made the first ever Gullfest a bird festival to remember!

Tengmalm´s Owl Aegolius funereus Vestre Jakobselv, Varanger. Photo by Vincent Van der Spek.

A section of the Hornøya bird cliff. Varangers densest inhabitet place.

Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis The issue of the eastern siberian (possible) subspecies P. n. vlasowae is absolutely worth a closer look. We saw hundreds of Snow buntings almost all with dark rump / back, but we had a very few individuals of the eastern type with very little black on the back / mantle (bird to the right, and even less dark on mantle in some). Not much info to be found on this complex, and more knowledge is higly wanted. So - nothing settled for now- but anyone with more resources on Snow Bunting subspecies is very welcome to share. Let us know...

Pine Grosbeak Pinicola enucleator (male / female) in Pasvik - the parrots of the northern taiga. 

The Northern / Arctic type of Fulmar - seen on the Gullfest2012 Blue Fulmar Pelagics . Photo by Jesús Menendez (more at: Demencia Ornitologica)

Gullfest Arctic birding adventures - the movies 
(huge thanks to Kevin By for recording + editing)

Hornøya bird cliff - a seabird spectacle, only 10 min from Vardø, and the Gullfest base camp, by boat.

The Blue Fulmar Pelagic - searching for the fulmars of the high north (more info on this can be found on Martin Garners Blue Fulmar blog post from Varanger 2010.

Snowmobile birding in Vestre Jakobselv

Great birding, great company

Taiga birding transport. Nils Van Duivendijk, Sharon Garner & Martin Garner + the Birkshusky dogs.

The spanish group on the Hornøya bird cliff boat, here in Vardø harbour - thanks guys for joining, and thanks Jesús for Fulmar photos.

Snowmobile birding in Vestre Jakobselv. A great day with Tengmalm´s Owl, Hawk Owl, Siberian Tit, Arctic Redpoll and more. 

Several of the birders getting a lifer - first time ever views of Tengmalm´s Owl. 

 Tengmalm´s Owl - a trip highlight for many...

We are getting lots positive feedback from Gullfest participants - very encouraging! Thanks all for kind words and constructive feedback, and thank you all very much for joining and making this a very memorable event! 

We are on for Gullfest 2013! 
Dates are set to be one week earlier: in Vardo 5-8th of April + taiga prologue + tundra epilogue. One week earlier means more King Eiders (in 1000s, not "just" 100s as in Gullfest2012) also better chances of aurora borealis. More info later - stay tuned.

Tormod A. / Biotope