31 December 2014

The Dark Knights

Arctic chillout

Purple Sandpipers are some of the toughest birds on the planet. Too often these birds go by unnoticed, and they are rarely on any ´top birds list´. In fact in Varanger we often make that mistake too. The striklingly beautiful King Eiders and Steller´s Eider grab our attention. It is about time we make a tribute to the toughest of birds. These guys are found in Varanger all year, and somehow they manage survive the arctic winter.

13 December 2014

Northern Norway Architecture Award 2014 to Biotope

"Nordnorsk arkitekturpris tildeles ´Fugleskjul i Varanger´, mottaker: Biotope"

Juryens begrunnelse:
"Nordnorsk arkitekturpris 2014 gis til et prosjekt som forholder seg til årstidsrytmene og kombinerer kunnskap og erfaring fra forskjellige fagfelt. På strategiske punkter, i forhold til globale migrasjonsmønster, skaper prosjektet en diskret infrastruktur for tilstedeværelse og observasjon. Prosjektet legger til rette for miljøbevisst turisme, stedsutvikling og forskning. Her kan besøkende komme nært innpå livsrytmen til de fugleartene som gjester kysten vår hvert eneste år."

24 November 2014

Eagle island Smøla

Getting a grip on nature destination development  

In 2013 a group of tourism businesses and the local municipality on island Smøla (west coast Norway) asked us to work with them on developing Smøla as a nature destination. Digging in to new tasks with such a holistic approach is a privilege, and without doubt one of the most desired projects for us to work with.

16 November 2014

Arctic architecture - new wind shelters in Kongsfjord & Båtsfjord

The northern part of the Varanger peninsula has some of the most amazing landscape in Eastern Finnmark. Two of our favourite places to go birding are the small towns, Berlevåg and Båtsfjord. Both are fishing harbours with less then 2000 inhabitants. In addition we have the village Kongsfjord and Veines with just a handful of people living there. In this weatherbeaten and wild landscape you can now find

26 October 2014

BIRDING ICELAND - Harlequin Ducks & more niceness along the Northeast Iceland birding trail

Harlequin Ducks in Laxa river, Northeast Iceland, october 2014

Northeast Iceland - nature destination development

Biotope recently visited Iceland, invited by the people behind the Northeast Iceland Birding Trail. Naturally we were quite excited about getting this request. Iceland is well known in the birding world as one of the best places in the world to expereience birds like the stunning Harlequin Duck and the Iconic Gyrfalcon. 

14 September 2014

Birding Svalbard, Arctic Norway

Svalbard is one of the northernmost civilized places in the world. It is famous for Polar Bears and amazing arctic wildlife. I recently got back from a very brief visit to Svalbards main town Longyear. This autumn I have been invited to give talks at several conferences. In our work as birders and architects we have

04 May 2014

Puffin fight club

At Hornøya bird cliff the Puffins have to fight for their right to party. As in all densely inhabited places there is a lot of drama. Hornøya bird cliff is no exception. From March to August this is home to 100 000 sea birds. Among the most famous of birds are the Puffins. Most people see Puffins as cute little birds that  quietly sit in the bird cliff. They do that too. But when these birds arrive the bird cliff in March they fight

17 April 2014

Hornøya bird cliff - site development scheme / mulighetsstudie

Hornøya is perhaps the finest nature attraction in Varanger. The birdlife of Hornøya bird cliff have become famous among birders and nature photographers around the globe. In Vardø locals have a long tradition of gathering eggs on Reinøya and Hornøya, however this has not been practiced in recent years. Now locals are also increasingly becoming aware of Hornøya Island's unique position as a nature attraction. Many companies in Vardo benefit from Hornøya today through nature based tourism. With facilitation like the new bird hide / wind shelter on Hornøya, this attraction has become a destination for the city's kindergartens and schools too. 

01 April 2014

Gullfest 2014 - Touring Varanger / Arctic style birding

Gullfest 2014 was a bit experimental: instead of having a base camp in Vardø like GF2012&13 we designed this years Gullfest to be a tour of Varanger. With our invited guests and contributors we toured Varanger from the Pasvik taiga in the south to Vardø, Vadsø, Vestre Jakobselv and Berlevåg and Båtsfjord in the north. What an amazing experience it was! We managed some spectacular birding, we had three exhibitions, and we gave talks at a pub, a hotel, a guest house, a cultural insititution and a school. Our aim was to inspire people in Varanger with stories from the birding world, and to do some top arctic birding while we where at it!

26 March 2014

Pacific Eider in Vardø - again!

Mega in Varanger: Gullfest 2014 strikes gold! 

The worlds northernmost bird festival, Gullfest have just ended. From the 19-24th of March we have had the pleasure of birding Varanger with a great group of new and old friends. A full blogpost on this years main birding event in the Arctic will come, but this is much more of a rush post: It has been more then a month since the first ever European (WP) record of Pacific Eider in Vardø

13 March 2014

Gullfest 2014 - the Arctic bird festival is on!

 The northernmost bird festival in the world is back again. We are very excited to launch the third Gullfest in Varanger. We are celebrating the amazing birdlife in Varanger / Arctic Norway and this year we are proud to present a group of very dedicated birders as keynote speakers and contributors! 

As you can see on the Gullfest 2014 poster we are arranging this years Gullfest as a grand tour around the Varanger Peninsula. Our aim with Gullfest from the first event in 2012 was to invite a few birder friends from around the world to join us in Varanger, and to share knowledge and enthusiasm for birding with people living in Varanger. Gullfest started in Vardø, and now we aim to take the bird festival on tour!

21 February 2014

Varanger strikes again - Pacific Eider in Vardø!

Exciting days at the Biotope office: For the first time ever in Europe an eider of the North American / Pacific subspecies Somateria molissima v-nigrum was found in Vardø. An absolutely amazing record of a subspecies that surely is very high on any birders wish list, including ours - for years! The bird was first observed from the Biotope office

09 February 2014

Golden birding in Båtsfjord - the King Eider hide

  Here we go again - The arctic sea ducks are back in Varanger, and Ørjan Hansens floating King Eider photo hide in Båtsfjord is already in place. It is carefully placed in the harbour where many of the eiders prefer to stay, close to the fish factory and the incoming fishing vessels. The February light is absolutely amazing, so this past Friday I simply had to take a trip to the northern part of the Varanger Peninsula

26 January 2014

Birding Japan - Hokkaido in winter

This is a trip report from the latest Biotope birding adventure: a three week winter (January 2014) visit to Japan. Our goal for this trip was to bird eastern Hokkaido properly. In 2011 we also visited Japan, on an amazingly inspirational trip that took us around much of the country: We spent about 4 weeks visiting many places in Japan from eastern to western Hokkaido, down through many places from north to central Japan and further over from Karuisawa to Kyoto west of central Japan, and even a ferry pelagic to the Izu islands. This time we wanted to explore Japans northeastern regions