22 March 2015

Ivory Gull in Varanger - the great white

Ivory Gull. The name itself rings of exclusiveness. This is the great white of the Arctic. A dream bird rarely seen unless you travel to the high arctic.
This bird was found by visiting birders Simon Colenutt (check out his account fo the find!) and Trevor Codlin. Thanks to a quick alert on our Varanger bird news twitter feed @Finnmarkbirding (via Simon Rix) I headed out to Svartnes instantly. This is luckily just a five minute drive from the Biotope office. The big harbour of Svartnes hosts one fish / crab factory and the spill water from this attracts a lot of Gulls. Among them today: a beautiful Ivory Gull. I am sharing these photos I just took less then two hours ago. I am now on my way to Båtsfjord on the Hurtigruten (Coastal Express). This is the second time I have seen this bird in Vardø, but last time was a more distant, but still very nice flyby in February 2011. Well, no need to overdo the writing. I will simply let the photos do the talking. This is arctic birding at its finest. Lets hope it stays a while..

If you are in Varanger at the moment, it is worth noting that a new bird hide / wind shelter is in place at Hasselnes in Vardø. It has great views towrds Hornøya bird cliff, and large numbers of Gulls, King Eiders, Alcids and the occasional Gyrfalcon has been seen from the hide already. It was opened during the recent Gullfest 2015.

Perhaps a bit over the top with an Aurora photo now... But the polar nights are still dark enough for some amazing Northern Lights, so please don´t go indoors just because the daylight is gone! This photo is taken from Gullringnes in southeast Vardø island. 10 000+ King and Common Eiders are currently hanging out on the sea, well viewed from this point. 

Please feel free to share any birds news from Varanger / Arctic Norway on twitter @Finnmarkbirding, or email tormod@biotope.no or on phone to Tormod 0047 99 33 49 82
We will pass on news to birders visiting Varanger. Thank you.

Tormod A. / www.biotope.no