07 February 2016

Steller´s Eiders & snow caves - living the Arctic life

Incoming Steller´s Eiders in Kiberg harbour. Photographed from water level, dressed in a drysuit, swimming in the harbour. The Steller´s Eider photos and the video was shot, yesterday, Saturday the 6th of February. The weather was just too nice not to go for a swim in the harbour. 

Kiberg harbour in outer Varanger Fjord is one of the best places in the world to get close to this iconic arctic seaduck. We are currently working on a Steller´s Eider photo hide so some research needs to be done. We like everything about our jobs, but this kind of fieldwork is on top of the ´love it´ list. So without further ado: here are a few Steller´s Eider photos and a 2 minute video of the experience. We hope you enjoy (click on any image for full screen view, for desktop)

A day in Kiberg, swimming with Steller´s Eiders.

Steller´s Eider, male.

Steller´s Eider. Male.

Incoming Steller´s Eider

Steller´s Eider, close up, water level.

Getting comfortable with snow caves and wind shelters

Winter in Varanger can be a chilling experience. In Vardø we typically get a couple of weeks with 15-20 freezing celcius. Then add everything from a gentle breeze to full gale force winds, and you have yourselves a proper arctic winter. How to handle it? Get out and enjoy it! 

Connecting people and nature is our aim as architects. When we are not in the office we enjoy being outdoors. Biotope started as a small family business of myself, Elin and our daughter Lila (today we are a 5 man office). We still take every opportunity to explore Varanger, or other destinations. We enjoy birding and being outdoors. It fuels our passion for making more pro nature things happen! This January myself and junior-partner at Biotope, Lila, enjoyed some arctic style outdoor living. Check out our 2 minute movie below:

Snow cave living

Arctic architecture

Vardø with a proper winter frost bite is absolutely stunning. Everything goes white. The walls of every building looks like they are covered in white sprayed on concrete. Below are a couple of photos of the Hasselnes bird hide / wind shelter. The hide sits at the very exposed north point, Hasselnes, in Vardø. Hornøya is seen in the distance in the below photo. In January Arctic seaducks from Siberia arrive our shores, and Hasselnes is one of the places they are first recorded from every year. Throughout the whole winter the waters around Hornøya always seem to have good numbers of King Eiders. This hide was opened last March, just in time for the annual bird festival Gullfest.

Hasselnes bird hide / wind shelter. Hornøya in the distance.

Hasselnes bird hide / wind shelter with a frost bite.

The Hasselnes bird hide / wind shelter by late evening. Vardø town in the background. 

This year we aim to get more serious with video. Or perhaps less serious. Meaning: a few fast-to-make productions will arrive the interwebs regularily. We hope you will enjoy our weekly (that the ambition, at least!) video blogs, or vlogs. Some of them will eventually find their way to this blog (like above), but  follow us on www.facebook.com/biotope.no for box fresh video updates. We store them on Youtube too (but not much interaction is happening there. Sorry. Can´t be everywhere. Not enough time). Say hi on Twitter @BiotopeOffice...

Thanks for tuning in!

Tormod A / Biotope