A trip for all photography and nature lovers.
DURATION: 7 days
MINIMUM NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: 6 PAX
MAXIMUM NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: 7 PAX
DATES: 3-9 february/18-24 february/25 february-2 march/3-9 march/10-16 march
ACCOMMODATION: Hotel – Guesthouse
TRANSPORTATION: SKUA Nature van – Boat
MEALS: Restaurants – Packed lunch
DIFFICULTY: Easy, support from guides expert about the area
INFORMATION: SKUA headquarters: firstname.lastname@example.org –
+39 0141 918349
In February, the King Eider, one of the North Sea’s wonders, exhibit their colourful plumage over the icy, snow-covered waters. With it, the Steller’s Eider, the smallest of the Eider family, which is seriously threatened by a decline in its breeding range, primarily owing to climate change. These two unusual seabirds spend most of the winter in the Barents Sea, which stretches from northern Norway to Arctic Russia, but they begin their journey to the Siberian Peninsula in late March. Common Eiders and Long-tailed Ducks can be observed all year in the Varanger Peninsula, and they congregate with the two species listed above in February.
Additionally, the days lengthen in this month, restoring the regularity of the daylight hours. Snowstorms and the formation of ice on the North Sea coastlines are ideal conditions for photographing these seabirds, either from a floating photo hide or during a boat trip. On this unique excursion dedicated to seasonal Anseriformes, we will travel through the icy waters of the Barents Sea to photograph the month’s stars in a multitude of weather situations and angles. Close-ups of their nuanced plumage will be taken from floating photographic hides, while boat expeditions will allow us to observe big flocks up close as they feed and escape predators like Seals.
During our photographic adventure, we will be seeing Reindeer and White-tailed Eagles lurking in the snowy taiga and tundra. We’ll encounter birds like the Siberian Jay, Pine Grosbeak, and Northern Hawk Owl that winter in Finnish woodlands, as well as Rock Ptarmigans and Arctic Hares which dress in white to blend in with the heavy winter snow. All these activities will take place in an endlessly frozen landscape that turns bright green at night thanks to the stunning Northern Lights reflection.
We will travel in search of Eiders and Long-tailed Ducks, always accompanied by our guides, who are professionals in photography and ornithology. Don’t miss the chance to live this adventure with us in the wildest Norway!
Basic fee: €2,820
THE PRICE INCLUDES
- local transportation and excursions
- drivers and ornithologist with experience in wildlife observation
- accommodation for 5 days
- photo hide sessions
- equipment for excursions/Nordic activities
- entry tickets for sites/activities that require an entrance permit
- breakfast, lunch, dinner
THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE
- roundtrip airfare
- travel insurance
Our journey will begin in Ivalo, where the group will be picked up at their accommodation after breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Depending on the flights each participant has booked and whether you prefer to stay overnight in Ivalo, please contact the office at email@example.com to arrange a meeting spot where the guide will pick you up to begin the tour.
Once the entire group of photographers and ornithologists is in the van, we will drive into the snowy taiga, a land that will characterize the first part of our adventure beginning 250 km north of the Arctic Circle. Along the way, we will stop to admire and enjoy the geometries that ice and snow draw in the landscape. With a little luck, we will find the White-throated Dipper and make the first stop in Kaamanen.
Siberian Jays, Grey-headed Chickadees, Pine Grosbeaks, and Arctic Redpolls frequent the bird feeders installed by the local restaurant. Red squirrels flock to these feeders as well, allowing us to capture stunning images of these acrobats in both pose and action. We will have then an exclusive photo session in a new photographic hide at the restaurant’s base which enables high-resolution portrait photographs in Kaamanen’s winter woodland.
After lunch, we will continue our trip down the beautiful Tana River through a variety of scenic settings, stopping to photograph a Northern Hawk Owl couple that has been spotted throughout winter. We will reach Kongsfjord around sunset, where we will have dinner and spend the first three days of our journey.
From our accommodation, in Kongsfjord we drive to the nearby village of Berlevåg, the northernmost town on the Norwegian mainland. The drive there is one of the highlights of the trip: The road winds through three small fjords where snow and ice stalactites cover the jagged rocks and cliffs of the Barents Sea. The glacial valleys formed millions of years ago, are now home to White-tailed Eagles, Gyrfalcons, and herds of Reindeer.
Two floating photo hides at Berlevåg harbour will allow us to photograph spectacular species such as Steller’s Eider, King Eider, Common Eider, and Long-tailed Duck, as well as Grey Seals attempting to prey on birds in the harbour. We will also look for several gull species in this area, as individuals of the Glaucous Gull and Iceland Gull are common. To get the most out of photography, we will have a first picture session till noon and then a packed lunch at the hide. After lunch, we will go for a walk to the various docks to photograph seabirds from different angles.
There will be an opportunity to return to the photo hide and photograph the birds while the lights of the pier are reflected in the water, adding new colours to your pictures. In the evening we will return to Kongsfjord, where after dinner we will look for the Northern Lights near the snow-covered plateaus one of Norway’s most beautiful landscapes.
Before sunrise, we drive east on a scenic road where we have the opportunity to photograph herds of Reindeer, Moose and Rock Ptarmigans.
Once arrived in Båtsfjord, we will have another photo session from the pier platforms, this time focused on the elegant and vibrant King Eider, Common Eider, Steller’s Eider, and Long-tailed Duck. The colourful residences in the neighbourhood contribute hues to the harbour’s water, generating warm reflections that accentuate the seabirds’ white plumage.
We will have lunch in a nearby restaurant to warm up and recharge our batteries before starting a new photography adventure in the afternoon: we will search for the same species, but this time we will cruise around the Barents Sea shoreline. We will be able to capture seabirds in vast groups, in flight, and even up close, from every angle. On our drive back to Kongsfjord in the afternoon, we pass through the snowy mountains of northern Norway, which provide exceptional prospects for landscape photography. Once arrived, we can take a leisurely walk along the beach with our cameras in hand to capture small groups of Purple Sandpipers.
Early in the morning, we will drive down the north shore of Varangerfjord to the settlement of Vardø, which is located on an island connected to the mainland by an underwater tunnel.
Along the breathtaking scenic drive, we may spot herds of Reindeer, White-tailed Eagles, and, if we’re lucky, Rock Ptarmigans. Once we get to the village of Vardø we will go on a boat trip where we will be looking out for large groups of King Eiders, Common Eiders, Steller’s Eiders, and Long-tailed Ducks.
We will cruise along the coast of Hornøya Island after a packed lunch for an exclusive tour of an area where big colonies of King Eiders and Common Eiders gather. We will have fun getting close-ups and shots of these amazing birds in flight from multiple angles just over the sea. We may also see Common Shags fishing, as well as Grey Seals and Harbour Seals peeking out of the sea to examine us. As well as cetaceans like rorquals and porpoises if we’re lucky. In the afternoon, we will be heading to Vadsø to look for Common and Steller’s Eiders in the harbour.
During the excursion, we will photograph the Arctic Hare, which is quite common in this area and blends in with the icy tundra thanks to its white fur. After the photo shoot, we will make our way to a restaurant in Kaamanen for supper and the last night of our trip. Along the way, we will be on the lookout for species such as Reindeer and Moose, as well as the gorgeous route’s possibilities for landscape photography. We will spend the night searching for the Northern Lights in the vast Finnish woodlands.
We leave for Ivalo early in the morning to try to see the last herds of Reindeer in the Finnish taiga. We will arrive at the airport before midday, where we will say goodbye and look forward to our next adventure together!
King Eider, Common Eider, Steller’s Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Purple Sandpiper, Rock Ptarmigan, Mountain Hare, White-tailed Eagle, Northern Hawk Owl, Siberian Jay, Grey-headed Chickadee, Pine Grosbeak, Arctic Redpoll and Reindeer.
- Photo lenses: Lenses with a focal length of at least 400mm are recommended for wildlife photography. For landscape and Northern Lights photography, a short or a wide-angle lens is ideal.
- Clothing suitable for outdoor activities. Temperatures are below 0°C and can reach -20°C. It is very important to choose clothes that provide comfort and safety.
- Headlamp, ice crampons, winter barrier cream and/or moisturizer.
- Check the required documents for the ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19.
- Travel insurance is required.
- If you book flights independently, it is advisable to choose tickets that include a refund in case of cancellation or change of itinerary.