NATURE'S NOTES

- monthly bulletins of seasonal interest 

- commissioned articles undertaken 

Wonderful Iceland....

September saw us back in our spiritual homeland. Although this was a principally a social visit to see our friends, we did have an opportunity to look at potential land acquisition. The 250ha farm was located on the south coast and the land would ideally lend itself to being rewetted for conservation management: hmmm that’s an exciting thought! Watch this space for any future developments. Although the weather was mixed; we had some sunny days that permitted trips out into the countryside and an opportunity to photograph some awesome waterfalls. The beauty of nature was further enhanced by spectacular displays in the night skies. After the sun had slipped over the horizon the stage was set f

Disembarkation Day......

Day 17 & 18 Longyearbyen & Oslo Disembarkation morning is normally a sad affair, leaving your temporary home packed with wonderful experiences but on this occasion, it was a pleasure to be leaving. Although MV “Expedition” was very comfortable and the ship’s hotel crew were exemplary, the elements that should have given a wonderful experience, the expedition crew and the itinerary were frustratingly well below what I would normally expect on a ‘wildlife expedition cruise’. Sadly, we missed out on so many of Svalbard’s renowned features and wildlife; the floristically rich tundra and plants, the historical artifacts and of course the birds. No west coast visits, no Moffin or Lagøya islands, o

The day I lost my cool in the Arctic.......

Day 15 & 16 Alkhornet & Skansbukta Overnight we sailed back north and entered Isafjorden, our luck with the weather continued. Following breakfast the zodiacs were lowered onto calm seas for a visit to Alkhornet and the promised Arctic fox dens. A small scramble off the beach took us up to the plateau, where again we stanchly followed the dreaded ‘flagged trail’ that lead to where the fox den was located. We were among one of the latter groups to arrive at the designated point from where we were able to watch the foxes. We settled down and patiently began to wait our turn, our eyes fixed on an area some 80 mts distant for any signs of activity. In the distance a long string of red-coated

Close encounters........

Day 13 & 14 Gnållodden & Brepollen The programme for this morning was fairly unimaginative and included a landing to visit another kittiwake colony, where again you needed to cup your hands around your ears to listen to their distant calls, and yet one more hunter’s hut, yawn!!! Once on land, the routine of strictly having to follow a ‘flagged’ trail was an increasing annoyance. While some scaled the slopes towards the kittiwake colony, I attempted to photograph an Arctic skua at rest on the tundra. Joined by two other, equally frustrated, photographers and with only a limited area to walk, we wandered back to the landing point to wait. Not long after, our boredom (can you image being bor

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