Arctic Finland & Norway Part 1

This all started back in the late 80’s when I picked up a book that featured the watercolors of Keith Brockie

I noticed Keith’s notes “Ekkeroy, Varanger Fjord” hmmmmm….how do I get there?

Throughout the next twenty years rumours of King & Steller’s Eiders photographed at close range occupied my daydreams at school and work.

In 2009, on my way home from the YK Delta, I picked up James McCallum’s excellent “Arctic Flight”

His paintings from Varanger were astounding!

Not long after this I was corresponding with James and he put me in touch with the incredible photographer and naturalist, Hugh Harrop.

Hugh had been to Varanger many times and was a wealth of information.
I suckered two birding/photo friends, Steve Rosenberg and Mark Kotanchek,  into Hugh’s week long trip, with the idea of us doing a second week on our own.

My first time ABOVE the arctic circle and photographing in March? What would it be like? Not bad, the Gulf Stream wraps all the way around NE Norway and makes for pretty mild temps. Of course, I was about ten years too late and the birds don’t come here in the numbers they used to. The fishing industry in these small harbor towns is on hard times and the resulting fish waste from the processing plants isn’t supercharging the shellfish population that was, in theory, attracting the ducks.

Norway is an incredibly expensive place to visit and I thank my wife, Erika, for allowing my stupid addictions……

We arrived at the lodge in Kaamanen, Finland late in the evening.  We were a bit frazzled from a day of traveling from London and weren’t really prepared for the incredible Aurora display we saw.  The resulting photos were less than perfect.

Neljän Tuulen Tupa is a very cool place – great people, good food. Reindeer stew and Salmon soup!



Siberian Tit

Willow Tit

My favorite…. Great Tit.

Eurasian Red Squirrels are very different from ours!!!!

The feeders at the lodge were very busy.

Pine Grosbeak

Siberian Jays are a bit more colorful than our Gray Jays!

On the road to Norway.

Traveling with Steve and Mark was great.  I worried about wearing them out on the waterbirds but we all had fun. The first week with Glen Overington and Harri Taavetti as leaders went great and we learned a lot from them for our second week.  Harri’s photography is fantastic!

Loading up on cheap beer before we cross the Tana River (the best Atlantic Salmon river in the world)
into Norway where everything is more expensive.

Travel to our first destination in Norway, Batsfjord, required a drive over a high treeless mountain pass.  That road is frequently closed during inclement weather. We had good weather and stopped often in this incredible landscape.

A sundog or parhelion for you sciency types.

The windswept beauty of the fjels.

After five hours on the road we arrived in Batsfjord.

Arctic Finland & Norway Part 2


~ by David Stimac on April 4, 2011.

2 Responses to “Arctic Finland & Norway Part 1”

  1. Dave’s best travelogue so far, though it seems
    like a bit of trouble jsut to throw snowballs
    at ducks! Where’s the narwhals?

  2. outstanding photos dave! blog looks great.

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