By Tormod Amundsen
At the Biotope office we have just bought a small boat, and yesterday was the first chance to take it to sea. A 13 foot boat is admittedly not a boat you would take out for a pelagic in the icy Barents Sea. The idea is to rebuild the boat into a floating photo hide. We have some very cool opportunities we would like to explore. However, yesterday we could see loads of Fulmars circling fishing vessels quite close to land just south of Vardø island. Of course I could not let this opportunity pass: I packed my camera gear and bins, put on layers and layers of clothes and headed out in the snowy and windy Barents Sea. Already less then 2 kilometers from land the curious Fulmars started circling my boat. In April in Varanger most Fulmars are of the arctic dark blueish type. Truly stunning birds!
Getting the photos was however not so easy. The smallish but still choppy waves made it difficult to photograph. A couple of hours of standing up in the boat, photographing while trying to keep my balance proved to be a major work out. But persistence pays off. The below photos show some of these beautiful Fulmars. It was also great to see the plumage variety. The darkest type birds are just amazing. While the paler birds with their stylish uniform plumage should perhaps be named Silver Fulmars?! Another great birding experience only minutes from the office. I figured these images is worth sharing here on Birding Frontiers. Yesterdays little pelagic reminded me of one of the first trips I led in Varanger, and it is where I first met Martin too. Check out Martins Blue Fulmar Pelagic story from the May 2011 Varanger trip, or read the full trip report which was the first post on the Biotope site.
Best wishes from Arctic Norway
Tormod Amundsen / www.biotope.no