For this months post, and given it is Christmas, I thought I would take you on a small journey out of the UK, up through Lapland and into Arctic Norway. Back in the summer of 2010, I made arrangements to spend 10 days on theVaranger Pennisula at the the top of Norway which was to be my first overseas photography trip. Now I could right pages here on the visit but will just stick to the highlights. If you want to read the full account then please visit my blog and 'Inside the Circle' into the search bar.
There are two notable points about Varanger in June. Firstly it is still very cold and secondly being well inside the Arctic Circle has 24 hour light. The latter plays havoc with your body clock and you seem to completely lose track of time, especially when the birds seem to start their dawn chorus at midnight. I will never forget the song of a Willow Warbler as one was constantly singing outside my bedroom window as I battled to try and sleep in the perpetual light.
I flew into Finland and drove northwards. Driving through mile upon mile of pine forest becomes a little tedious after a while and I stopped en route to call in at a well known feeding station located around the back of a roadside motel and cafe. This immediately produced two new species for the camera in the shape of Pine Grosbeak and Arctic Redpoll.
Over the next week I spent my days travelling around various parts of this large pennisula seeing what birds I could find to photograph. It is a place that is beautiful in its bleakness. Here is a small selection of what I encountered.
The following four species were all found on the very small Vardo Island which is connected to the the land by a small bridge.
Red-necked Phalarope were a common bird. These tiny waders, although very confiding, are quite tricky to photograph as they constantly spin on the water surface when feeding. Here is a pair mating. An interesting feature of these birds is the female is more brightly coloured than the male.
So with that I will sign off for this year which just leaves one task remaining which is to Wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Bird filled 2013.