Svalbard #2 2011
09:28 , August 24, 2011
Posted in: Blog, Trip Reports

Svalbard #2 2011

Here’s the second trip report (9–19/8 2011) of the two photo expeditions to Svalbard this summer.

 

Day 1 – 09.08.2011 At 16:00 we were ready for departure and this time we sailed on board the M/S Stockholm. The 12 participants included four photographers from Spain, two from Austria and six from Norway. We sailed out via Isfjorden and our first stop was at Alkehornet. We observed a few Brünnich’s Guillemot chicks jumping from the bird cliffs, but not in large numbers. One chick was eaten directly by a Glaucous gull, but the rest of the chicks were safe. After Alkehornet we headed straight north.

 

Arctic Fox (alopex lagopus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#1 Resting arctic fox. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/320 sec, f/6,3 and ISO 1250.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Glaucous Gull (larus hyperboreus) eating a gulliemot chick (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#2 Glaucous Gull (larus hyperboreus) eating a gulliemot chick. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/1000 sec, f/4,5 and ISO 2500.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

 

Day 2 – 10.08.2011 This was a transport leg, and a bit slower than expected because of strong headwinds. We approached Nordaustlandet in the evening.

 

 

Day 3 – 11.08.2011 After breakfast we went ashore at Lågøya to search for the Sabine’s gull. In about an hour we found six Sabine’s gulls feeding close to the shore. Mariann was the first one to see a Polar bear on this trip, but it was quite far away.

Just north of Lågøya we found an accommodating polar bear on the drift ice. This bear was curious and approached our ship. Very funny, and the wide angles were the best choice for most of the situations. We found two more bears in the evening, so we had already seen four polar bears on this expedition.

 

Sabine's Gull (Xema sabini) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#3 Sabine’s gull. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/1250 sec, f/7,1 and ISO 1250.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#4 Planet Polar bear. Nikon D3S with 14–24/2.8, 1/400 sec, f/11 and ISO 1000.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#5 Polar bear with the Nelson island in the background. Nikon D3S with 14–24/2.8, 1/800 sec, f/8,0 and ISO 1000.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

 

Day 4 – 12.08.2011 After yesterday’s highlights, we started our journey eastward into the drift ice. According to the ice maps this should be virtually impossible, but with captain Per and first officer Peter we made our way through, closely followed by Kittiwakes, Ivory gulls and Glaucous gulls. Skuas were also around us, and we saw all four different species during the day. We also saw two polar bears on the pack ice, surrounded by the beautiful Arctic landscape.

After some hours in the ice we finally arrived at the eastern part of Nordaustlandet. I had doubts about reaching here, so a big thanks to the crew!

Near Raschøya we lowered our two zodiacs and had some great hours in the water. The highlight was a polar bear who came close to us on a small island (polar bear count – seven!). There were also hundreds of Arctic terns in the area, preparing for their long flight to Antarctica. We were back to the ship just before 04:00.

 

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#6 Polar bear. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/1000 sec, f/7,1 and ISO 1250.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#7 Black-legged kittiwake. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/50 sec, f/8,0 and ISO 320.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#8 Black-legged kittiwake. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/60 sec, f/22 and ISO 320.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#9 Close encounter with a cute female bear. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/1250 sec, f/7,1 and ISO 1250. Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#10 Polar bear in backlite. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/4000 sec, f9,0 and ISO 1250. Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Day 5 – 13.08.2011 After breakfast we sailed to Storøya into the drift ice again. We found a new polar bear, but not a very cooperative one. Closer to shore, there were about a hundred walruses in the water. The walrus groups consists largely of young animals which can only be found on the east side of the archipelago. Two or three of the walrus groups were curious and came close to our drifting zodiacs. At Storøya we also saw five polar bears, but they were all too far away.

After seeing the walruses we sailed into the ice looking for more polar bears. After dinner, we found two new polar bears at virtually the same spot so we turned off the engines and drifted with the pack ice. This was a good decision, as one of the bears came very close. The bear stood up on two feet against the ship, and this was one of my best bear encounters ever! With today’s eight bears, we had now seen 15 bears in total.

 

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#11 Polar bear (count – 8) in the drift ice. Nikon D3S with 24–70/2.8, 1/800 sec, f/6,3 and ISO 400.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Walrus (odobenus rosmarus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#12 Walrus in backlite. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/4000 sec, f/6,3 and ISO 1250.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#13 Polar bear in midnight sun. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/1600 sec, f/7,1 and ISO 1600.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#14 Polar bear. Nikon D3S with 300/2.8, 1/500 sec, f/8,0 and ISO 1000.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#15 What’s up? Nikon D3S with 14–24/2.8, 1/1600 sec, f/8,0 and ISO 1000.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

FIGHTER - Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#16 Don’t mess with me! Nikon D3S with 14–24/2.8, 1/1600 sec, f/7,1 and ISO 1000.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#17 Landscape Polar bear. Nikon D3S with 14–24/2.8, 1/1600 sec, f/7,1 and ISO 1000.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Day 6 – 14.08.2011 After breakfast we started the engine and searched more for polar bears and walrus in the ice. There were hundreds of walruses on pack ice, but most of them were very shy. Because of some ocean fog, it was difficult to locate the bears, but in the afternoon it cleared up and we had perfect conditions for photography again. Just as we were on our way out of the pack ice, we spotted a new polar bear, and after an hour we got some really great photos. We also saw a swimming polar bear (total count – 17) the same evening.

 

Walrus (odobenus rosmarus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#18 Walrus cub. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/640 sec, f/6,3 and ISO 1600.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#19 Polar bear (count – 16) in backlite. Nikon D3X with 24–70/2.8, 1/2000 sec, f/6,3 and ISO 320.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#20 Polar bear. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/1600 sec, f/9,0 and ISO 800.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#21 Polar bear sunset. Nikon D3S with 14–24/.8, 1/1000 sec, f/9,0 and ISO 800.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Day 7 – 15.08.2011 At 2:45 we had the next polar bear alarm, but this bear was not very cooperative and slid into the water. So we went back to our cabins to get some sleep. At 3:28 there was a new alarm. This polar bear (# 19) was more relaxed, and he also had a fresh seal kill. 15+ Ivory gulls were around the polar bear, and this was truly a very rare experience.

After this bear encounter near the Austfonna glacier, fog descended and we finally got some much-needed sleep. Around lunch time we had a short sightseeing trip near the Bråsvellbreen glacier, but unfortunately, in thick fog. So we sailed to the island of Wahlbergøya where we combined a picnic with walrus photography.

 

Wave in midnight sun, Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#22 Wave in midnight sun. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0, 1/2500 sec, f/8,0 and ISO 800.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#23 Polar bear on kill. Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#24 Polar bear dinner. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR + 1,4X teleconverter, 1/1600 sec, f/8,0 and ISO 1250.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Walrus (odobenus rosmarus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#25 Walrus in heavy waves. Nikon D3S with 70–200/2.8 (at 105mm), 1/30 sec, f/16 and ISO 320.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Walrus (odobenus rosmarus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#26 Walrus shower. Nikon D3S with 70–200/2.8 (at 112mm), 1/30 sec, f/14 and ISO 320.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Day 8 – 16.08.2011 After breakfast we were at Alkefjellet, where there were still thousands of Brünnich’s Guillemot in the bird cliffs. The fog gave us some dramatic light conditions with the birds against the darker rock.

We continue north through Hinlopen and away from the haze. In this area we found four Blue whales, and got some amazing backlit shots of one of the whales with the mountains in the background.

After the whales we sailed to Liefdefjorden. The inner fjord was packed with glacier ice, but we still decided to use our zodiacs. This was a great decision as we found some really nice Ivory gulls and other seagulls close to the glacier. This was a great night with nice weather and a midnight sun.

 

Brunnich's Guillemot (Uria lomvia) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#27 Alkefjellet bird cliff. Nikon D3S with 70–200/2.8, 1800 sec, f/9,0 and ISO 1600.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#28 Blue whale. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR + 1,4X Teleconverter, 1/1250 sec, f/11 and ISO 2500.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#29 Blue whale tail. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR + 1,4X teleconverter, 1/1000 sec, f/11 and ISO 1600.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Reflections in Liefdefjorden. Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus.

 

Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#30 Northern fulmar. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/60 sec, f/10 and ISO 200.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#31 Ivory gull. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/1250 sec, f/6,3 and ISO 1600.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#32 Ivory gull in the ice. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/3200 sec, f/7,1 and ISO 1600.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#33 Northern fulmar in midnight sun. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/5000 sec, f/6,3 and ISO 640.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Day 9 – 17.08.2011 At lunch we wake up to another great day, and it was tempting to relax in the sun on deck. We observed polar bear #20 and #21 during the day, and at midnight we entered the great Lilliehööksfjorden. This glacier was also calfing a lot so it was dense with drifting glacier ice in the bay. We photographed ice, landscape, bearded seals, Northern fulmars and other birds, before we came back to the ship just after 04:00. Hundreds of Northern fulmars and 2–3 Ivory gulls were flying around our ship. We photographed them in beautiful light.

 

Iceberg in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#34 Ice berg. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/2500 sec, f/7,1 and ISO 1000.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#35 Ivory gull in the ice at 03:47. Nikon D3S with 600/4.0 VR, 1/1000 sec, f/8,0 and ISO 640.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) in Svalbard (Ole Jørgen Liodden)
#36 Northern fulmar. Nikon D3S with 300/2.8, 1/40 sec, f/13 and ISO 100.  Copyright © Ole Jørgen Liodden / Naturfokus. CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO VIEW A LARGER VERSION, BUY A PRINT OR DOWNLOAD THE IMAGE.

 

Day 10 – 18.08.2011 On our way south to Longyearbyen we had a short break at Daudmannsodden. At midnight we arrived at Longyeaerbyen, but it wasn’t easy to sleep after all these great experiences and photo opportunities. This was an incredible trip and everybody was happy at the end of this photo expedition.

 

Which species did we see during the trip?

Here is an overview of what species of birds and animals we observed during our 10-day expedition:

Mammals: Polar bear (21), Blue whale (4), Walrus (500+), Harp seal (25+), Bearded seal (5+), Ringed seal (10+), Svalbard reindeer (10+), Arctic fox (5).

Birds: Sabine’s gull (6), Ivory gull (50+), Glaucous gull (250+), Black-legged kittiwake (1000+), Northern fulmar (1000+), Pomarine skua (5+), Great skua (5+), Parasitic skua (10+), Long-tailed skua (3), Brunnich’s guillemot (10.000+), Atlantic puffin (30+), Black guillemot (100+), Little auk (100+), Red-throated loon (5+), Common eider (25+), Mallard (10+), Arctic tern (500+), Red Phalarope (25+), Purple sandpiper (10+), Snøspurv (5+).

 

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  1. Patrik says:

    Fantastiskt fina bilder.

    mvh
    /Patrik

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