Sunday, December 11, 2016

Little birdies at the bird feeder in the yard

We've been having a mild winter this year so far ... temperatures has yet to dip below 5 deg C and it's mostly rainy and gloomy cloudy days. It's the sort of days you feel like curling up in the blanket and just stay in bed all day and snack all night.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Winter dark night is time for aurora

The best time about winter is the cold crisp days and aurora. By the time October passes, Milkyway clouds starts to fade away and the nights are filled with bright stars, planet and aurora. That is if the clouds and rain don't come visiting ... most times they always do.

At 58 deg latitude Stavanger isnt exactly the aurora capital but sometimes the CME is so strong you can see aurora all the way to Germany. Our only blight if cloudy sky and rain being on the Western coast, which is rather common. When clear sky coincide with a particularly strong CME  ... the chasers go chasing.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

"Super" moon Saturday

The "super" moon hype ... caught up in the hype perpetrated on social media  ... it's the same old moon, apogee or perigee makes small difference in the size. It almost always appear bigger just as it rises above the horizon. Bigger still with a 600mm or on a telescope   ... wink wink!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Autumn MilkyWay in Rogaland

The hunt for Milkyway and Aurora starts the minute the sky gets dark here in Rogaland. The famed northern midnight sun normally fades away slowly by mid July and signals the start of normal day and night times in the daily lives of people here: summer holidays are over, everyone is back home poised for start of school and work again.

When hunters finally take their one or two weeklong break to hunt for small birds and mammals in the mountains, Milkyway and Aurora hunters follow suit in the dark hunting for the wonders of the night sky when the night is cool, crisp and clear.

Armed with a couple of full frame camera bodies and fast lenses, the only blocker for this type of photography is dearth of good weather days. Here on the west coast good weather can be a hit and miss atthis time of year, mostly miss for the most parts with clouds and rain by the time October ends.

This year I took a firm resolve to go out whenever the weather is clear. With the full moon in the way, the window for good night photography period becomes very slim indeed.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Lauwersmeer Spring Migration Birding

First thing one must do in Spring is welcome back the migrants from their winter sojourn south, their warm winter playground. What better place to welcome than Lauwersmeer practically next to the Dutch Waddensea. This is the spot where all of them gather and stage their push further North to their breeding ground. Some species havr also taken to breeding here in the Lauwersmeer itself.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Summer 2016 has passed : Solheim

Well, another season has past and the year has again come to full circle. Kids finished school by early June, sunny and warm days of the Norwegian summer kicked off almost immediately.

We opened up the almost warm period of the year with a stay at the cabin near Solheim, on the other side of Fidgeland which has slowly become the family's staple get away from home cabin breaks.  The ice was already almost 80% melted away except for some stubborn patches on the higher ground protected from the sun. The cabin itself was cozier than home, but the surrounding was slightly open for our tastes.

Not being familiar with the trekking route in the area as well as due to the still nippy weather, we did not venture to far away from the cozy warmth of the cabin. The fact that the cabin had two 60in flat screen plasma tvs made it all that difficult to get everyone peeled of the screen.

We took a short drive to an old historic route towards Tonstad and trekked for a short distance crunching ice afoot all the way to perhaps 20% of the total length of the trail. We also popped by Fidgeland to enjoy the view of Fidgeland  from another mountain on the opposite site.

Though it wasn't quite the rousing sending off of Spring and excited welcome to the summer, the change of yet another season clearly revealed in much smaller scale the subtle nuances of our changing lives  ... signs of yet another season's passed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Oldervik again, this time for Easter holidays

This week long Easter holiday we decided to go back to Oldervik, a small fishing village we spent our holidays at on two occasions before, it's approximately 40km north of Tromso. A quiet spot where the closest shop is also an hour away in Kroken, a suburb an hour away from the city across a fjord.

Our cabin, the River House sits on a small bluff overlooking a small river Oldervikelva and an has an amazing direct from the kitchen window view of the massive Lyngen Alps.

We flew via Oslo with Norwegian Air on a 0900hrs flight out of Stavanger Sola Airport  and touched down at Tromso Langness Airport at 1700hrs, we purposefully allowed ourselves a generous lay over at Oslo Gardemoen. Two hours later we were in Oldervik via a rented car. And the place is just as we left it last, just the way we like it.

The view on route to Langness, snowcapped mountains, plenty of total isolation for the 5.0 million Norwegian population.

The River House (in yellow), and our view from the front door towards Lyngen Alps across the fjord.

Part of the draw of the place is it's sheer location north of the 69 deg parallel, that's special on it's own virtue. A cabin close to the village without close neighbours but easily accessible is also a plus point. Though we don't use the bus service, regular village bus service ply the route right in front of our house to the center of the village. There's plenty on offer in terms of great views, nice walks in the woods, and a general quietness of a place away from the center of human activities. 

And then of course we have the northernlights given the right combination of factors, a CME and clear skies.  Our first visit here was end of May mostly for birds and general exploring. The second trip was for northernlights during the end of February (which turned out a balmy 5 deg C that year). We missed 2015 which was supposed to be a trip during autumn break. Now we are back for snow (the kids) and northernlights if it happens to turn up.

The much anticipated northernlights for visitors to Tromso, likely one of the top reasons visitors travel here. These pictures were captured in the backyard of River House.

Trips like this is great for getting out of the day to day routine of normal life. A special place like this always enhances the experience even more. We just love this village.