Book Birding Across the Borders has come out..

birdwatching-1The book is in English (with my participation in the translation), and it covers the Varanger-Norway-Russia trans-border area.

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Community events along the Ter cost of the peninsula for Summer 2016

May 28 2016 – A concert in Varzuga in honour of 70-year anniversary of the Murmansk region.

June 11-12 2016 – “Pomor Old Times” festival in Umba to commemorate 550 years since the founding of the village.

June 25 2016 – Folk Choir of Varzuga.

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Just saw a white whale

Right in the Kandalaksha Bay, just east of the city. Two of them actually..

white-whaleDomesticated version of White Whales can be found ~130km south from Kandalaksha in the Polar Circle Dive Center:

Swimming season opened

Today I personally opened this summer’s swimming season, under but slight coersion from Alexandra. And yes, it is snow in the background. The air however was full of stoneflies (Plecoptera) and almost summer-warm.swimming-season River Kolvitsa, between Lake Kolvitsa and a village of the same name, south edge of the Kola Peninsula.

2016 Yacht race in Kandalaksha July 3

Location: Monastery Cape, east end of Kandalaksha. Organized by the Chupa Yacht Club. Last year’s event attracted a major crowd said to number 2500+. Details >>



Eider pairing in full swing, and first Oister-catchers noticed

Both seen yesterday by the port, in the bay right in front of the town. That was the first sighting of the oister-catcher this year while the eiders have been around for a couple of weeks at least, since first patches of clear water got exposed.


Murmansk region’s average income

Once in a while I get asked about the average wage or income, mostly by people toying with the idea of opening a business here. just reported that the average income in the Murmansk region for 2015 was 39 424 roubles, or just over $500 at the current exchange rate.

No official statistics for small towns separately but my guess is that for Kandalaksha it would be around 25000 roubles per month, or just under $400.

In small rural communities even $250/month could make an attractive wage.

In the Land of Monuments

During our Sunday walk around Kandalaksha we’ve stumbled upon two monuments previosuly not known to us. Both are on Zavodskoy pereulok (Factory Lane). One, that seems, judging from the Gagarin-style helmet, to echo with the Cosmos theme, is by the Auto Repair Factory:


Further enquiries showed that it was indeed build in 1964, at the hight of overboiling enthusiasm for space exploration.

The other is to Kalinin who I believe was the Prime-minister till ~1946, on the territory of still-struggling Experimental Mechanical Plant:


Local rumours say there were more monuments in Kandalaksha. One to a breast-feeding mother by the Niva movie theatre that was removed by the authorities for “indecency”, and another to Comrate Kirov on the street where we have questionable pleasure of living. In the latter case the monument simply fell apart.