Hungry bears in berry-less woods

This summer was exceptionally cold. As a result, there are practically no berries in the woods. That leads to a lot of hungry bears roaming the forests and occasionally exploring garbage dumpsters in a desperate attempt to put on some fat before the winter sets in. Lots of bear excrements in the woods between Malinovoye, where our dacha is, and Luvenga. The locals who are in the habit of taking early morning walks say there are four of them in the five-kilometer long and narrow strip of trees between the seacoast and the road. As of recent, they have been containing a lot of rowanberries, which is not at all typical bear food.

A pile of bear crap with undigested rowanberries for your aesthetic enjoyment

A story from Chernaya Rechka (“Black River”) in Karelia reached me yesterday. A black bear occupied a cranberry field and refused to leave even when the local women shouted at it – not a typical behaviour for this beast. Now these women are said to go cranberry picking accompanied by men with shotguns.

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Lighthouse Foundation collecting funds for the publication of the book on the history of eider ducks and people

Lighthouse Foundation, a German organization that effectively promotes sustainable development of the coastal areas around the world, has listed the collection of funds for the printing of my mate Alexandra’s book on the relationship between Eider ducks and Man throughout history among its projects.

Here is the beginning of their page on Alexandra’s Eider book:

This is the world’s first pop­u­lar sci­ence pub­lic­a­tion ded­ic­ated to the world-wide his­tory of the re­la­tion of Man (Homo sapi­ens) and the Com­mon ei­der (So­ma­teria mol­lis­sima): from the ei­ders in the ex­cav­a­tions of an­cient hu­man set­tle­ments to the ei­ders in art; from myths and le­gends to the latest sci­entific re­search; from the ei­ders as hunt­ing trophies to them in the mu­seum col­lec­tions.

Read more at the Lighthouse Foundation site >>

Those wishing to make a contribution towards the printing of the book will find banking information to the right of the Eider page on the Lighthouse Foundation site.

Another fucus dish

Continue experimenting with the fucus seaweed. Tried chickpea patties with fucus yesterday. Liked them considerably. Just chop up marinated fucus, mix with chickpea flour, add water and throw them onto a pan. Off to collect more today..

White whales by the canal

Yesterday saw a group of four white whales, apparently hunting herring, by the canal in the west part of the city, swimming pretty close to fishermen’s boats..

An overview of Murmansk video

James Briggs has kindly called my attention to this video with an overview of Murmansk by Sergey Baklykov of Real Russia. Enjoy!

Hunter-gatherer days: mussels, mushrooms, and two buckets of fucus

Inspired by Alexandra’s stories from the Chupa conference on the biological resources of the White Sea and especially its algae we went out to the littoral to collect said resources that presently appear to be on their way to becoming fashionable in the sense that there is a lot of talk about them being underutilized (see an article on the subject by Olga Maximova, an algologist from Moscow). more >>