New colony of northern gannet in Murmansk region

Our friends Murmanbirds report:


July 31, 2015 with the support of the World Wildlife Fund ended the first part of the field work in the territory of the Regional Natural Park “Rybachi i Sredny Peninsula”, aimed at identifying potentially suitable locations for organizing tours for lovers of ornithology. As a result of the first results lead to the conclusion that the area of ​​the park is one of the most interesting locations for birding in the Murmansk region. Among the bird species encountered – Rough-legged Buzzard, White-tailed Eagle, bird colony on the Cape Sharapov. A key finding was the previously unknown colony of northern gannets on isl. Big Anikiev, there are about 500-700 birds. It is one the largest known colonies of gannets in the Murmansk region.


More photos here>>

Permit to visit Sredny and Rybachy Peninsula for Russian nationals

..with contact details of FSB in Murmansk for foreigners: [June 2016: the form is no longer there and may not be required. Talk to me if heading there and I’ll give a call to someone there to check on the current situation.]. Applied on my own and Alexandra’s behalf and was given the permit right away. Off to Rybachi in a few days.


A remarkable set of photos from a recent trip to the Rybachy peninsula

Unfortunately, Rybachy is one of the areas where foreign travellers are required to have a permit that takes two months to obtain (read more about the permit business here, and talk to me if you need help).

But here is a remarkable set of very recent (summer 2015) photos from the place:


WW2 metal


Rock at Cape Nemetsky – the most northern tip of Rybachy.


What’s left of WW2 fortifications

More – much more – at



Being arrested for “no foreigner” zone tresspassing is a realistic possibility

handcuffsToday I got a call from the local court in Kandalaksha asking me to translate at a hearing dedicated to a foreign traveller caught in a no-foreigners zone.

So I thought I’d remind would-be travellers that things like arrest and other ugly consequences are possible and do happen. Unfortunately, the court’s request for a translator was cancelled so I can’t tell you details of the story. I will however share another episode, personally known to me, when an elderly couple was held and hassled for four hours for the same “offence” before being released, this time with no consequences.

Need to travel to Umba or Sredny or Rybachy? Talk to me, I’ll try to assist you in getting the permit.

Visitng off-limit to foreigners and “close-to-border” areas

sredny-n-rybachy-2kildinPresently I’ve been studying rather intensely the situation with entry to restricted area for foreign travellers, namely to the Rybachy Peninsula and the island of Kil’din. As expected, encountering a bureaucratic mess. Not clear at the moment as to who is responsible for permits: FSB (a heir to KGB), or Border Patrol, or Federal Migration Services. The situation is further complicated by a very recent change of areas’ status into that of “protected territories”, which may put nature protection people in charge.

If interested in visiting these places watch for news here, under Attention foreign travellers. Updates on the subject should appear there very soon.

If per chance you know someone who recently travelled there, I’d love to speak with them.

Sredny and Rybachy Peninsula Nature Reserve

sredny-n-rybachyIt is in near plans, with “access for organized group tourists only”. Private travellers watch out as you may be kept out.. Lots of complaints floating around to the effect that the borders of the proposed reserve have been drawn in a manner that does not protect anything of value. In short, if planning a trip there don’t assume anything other than that a little local scandal is brewing.

rybachy-peninsulaPS. has recently published a series of photos of Rybachy that I recommend.


Barents and White Sea in 10 days

m2Our friend, the doctor of intensive care, charmnig Tatiana, and her company traveled along the route St. Petersburg – Titovka – Highlands Musta – Tunturi – Middle Peninsula – Murmansk – Teriberka – Kandalaksha – Umba – Kashkarantsy – Cape Ship – Nilmoguba – Petersburg in 10 days.

Want to do it too? We will help you choose the route according to your taste, supply a car with a driver and a translator.

See photos from Tatiana and Co.’s trip.. more >>