The guest capacity of our apartment was tested last night nine teenagers returning to St. Petersburg from the Marine Biology expedition to the Kandalaksha Nature Reserve base in Luvenga. Girls slept on fold-out couches, two per each, and boys on the floor. Arrived at 9pm, left for St. Petersburg at 8am, with no complaints about discomfort from either guests or us the hosts.

You too are welcomed to accommodate yourself here at 1000 roubles ($15 at the current exchange rate) per person per night, which I believe is the lowest rate in town. Normal guest capacity is 2 persons though. More about accommodation in our Kandalaksha apartment >>

Nature reserve film festival Jan. 8-10

To be held at the Niva Cultural Center/Movie Theatre. A film, a discussion, and associated activities to start at 1pm daily.

The films are from the Pasvik and Russian Arctic National Park, and of course the Kandalaksha Nature Reserve.

Translation into English is available very inexpensively or even free but a request needs to be made ahead of time. Contact more >>

A 2016-2017 calendar from the Kola Ecological Center

kola-eco-center-1Our friends from the Kola Ecological Center published, with the support of Friends of the Earth Norway, and offer to the public a calendar for years 2016-2017 with neat photos, in return to a recommended donation of 250 roubles.

Here are some photos from the calendar:kola-eco-center-2

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A baby crow landed on my head

crow-on-headThat’s what happened when I attempted feeding baby crowns that live at the nature reserve cottage in Luvenga. I hearby officially classify it as the “misfortune of the day”. Their feet are hard with sharp claws!

P.S. from Alexandra. Not everything is so terrible.


Baby crow is cute and clever creature. Pasha is too inclined to to demonize the crows more >>

In the Kandalaksha Nature Reserve

In June Nature Reserve’s scientists count all birds that nest on the islands. This is long and hard work. The Nature Reserve includes over 500 islands, some of them with over 100 nests of sea birds! Each island needs to be thoroughly inspected, with each nest found, each egg measured and its developmenet assessed, and rings put on all birds, young or mature, that can be caught. Although hard, this is very happy work. So many interesting and beautiful things can be seen in these June days. I’m happy to be participating in this work on Kandalaksha Nature Reserve’s islands for my 35th year now. Here are some photo shots to give an idea how it is to work on these islands:


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Bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus, “sea hare”)

This fellow was noticed by Alexandra while she was doing her customary inspection of the Kandalaksha Nature Reserve islands measuring Common Eider eggs a couple of days ago.

This is a friendly unhurried curious animal that often emerges from the sea to observe boats, and will hang around for a while if you sing to it. Lots of them in the sea along the eco-trail just east of Kandalaksha but they rarely come ashore around humans.

Rurik Chemyakin, At 70 degrees North

chemyakinSee part of the English version >>

This book is a rarity among Russian zoological literature. More often than not similar publications have either lots of photos and too little text, or vice versa. Here the text to photos ratio is well-balanced, with each one of several hundred photos supplied with extended comments. It is obvious that the author wants to say a lot about the heroes of his photography. This is not surprising given that many of then have been, for a long time, subjects to his scientific research and observations.

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Bird watching around (and right in) Kandalaksha

Our ornitology friends are still at work developing the birding idea. Now they are busy putting together tours for birdwatchers, checking out the best observation points, mostly within protected territories and natural monuments of the Kola Peninsula. As they progress we’ll report on promising places to watch birds and on species you are likely to meet there.

The first one of these places is quite close to the city and is easily accessible any time.

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