Expedition cruise company, Aurora Expeditions, has announced an exciting new partnership with conservation organisation, BirdLife Australia, which aims to highlight the importance of different bird species worldwide. In July 2014 the partnership will focus on educating birders and travellers alike on the diversity of bird and wildlife species of the European Arctic via two special expeditions to Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Norwegian archipelago, Svalbard.
As part of the partnership BirdLife Australia’s senior bird ecologist and award-winning nature photographer, Glenn Ehmke, will join two ‘Spitsbergen Odyssey’ expeditions as a special guest lecturer. Specialising in the breeding ecology of shorebirds and island bird ecology and conservation, Glenn will interpret and educate passengers on the different bird species of the Arctic. Although these voyages aren’t specifically for birders, Glenn’s knowledge and enthusiasm will help everyone on board appreciate the beauty of the region’s birds.
The expeditions are timed to visit Spitsbergen when activity is at its peak as the migratory birds move north between July to August to breed on the island’s sea cliffs. Passengers will have the opportunity to witness and photograph the abundance of nesting seabirds, such as puffins, guillemots and kittiwakes, from the bow and bridge as well as up close in Zodiacs (rubber inflatable boats) and on shore.
Midnight sun, polar bears, walrus, whales, calving glaciers and glorious tundra in full summer bloom are just some of the other highlights of the expedition. Multiple daily shore landings and Zodiac cruises ensure up-close wildlife encounters, and Aurora Expeditions’ unrivalled knowledge of weather and ice conditions as well as their flexible, expeditionary approach helps to chart the best possible course to take maximum advantage of wildlife opportunities.
Aurora Expeditions is also proud to be supporting Australian bird conservation by donating a percentage of every BirdLife Australia member’s voyage fare to support the organisation’s outstanding conservation, research and education programs.
As part of the partnership Aurora Expeditions will be promoting BirdLife Australia’s upcoming ‘Bird Week’ by campaigning for Australia’s much-loved Willie Wagtail to be voted as Australia’s favourite bird. Bird Week commences 19 October and voting will open on 10 September. Voters can cast their votes online at http://www.birdlife.org.au/birdvote.
The 11-day Birdlife Australia ‘Spitsbergen Odyssey’ expeditions depart on 20 July and 30 July 2014 on board Aurora Expeditions’ 54-passenger, ice-strengthened Polar Pioneer. Prices start from AU$6,080 per person and include all accommodation, meals, daily shore excursions and guiding services.
For more information on the Birdlife Australia ‘Spitsbergen Odyssey’ expeditions visit www.auroraexpeditions.com.au or call Aurora Expeditions on +61 2 9252 1033.