Author Archives: Joy Window

Not your average Christmas reindeer

Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) are endemic to Svalbard and are the smallest subspecies of reindeer – about half the weight of other reindeers. They sure do look small with their short legs and pot bellies. We saw several small … Continue reading

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The world’s northernmost museum

I’ve mentioned before that I’m fond of museums. Having worked in a museum early in my career (a natural history one), and now volunteering in one (a historical one), I know how much effort goes into them. I couldn’t resist … Continue reading

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Arctic trip – beluga whales

I’d seen a beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) only once before, and that was in the Atlanta aquarium in the United States. In the wild it’s a more holistic experience, although it’s impossible to see the whole of the animals unless … Continue reading

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Arctic trip – a blue whale

It all started in the wee small hours – I won’t say ‘sunrise’ as there hadn’t been one for weeks – but Janet (my room-mate) was having a shower and I was snoozing in the bottom bunk, contemplating getting up. … Continue reading

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Walruses suck!

They really do! Let me explain. I’d only seen walruses (Odobenus rosmarus, ‘odobenus’ from the Greek meaning ‘tooth-walker’; they sometimes haul themselves out of the water using their tusks) in TV documentaries, a la David Attenborough. I think Taronga Zoo … Continue reading

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Polar paws

There are two types of polar paws on Svalbard: those of the arctic fox and the polar bear. I find bears interesting, possibly because we don’t have any in Australia (no, a koala is not a bear),  so I can’t … Continue reading

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Koala aloha

The local male koala has been creating quite a din over the last few nights, and we finally got a shot of him at twilight, high up a gum tree. You can hear a recording of the call here. It’s … Continue reading

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