A Story about Bear Island

Read the book “Atlas Der Abgelegenen Inslen”  (The Chinese translation is Lonely Island) this morning.  It is about 50 most lonely islands that you never been and will never go.  A beautiful book.  Below is the partial extraction of the story about Bear Island.  I have made some deviation of the article and attached some photo of some of the birds mentioned.


Hi, I am Bear Island.  I am so far away from anybody but I am not lonely.  Because there are a lot of creatures especially birds staying with me.

Although I am far, I am proud there is a book has mentioned about me.  And this is a story about me happened in 1908 –

On 30 June 1908, 2am, StrauB reached Bear Island.  There were 7 bird lovers, 4 specimen makers and gun smith on the boat.  Han Freiherr von Berlepsch stood at the deck and listened to the cries of frightened birds in dark mingled with the noise of the wind.  Those birds that lives in my island were hardly see human and they were worried the human might attack them and their baby.  This was a breeding season and nobody expects to see human.   The human on the deck looked really exciting because they have never seen us in real outside of the text book.

They killed a few oldbirds and seagulls, 1 baby ivory gulls and 1 Great Black-backed Gull.


I am a Ivory Gull.  I was the first few birds that have been killed by the bird lovers in year 1908 while they landed Bear Island.  I did not expect I will be killed in this way.

Image above: Ivory Gull ( Image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ivory_Gull_Portrait.jpg )

752px-Great_Black-backed_Gull_Larus_marinus (2)

I am a Great Black-backed Gull.  I was one of the casualty.

Image above: Great Black-backed Gull (Image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Black-backed_Gull )

They continued to walk inland and found a Common Scoter [image below) on an icy lake.


Common Scoter [image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_scoter ]


Hi, I am Kentish Plover.  I was such a small tiny bird and I thought I could escape from this but not.  I got killed too at the end by the human while I was resting on the gravel ground beside a small stream.

Kentish Plover [image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentish_plover]

All the birds were getting very nervous and worried.  They worried the bird lovers discovered their nest.  Some of the birds tried to perform their spectacular flying skills to distract them from searching their nest.   But the bird lovers still managed to find 4 nests full with eggs.  The eggs were covered with a layer of olive green colour hiding on a hollow ground with moss green but the bird lovers still managed to find it.   They brought all of them back to the boat.


Image: Lazorbill (image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Razorbill].

One of the guy tried very hard to look for Lazorbill among thousands of birds.  He found finally and killed one of them.  The bird dropped to the water and.. died.

They were very satisfied with what they got.  Looking on all the “sample” they gathered.  What a tragedy of Bear Island.  Great that everything were back to normal again after they left.


P1160139 Norway Bear Island Map - Internet0000

[Map above]: A quick sketching of Bear Island map.  Not in scale.

Nobody bothered to stay at Bear Island long.  There are very few opportunities for individual travel to Bear Island.  Poor and lucky Bear Island.  According to Wikipedia – a few yachts make landfall, usually en route between the Norwegian mainland and Spitsbergen.  A small number of cruising ships have visited the island, but tourism is otherwise almost non-existent.

A beautiful lonely island.  Should make it there one day but definitely I will not kill the birds like the bird lovers did on 1908.

Ref:  1. Atlas der abgelegenen Inseln by Judith Schalansky


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