Map of the world

  • Where to watch BIRDS and

  • other wildlife in the world
  • Photograph of Steller's Eagle

    Steller's Eagle by Ian Merrill.

    KAMCHATKA, and the KURIL and COMMANDER ISLANDS

    Best Wildlife in Kamchatka, and the Kuril and Commander Islands

    Mammals
    Brown Bear, Dall's Porpoise, Sea Otter, Arctic Fox, Northern Fur Seal, Steller's Sealion and Largha (Spotted) Seal. Also a chance of Blue, Killer, Sperm, Fin, Sei, Humpback, Grey, (Northern) Minke and Baird's Beaked Whales, and Pacific White-sided Dolphin.

    Birds
    Laysan Albatross, Steller's and White-tailed Eagles, Harlequin Duck, (Eurasian) Nutcracker, Tufted and Horned Puffins, and Crested and Parakeet Auklets, as well as Mottled Petrel, Short-tailed Shearwater, Fork-tailed and Leach's Storm Petrels, Japanese (Temminck's), Pelagic and Red-faced Cormorants, Latham's Snipe, Far Eastern Curlew, Rock Sandpiper, Black-tailed and Slaty-backed Gulls, Red-legged Kittiwake, Aleutian Tern, Brunnich's, Common, Pigeon and Spectacled Guillemots, Ancient and Long-billed Murrelets, Least, Rhinoceros and Whiskered Auklets, Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker, Long-tailed Tit, Gray's (Sakhalin) and Middendorff's Grasshopper Warblers, Arctic, Radde's and Pale-legged (Sakhalin) Leaf Warblers, Narcissus Flycatcher, Japanese and Rufous-tailed Robins, Siberian Rubythroat, Siberian Blue Robin, Red-flanked Bluetail, Siberian Thrush, Pechora Pipit, Black-backed Wagtail, Grey, Lapland and Snow Buntings, Long-tailed Rosefinch and Russet Sparrow. Also a chance of Black-footed and Short-tailed Albatrosses, Lesser Sand and Long-billed Plovers, Long-toed Stint, Grey and Red-necked Phalaropes, Long-tailed Skua, Blakiston's Fish Owl, Crested Kingfisher, Black Woodpecker, Pine Grosbeak and Grey-crowned Rosy Finch.

    Best Sites for Wildlife in Kamchatka, and the Kuril and Commander Islands

    Best Times for Wildlife in Kamchatka, and the Kuril and Commander Islands

    Cruises run in June and July.

    Recommended Books etc. for Kamchatka, and the Kuril and Commander Islands

    The Arctic Guide: Wildlife of the Far North by S Chester. PUP, 2016.

    A Complete Guide to Arctic Wildlife by R Sale. Helm, 2006.

    Birds of East Asia by M Brazil. Helm/PUP, 2009.

    A Field Guide to Birds of Russia and Adjacent Territories by V E Flint et al. PUP, 1989.

    Mammals of Britain and Europe by D McDonald and P Barrett. Collins, 2005.


    Apps etc.

    Collins Bird Guide.

    Trip Reports for Kamchatka, and the Kuril and Commander Islands

    Many trip reports, some for Kamchatka, and the Kuril and Commander Islands, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to Kamchatka, and the Kuril and Commander Islands. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Kamchatka, and the Kuril and Commander Islands' below.

    Local Guides and Tours in Kamchatka, and the Kuril and Commander Islands

    The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.

    Accommodation in Kamchatka, and the Kuril and Commander Islands

    Some Organized Tours to Kamchatka, and the Kuril and Commander Islands

    There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.

    While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and people with partners with different interests. Individuals and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more than the price of an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.

    The most expensive cruises to Kamchatka, and the Kuril and Commander Islands, tend to be those on the largest and most lavish vessels where every cabin has private facilities, but it is the smaller vessels, with much smaller passenger numbers and mostly shared facilities, which enable greater and easier access to certain areas, and sometimes longer times ashore.

    Tour companies who run organized tours or can arrange custom tours to Kamchatka, and the Kuril and Commander Islands include the following.