fredag 21. mai 2010

Rarities of Svalbard so far in May.

As I am sat here at the airport with little else to do, I thought I would make a little report on the rarities I have managed to see here in Longyearbyen so far in May. It begun the 10. of May, when I was driving back from a trip up the valley came to see a little dark gull with black wing-tips sat with two Glaucous Gulls (Polarmåke) at the dogyard next to town. after having put the car into reverse and having moved back hundred metres I could see that it was an adult Common Gull (Fiskemåke). After my five years in Tromsø I have gotten to know this species well, so it was nice to see it again.

I saw this bird again on the 11th, but then it was gone. But it didnt take longer thatn until the 14th before I got to see the next Svalbard-rarity. This was a Goldeneye (Kvinand). A nice male that after a while gave great views of it, and this one is still present in the area since I got to see it on the 20th.

On the 15th I got to see a new couple of rarity-species. First a Golden Plover (Heilo) was walking around outside my livingroom window, and to my girlfriends dislike I occupied the couch to be used as photographing-area.

The same day I came across, or rather it came across me, the Black-headed Gull (Hettemåke) that was spotted by another guy the day before. It showed well for a couple of days, but at most at quite long distance.

On the 16th I finally got to see my first Ivory Gull (Ismåke) of the year, but were not able to get any photos of it. But another Arctic gull however, I managed to catch on film/memorychip. An adult Iceland Gull (Grønnlandsmåke) was sitting next to LOFF-huset, and gave a good possibility for me to take photos of this species for the first time. I have uploaded one picture of the Iceland Gull on its own, and one where it sits next to a Glaucous Gull for a comparison of similarities and differences between the two species that look very much alike.

Due to the fact that I was not able to sleep the night between the 17th and the 18th I was sitting reading in the livingroom when I got to see that there were some gulls sat on the tundra outside the house. I found my binoculars, and there were the second Common Gull of the year and a Herring Gull (Gråmåke) together with some Glaucous Gulls. The livingroom window was again used for photographing, and after a comment on the age online, the Common Gull was identified as a third calendar year, or two year old bird.

The 19th of May was a very good day for birdwatching, and it wil therefore have to be divided into several parts. First three Common Scoters (Svartand) were lying in the delta, and on the 20th there were seven (!) individuals, three couples and one single male, of this species present in the delta.

And when I were watching the Scoters I heard a familiar sound, and I managed to get my camera up just in time to photograph a male Common Teal (Krikkand) as it flew by.

When I was driving away from the delta a little gull caught my attention in between some Glaucous Gulls, and then the third (!) common Gull was a fact, and it was documented by the camera.

Feeling quite happy about the day I drove in the valley to look for geese and Glaucous gulls with colour-rings I saw some Red-throated Divers and some King Eiders on the ponds and thought that the day was over regarding new species. But that was not the case this day. In a little pond close to Endalen I got aware of a little black and white duck. After breaking down and reversing the car a hundred metres I could document the first Tufted Duck (Toppand) of the saeason on Svalbard.

All in all this month has been quite rewarding so far, but its not over yet, and I'll be out there to document the rarities that appear in front of me.

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