fredag 23. juli 2010

July 22nd

Late evenings are in general a good time to see wildlife as you probably know, but not everybody are as fortunate with the wildlife as we are up here in Longyearbyen. In London I have seen Red Fox (Rødrev) in the streets, and in Oslo I have seen Badger (Grevling), but this evening an Arctic Fox (Fjellrev) came wandering in before my apartement and started sniffing at the car and was yelled at by Snowbuntings (Snøspurv) and Arctic Terns (Rødnebbterne).

Boattrip 18th July

Since I am a resident of Longyearbyen, I dont get around to do all the tourist-things that you can do around here. But when my father was up here visiting this weekend we went on a boat-trip to the other side of the main fiord, Isfjorden, to another fiord, Billefjorden. There were lots of birds to be seen, among them were Atlantic Puffin ssp. Naumanni (Lunde), Brünnick's Guillemot (Polarlomvi), Black Guillemot (Teist), Razorbill (Alke), Little Auk (Alkekonge), Fulmar (Havhest), Kittwake (Krykkje), Glaucous Gull (Polarmåke), Black-Backed Gull (Svartbak), Sabine's Gull (Sabinemåke), Ringed Plover (Sandlo) and Purple Sandpiper (Fjæreplytt).

I am adding a picture of a puffin ssp. Naumanni, which you can see have got grey cheeks, and some pictures of the normal landscape viewed from the sea here.

Atlantic Puffin ssp. Naumanni

Bilefjorden, viwed towards North

Isfjorden, viewed towards East

The birdcliff in Skansebukta, viewed towards North

Ringing of wader chicks in Adventdalen

When I lived in Tromsø, I got taught how to ring birds by Karl-Birger Strann, and last year I got my first license to ring birds. This year I have ringed Purple Sandpipers (Fjærplytt) in the delta next to Longyearbyen, and when the chicks of different waders started to appear I have been trying to find these to ring them so that we may get some more knowledge of where they migrate, and to learn more about theire life-history. In general, very little is known baout waders on Svalbard. They have been neglected when the big programmes watching the fluctuations of birdpopulations on Svalbard have been done. Because of this I have used quite a few hours to find chicks, and to put rings on them. The ones that I have ringed the most of until now are Dunlins (Myrsnipe). Even though this is a quite scarce bird on Svalbard in general, it breeds probably around 20 pairs in Adventdalen, and from seven of these pairs I have managed to ring 13 chicks so far. They are easy to find from the car, since the parents are making lots of noice, but as soon as you walk up to them to catch the chicks the chicks tend to disappear in the low grass. So there are still several chicks out there that I havent managed to get hold of.

I have just managed to ring one chick of Purple Sandpiper (Fjæreplytt) this far, since I have prioriticed the Dunlins for chick-ringing, but I will keep an eye open for these ones too. The biggest problem with them is that when I get to see them they are allready flying, so then I just have to hope that they will appear in my traps in the delta when I am down there trapping.

A friend of me called me two days ago when I was at work and said that there was reported a nest of European Golden Plover from Todalen, and I emediately looked it up, and found that it was another friend of mine that had found it. I tried to send an e-mail to him, but he was on paternity-leave, so I had to find his phone number and sendt off a text asking if he could tell me where he had found the nest. After six hours I got a text back where he described where he had found the nest, and due to a very nice girlfriend I was on my way out the door within fifteen minutes after I had gotten the text. I thought it would be a short trip, but I had been walking in a big circle for more than an hour (and ringed a Purple Sandpiper chick) before I heard the unmistakable sound of a calling Golden Plover. I crawled up on a little hill and set up my telescope and started looking. After ten minutes of looking I finally found the male in the middle of the tundra. After another twenty minutes all four chicks were located, and they were in an area that seemed like it was suitable for finding them without too much problems. I am not the guy you are likely to see running, but now I was actually jogging the 300-400 meters over to where the birds were. I managed to catch one of the chicks rather quickly, but then the work started, I was looking intensely onto the ground looking for small balls of down, but in ten minutes I only managed to find one more. But anyway, these are probably the two first European Golden Plovers that have ever been ringed on Svalbard.

The mother

The father

Chick number one

Chick number two

Two siblings hiding on the tundra

torsdag 8. juli 2010

5th July

One thing that I forgot to mention about yesterday was that inbetween shifts at work I went out ringing wader-chicks. I managed to find and ring four Red (Grey) Phalarope (Polarsvømmesnipe) chicks and two Dunlin (Myrsnipe) chicks. I am adding a picture of one of the Red Phalarope chicks which is walking along the little pond where they were staying.

In amongst the boats at the docks there were three Black Guillemots (Teist) resting, and at Hotellneset there were two male Wigeon (Brunnakke) which were moulting into eclipse-plumage.

4th July

Today I got one of my big wishes up here fulfilled! I got a phonecall some time ago from a Swede who wanted to come to Longyearbyen to see some arctic birds. I said yes and took him with me birding. On his list of birds that he wanted to see the most there were Little Auk (Alkekonge), Brünnick's Guillemot (Polarlomvi), Ivory Gull (Ismåke) and King Eider (Praktærfugl). These four I could almost guarantee him that we could find around Longyearbyen, but the bird which was highest up on his list (and on mine) was Ross' Gull (Rosenmåke) and he understood that this species was more or less impossible to get on the list of seen birds around Longyearbyen. But he got to see all the four "normal" species, and we got to see a female King Eider with a brood of four chicks. this was something that I had wanted to see for a long time.

27th June

I started today by photographing the two Snow Bunting (Snøspurv) chicks that have made sleeping difficult for my girlfriend. They are sat under our bedroomwindow, chirping for food at all hours of the day.

And when I were out looking for nesting birds in the valley today I found a (Eurasian) Golden Plover (Heilo) male that was very little amused to see me. This is a rare bird up here, and seeing a male in breeding plumage is a nice sight.:)

26th June

Because of the high latitude here in Longyearbyen, birds that are quite common on mainland europe are quite rare up here. And this led to my excitement of seeing a male Wigeon (Brunnakke) close to the dogyard this day. Even though the picture is not the best, at least its no problem seeing that it is this species.