fredag 23. juli 2010

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

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