søndag 27. juli 2014

The last half of June -14

This summer has flown by quicker than I had ever imagined. This has led to way too few pictures, but I did manage to geta few that I am pleased with. I will post them chronological, and hope that you like the pictures and my stories.

The Common Eider (Ærfugl) is a beautifull bird that I often forget to photograph. The yellow bills, the black cap and the green neck of the males make them stand out amongst other ducks. I guess that the reason for not taking more photos of them is that they are so common up here.

Common Eider, male
Glaucous Gull, adult
 The Glaucous Gull (Polarmåke) and the Arctic Tern (Rødnebbterne) are two other birds that I spend too little time admiring. Both are common around Longyearbyen, and both are declining in numbers. That is yet another reason for using more time on them. And, no matter what most people might think of them, in my eyes they are still beautifull birds!

Arctic Tern, adult
 The Arctic Skua (Tyvjo) is together with the other skuas at Svalbard the birds that have taken on the role as a raptor. Their skills in flying are amazing, and the sheer power they show when attacking, like this bird attacking a Glaucous Gull, truly amazes me!
Arctic Skua, adult female

Arctic Skua, adult

Arctic Skua

Arctic Skua attacking Glaucous Gull

I had heard from several people that they had seen Red-necked Phalaropes (Svømmesnipe) in the valley, but as usual the unusual birds that others see are eluding me. So when I got to see one I was thrilled. The bird was a bit jumpy, which is unusual for this species, but I did get at least one good photo before it flew off.

Red-necked Phalarope, female
The 29th of June gave me a view I will never forget, and luckliy I managed to get it on the camera. But I begin the day with these photos of a normal Red Phalarope (Polarsvømmesnipe) female.
Red Phalarope, female
Red Phalarope, female
Red Phalarope, female
After I had seen these female red Phalaropes, I was in for a true treat! I have seen many birds wich are gay, but this was something I had never thought I would see. All the gay birds I have seen up until now have been males trying to breed with males, but in front of me now were two female Red Phalaropes who were mating! Of the huge series of Pictures that I took I have chosen a few here wich shows two different mating attempts. If anybody can tell me that it is a male on top, please tell me. And if anybody have ever seen this in wild animals? This is definately one of the coolest encounters that I have had with any bird!

Red Phalarope, females mating
Red Phalarope, females mating close-up

Red Phalarope, females mating

Red Phalaropes, first mating over

Red Phalarope, first mating over

Red Phalarope, the females are at it again!

Red Phalarope, the females keep on

Red Phalarope, and then second round is over!

Red Phalarope, side by side

Red Phalarope, posing for the photographer
 The stunning performance from the two female Phalaropes was maybe more of a big deal to me than to the American woman who was joining me this day. To her the best bird was the semi-tame Arctic Skua (Tyvjo) at the camp-site. This female is so used to humans that it doesnt mind sitting a few meters away. This is teh easy way to get great photos! :)

Arctic Skua, female

Arctic Skua, female portrait

Arctic Skua, female

Arctic Skua, female

Arctic Skua, female
 The next day I couldnt find the pair of Phalaropes, only this lone female.

All the People I show around up here usually want to see the Svalbard Ptarmigan (Svalbardrype), the endemic subspecies of Rock Ptarmigan (Fjellrype). This pair woke me up in the early morning the day after I was out guiding and couldnt fins any!!! Typical......

Svalbard Ptarmigan, male and female



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