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Home* Triplogs with photo galleriesArctic blog: Jan Mayen, Spitsbergen → Geese arri­ved in Spits­ber­gen after spring migra­ti­on

Geese arri­ved in Spits­ber­gen after spring migra­ti­on

Spring has also arri­ved in arc­tic Spits­ber­gen. Ear­ly migra­ting birds such as the snow bun­ting and Litt­le auk came alrea­dy more than a mon­th ago in April, fil­ling the tun­dra in and around Lon­gye­ar­by­en respec­tively the moun­tain slo­pes with their sin­ging (snow bun­ting) and cra­zy laugh­ter (snow bun­ting).

Tem­pe­ra­tures are still cold, mild frost, but the snow-free tun­dra patches are gro­wing every day and the rivers show signs of brea­king up.

Adventdalen

Tun­dra is com­ing through the snow in Advent­da­len.

By now, most migra­ting birds have retur­ned to their sum­mer ter­ri­to­ries. A good week ago, the first Pink-foo­ted geese were sud­den­ly sit­ting, well camou­fla­ged, on the tun­dra next to the roads in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, and the first Bar­na­cle geese fol­lo­wed soon.

Brent geese, Adventfjord

Brent geese on the shore of Advent­fjord (a Bar­na­cle goo­se in the back­ground).

Once the first geese had arri­ved, dozens and hund­reds fol­lo­wed during the next cou­p­le of days to sett­le down on snow-free tun­dra are­as in Advent­da­len and even wit­hin Lon­gye­ar­by­en. In this area, the snow melt starts regu­lar­ly a cou­p­le of weeks ear­ly than else­whe­re in Spits­ber­gen, making the tun­dra are­as here an important res­ting area for many birds, which feed on tun­dra vege­ta­ti­on, after their spring migra­ti­on. Later they will disper­se to their various bree­ding are­as wit­hin the regi­on.

Brent geese

Brent geese on the shore of Advent­fjord (Pink-foo­ted geese in the fore­ground).

Cur­r­ent­ly, it is very easy to obser­ve all geese spe­ci­es that breed in Spits­ber­gen as well as Com­mon eider ducks, King eider and many otehr spe­ci­es very clo­se to or even wit­hin Lon­gye­ar­by­en. Soon they will move to more inac­ces­si­ble are­as and then most of them will also be very shy. Then, it will be much more dif­fi­cult, if not impos­si­ble, to secu­re good obser­va­tions and pho­tos, even with good equip­ment.

Espe­cial­ly the Brent goo­se is a dif­fi­cult spe­ci­es to obser­ve. It is not an ever­y­day sight during the sum­mer and obser­va­tions are usual­ly from a grea­ter distance. So it is a spe­cial plea­su­re to see this spe­ci­es on a short distance on the shore of Advent­fjord just next to Lon­gye­ar­by­en. As long as you stay a bit hid­den or wit­hin a car, the risk of dis­tur­ban­ce is low.

Pink footed goose, Barnacle goose and Brent goose, Adventfjord

All three spe­ci­es of geese that breed in Spits­ber­gen in one pho­to:
Pink foo­ted goo­se, Bar­na­cle goo­se and Brent goo­se, Advent­fjord.

I am almost a bit proud of this last pho­to that has all three spe­ci­es of geese that breed in Spits­ber­gen in one frame: Pink foo­ted goo­se (upper left, not sharp), Bar­na­cle goo­se (lower left) and Brent goo­se (lower right).

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last modification: 2019-05-26 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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