Svalbard ptarmigan, purple sandpipers, dogs and astronomy


This is a video about reindeer in October (Svalbard winter) in Adventdalen valley in Spitsbergen, not so far from Longyearbyen village. We saw them on 6 June as well.

After yesterday, and after the early morning Arctic terns, today is 6 June in Svalbard.

We go again to Adventdalen.

This valley is to the east of Longyearbyen.

Pale-bellied brent geese and barnacle geese nest there.

At the east end of the valley, the main road, a dirt road, rises steeply. It needs hairpin curves to get up the mountain. It reminded me a bit of a particular mountain road in Ireland. Narrow, steep, hairpin turns. On a rock near the scariest hairpin, someone had written in big capital letters: PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD. A sort of self-fulfilling prophecy, with the deathly precipice just next to the road. Fortunately, in Svalbard now there did not seem to be such an ultra-religious person as then in Ireland. There were no letters on the rocks near the hairpins.

Ptarmigan male near coal mine, Svalbard, 6 June 2013

As we came closer to the top, a male ptarmigan, still in winter plumage. Not in as spotless white winter plumage as the male ptarmigan which we had seen before. This bird lives near a coal mine. The only coal mine still working around Longyearbyen. Mine number 7. So, it had black coal smudges on its white feathers; while sitting on a hillock of both snow and coal slack.

Purple sandpipers above coal mine, Svalbard, 6 June 2013

If you pass the mine, still higher up the mountain, then you see purple sandpipers flying around the partly frozen puddles.

Purple sandpiper above coal mine, Svalbard, 6 June 2013

They are near a starting point for husky dog-drawn sled riding.

Trailer with dog cages, Svalbard, 6 June 2013

There were trailers with dog cages.

Husky dog in cage on trailer, Svalbard, 6 June 2013

The law on Svalbard says that huskies, considered an aggressive dog breed, at all times should either be in cages, or on leashes or drawing sleds.

EISCAT radar, Svalbard, 6 June 2013

Still a bit higher than the dog sleds is the EISCAT Svalbard radar. Astronomers there study the ionosphere and the magnetosphere.

Adventdalen view, Svalbard, 6 June 2013

We went back down the hairpin road. There were fine views of the Adventdalen valley, all the way to the fjord.

Dead seals, Svalbard, 6 June 2013

About halfway down, there were dog cages. Dead seals hanging out to dry to feed the huskies.

Reindeer, Svalbard, 6 June 2013

And, not far away, reindeer again.

This video is called Arctic Fox, Reindeer, Polar Bears of Svalbard, Norway.

10 thoughts on “Svalbard ptarmigan, purple sandpipers, dogs and astronomy

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