Svalbard black guillemots, Arctic terns, and brent geese

This video says about itself:

Polar Bears and Wildlife of Spitsbergen, Svalbard

This video was made on the 2014 TravelWild Expeditions cruise to Spitsbergen, the largest island in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago.

5 June 2013. After yesterday, our third full day on Spitsbergen in the Arctic.

Rain this morning in Longyearbyen. Not a bit of drizzle like sometimes on earlier days; more like cats and dogs.

At breakfast, others in our group say that yesterday, late in the evening, they did see an ivory gull! In Adventdalen. Unfortunately, the bird was too far away for a good photo of that elusive species. It flew away soon.

So, let’s go, to see whether it has returned.

At the dog cages, like usually, many eider ducks of the nesting colony. And gulls: glaucous gulls, not much smaller ivory gulls.

Then, something special. The Adventdalselva river is mostly still frozen. Close to the road, there is a small channel of open water. About a meter wide.

And in that channel, a male and a female long-tailed duck swimming together! Good for taking photos at close distance from the van.

Also, two purple sandpipers.

We return, as we should pick up someone, left behind because believing we would not see ivory gulls anyway, but really interested in long-tailed ducks.

Pink-footed geese and barnacle geese near the dog cages.

The rain has stopped.

Near the waste treatment plant, Arctic terns flying.

Pale-bellied brent geese, Svalbard, 5 June 2013

A flock of pale-bellied brent geese flies past as well. Also, two red-throated divers.

Black guillemots, Svalbard, 5 June 2013

Black guillemots swimming again in the Adventdalselva estuary.

Black guillemot, Svalbard, 5 June 2013

Often, they dive.

Black guillemot diving, Svalbard, 5 June 2013

Arctic terns have probably just arrived here from the longest migration in the world, from the Antarctic. They fly both near the harbour, and between the village and the dog cages.

Arctic tern with fish, Longyearbyen, 5 June 2013

Sometimes, they catch a small fish to present to their partner as a sign of love. They fly overhead, and call. But they have no nests yet; if so, they would divebomb humans more aggressively.

We make a pole stand up in the mud, to attract terns for a photo opportunity on top of it. However, they seem to prefer flying, and sitting down on the road or on the lagoon bank.

We go back to Adventdalen. Will everyone see an ivory gull at close distance at last? And will the long-tailed duck couple still be there?

15 thoughts on “Svalbard black guillemots, Arctic terns, and brent geese

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