Svalbard dunlins of Adventdalen

Dunlin, Adventdalen, Svalbard, 5 July 2013

5 June 2013. As reported before in this blog, we are on a marshy tundra in Adventdalen valley on Spitsbergen. There, we see a lone male vagrant pectoral sandpiper. And many dunlins.

Dunlin in Adventdalen, Svalbard, 5 July 2013

About dunlins, the book Birds and Mammals of Svalbard says:

In Svalbard the dunlin has been reported breeding in small numbers on Bjørnøya and in the western parts of Spitsbergen, mainly in the Isfjorden and Kongsfjorden areas. …

it is reasonable to believe that the breeding population is less than 50 pairs.

Let us presume that would be 48 dunlin couples. Divided equally among Bjørnøya (Bear island), the Kongsfjorden area, and the Isfjorden area which includes the Adventdalen valley and other valleys. That would mean 16 dunlin couples which Adventdalen would have to share with the rest of the Isfjorden area.

My impression is that would be a very low estimate for the 2013 Adventdalen dunlin breeding season; which had just begun in early June. I had seen dunlins elsewhere in Adventdalen. And here, in the wet tundra near dog cages, they seemed the most common bird species around. Maybe even 16 couples or more, just for this relatively small part of the Isfjorden area already. calls the dunlin a “common but dispersed breeder” for the archipelago. That seems more realistic, though they do not estimate numbers.

Sometimes, the local dunlins in this part of Adventdalen quarreled with the lone male pectoral sandpiper.

Dunlin and pectoral sandpiper in Adventdalen, Svalbard, 5 July 2013

Sometimes, they were at peace with it.

Dunlin and pectoral sandpiper still in Adventdalen, Svalbard, 5 July 2013

We have discussed the lone male pectoral sandpiper’s mating season. How about the dunlins’ mating season? That will be another blog post.

30 thoughts on “Svalbard dunlins of Adventdalen

  1. Very nice dunlin pictures. I’ve been on a mission to go to Svalbard for many years and I haven’t yet made it up there… but looking at your pictures I should renew my efforts!


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