Walrus in BBC Planet Earth II, video


This video says about itself:

Filming Walrus With The Megadome – Blue Planet II – Behind The Scenes

The team use a very special underwater camera housing called the megadome which enables them to film in super wide-angle, allowing the audience to see both above and below water simultaneously. With a fully grown mother walrus to contend with, David Reichart the cameraman must take special care not to disturb his subject or risk a tusk in the head!

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Hundreds of polar bears eat dead whale


This video about Arctic Siberia says about itself:

Hundreds of Polar Bears Gather to Feast on Whale Carcass

29 September 2017

According to a Wrangel Island news release, at least 230 polar bears gathered on Wrangel Island to gorge on a dead bowhead whale, which washed ashore Sept. 19.

From the Heritage Expeditions blog:

SHO: An unbelievable experience at Wrangel Island

19 September, 2017

I simply don’t know where or how to start this blog .. today has been one of those days I or anybody else with me will never ever forget. You had to live it to believe it, even now there are people pinching themselves to make sure it really happened, but I get ahead of myself.

The day started at 0530 with an early breakfast. We were anchored near Pitchy Bazar on the western coast of Wrangel Island. The Island was coated with a fresh coating of snow, a huge contrast to yesterday’s blue sky and warm weather at the Clark River. The early morning lighting that accompanied the sunrise was surreal. There were several options, ranging from the very easy to the more extreme.

I was on beach patrol with some folk on the easier walk when a young bear wandered our way. He had attitude and he was definitely interested in us. We persuaded him to move on and he lay down about 50 metres away in the snow and watched us. It was a close but incredibly fascinating encounter. Little did we know there were even more incredible things to come. What we saw (and experienced) next will rewrite expedition travel experiences. We were cruising down the coast and saw a “herd” or “convention “ of Polar Bears on/near the beach. There was a dead bowhead whale and we counted over 150 Polar Bears (of all ages, sexes and sizes) that were either feeding or had been feeding on it in the immediate vicinity of the whale. We launched the zodiacs for a closer look and that is the memory we will all carry with us … there are no words to describe it. I share one photo in the hope that it will portray something of our experience.

We leave Wrangel Island tonight on the last leg of this journey.

Rodney Russ – Expedition Leader, Owner and Founder

I had years ago the privilege of being on an expedition with Rodney Russ. Not to the Arctic; to New Zealand subantarctic islands like Campbell island.

The video shows the dead whale had attracted glaucous gulls as well.

Pomarine skua video


This is a pomarine skua video.

These birds nest in the Arctic.

Trump administration, climate denialism and the Arctic


This video from the USA says about itself:

Tillerson Agrees Climate Change Is Hurting The Arctic, Contradicting Trump Admin Policies

13 May 2017

The Secretary of State stopped short of linking climate change to human activity, when he signed the Fairbanks Document this week in Alaska. But Janet Redmond of Oil Change International says the Trump administration is still denying the urgency of the warming planet.

Will Arctic barnacle geese survive climate change?


This video says about itself:

Base-jumping barnacle goose – Life Story: Episode 1 Preview – BBC One

Within the first few hours after hatching a Barnacle gosling must make a giant leap from its clifftop nest falling over 400ft in order to reach the ground below.

I have been privileged to see beautiful barnacle geese in Spitsbergen.

From the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW):

Can barnacle geese predict the climate?

Unpredictable warming spells ‘problems’ for Arctic-breeding migratory birds

Summary: The breeding grounds of Arctic migratory birds such as the barnacle goose are changing rapidly due to accelerated warming in the polar regions. They won’t be able to keep up with this climate change unless they can somehow anticipate it. A research team employed computer models to assess the future of the geese and their young.

The breeding grounds of Arctic migratory birds such as the barnacle goose are changing rapidly due to accelerated warming in the polar regions. They won’t be able to keep up with this climate change unless they can somehow anticipate it. A research team from the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) employed computer models to assess the future of the geese and their young. Results are being published online by the scientific journal Global Change Biology.

It’s the time of year when barnacle geese and many other migratory birds prepare to depart for their breeding grounds above the Arctic Circle. From their wintering grounds in the Netherlands, the geese fly all the way up to the Barentsz Sea in northern Russia, where they should arrive just as the snow has melted. But in the polar regions, the climate is warming much more rapidly than in more temperate areas like the Netherlands — a phenomenon known as ‘Arctic amplification‘.

It’s hard enough for humans to get to grips with the accelerated warming, let alone for barnacle geese, as an earlier NIOO-led study showed. After all, how can they tell from their wintering grounds if the snow has begun to melt thousands of kilometres away? So is it possible for the barnacle geese to advance their spring migration nonetheless, to predict climate change?

First study, fewer young

Ecologist Thomas Lameris and his fellow researchers from NIOO, and also the Swiss Ornithological Institute among other institutions, have tried to find the answer. “This is the first study that tests if migratory birds are in any way able to adjust their timing to the accelerated warming in the polar regions. We used a model to show that the availability of enough edible grass to build up reserves for their journey is not a problem for the barnacle geese. It’s the unpredictability of the climatic changes in their breeding grounds that spells trouble for them.”

If the geese continue to mistime their arrival, their reproductive success will be reduced. Lameris: “They miss their optimal breeding window and the peak in local food abundance, so fewer goslings will survive.” Some compensation for this comes from the fact that as well as starting earlier, the breeding season is becoming longer. This gives the goslings more time to grow. But that’s not enough.

To establish the barnacle geese’s potential for anticipating climate change, the researchers built a model that tracks individual geese as they fly to their breeding grounds in northern Russia and make stopovers along the route. “In the model, the geese have to make a choice each day: stay in their present location and continue to feed, or fly to the next stopover.” The researchers tested the model for various gradations of climatic warming.

Smarter migration strategy?

The barnacle goose is an ideal ‘model species’ for studying the effects of climate changes, because researchers have been able to study this animal for decades. But it’s not just about a single species. Lameris: “Our results are probably valid for many more species of Arctic-breeding migratory birds, and certainly for other geese such as the white-fronted and the brent goose.”

On the whole, geese are clever birds. Goslings learn the migration route from their parents, including the best places to stop over and build up fat reserves. “So if they do change the timing of their arrival, it would be easy to pass that on to the next generation,” Lameris argues hopefully. “The main question is whether geese and other migratory birds can adapt as fast as the climate changes, to keep up.”

Climate change improves the breeding chances of migratory geese in the Arctic — but puts mother geese at more risk of death, according to a new study: here.