Monday, 1 September 2014

Whoa Black Belly (bam-ba-lam)

Why is it the weather forecasters can never get it right. Even when different forecasters agree it is still wrong. This morning was supposed to be 4 degrees C and calm. Instead it was 2 degrees C with ice on the grass in some areas with wind that at times was gusty and we were wondering whether to furl the nets or not. They didn't even tell us we were actually going to see the aura borealis.
Whilst bird numbers coming to the nets were down on previous days we still managed 182 birds with a nice mix of species including Little Stint, Dunlin and Redstart. The school children also arrived and Colin will expand on that on the Varanger Blog. I put the nets up in the garden this evening after spending the afternoon as tourists and only had two more Redpoll.

This Repoll is a youngster just like any other which was ringed today. It is interesting to see the other picture below.

It has this black wedge of feathers on its lower belly. The first I have ever seen. Colin H who is part of the team here told me after seeing this bird he has ringed a couple like it as well, in the last week. It is as big as the black belly of a male Great Tit. Could this possibly be a sub-species? If there is any reader out there that can give me information on this please do make contact.

As part of our tourist activities today we drove East and then North to Varso about 130km from Nesseby. It is an area of Tundra and is at Latitude 70.3 N, Longitude 31.1 East. We spent a couple of hours in this very remote area and took this picture of the crane with a Stellers Eider painted on the side. Stellers Eiders and King Eiders are regularly seen in this area during the winter period and the area is very popular with bird watchers.

Tomorrow is our last day ringing here in this amazing friendly country. We have had a lot of birds, eaten some great food and drank a few beers from the Northern most brewery in the world aptly called "Arctic". We have met some really nice people who have be exceptionally kind and friendly and very interested in our ringing activities. Colin has been to a school to talk about the ringing with the pupils and teachers and we have had two school visits which went well. The geography of the country is also beautiful, rugged in places which gives it that magic. I hope it is not long before I can visit here again.
It is forecasted to be warmer tomorrow morning at 6 degrees C, light wind and sunny, we wait and see.
Further information at

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