There is good and bad news. The bad news, as many of you will probably know, is that Paula, Juan and Johannes won’t be coming to Ammarnäs this year… The good news is that I (Rob) will return for another glorious year!
Although this will be my 8th year in Ammarnäs, it will be a special year for several reasons. First, I received a grant last year that will allow me to work this nearly full-time for the next five years! Second, as I expect rodent numbers to have picked up compared to the last two miserable years, I hope Long-tailed Skuas to be breeding again for the first time since 2011. This will allow me to recapture many individuals carrying geolocators. And… I also hope to get the first geolocator tracks from Red-necked Phalaropes.
This work is now part of my PhD project about migratory connectivity in a set of Arctic long-distance migratory seabirds. By collaborating with people working on Greenland and Svalbard, and sending other workers to Slettnes (Northern Norway) and Tobseda (Russia), I hope to get tracks from a wide area in the North Atlantic. See the map below for the locations of these field sites. Contact with people working at the other sites will be difficult, but I hope to report some news from those sites from time to time as well.
In Ammarnäs, my student Tim van der Meer (University of Amsterdam) will have a closer look at aggression levels of Long-tailed Skuas. There is quite a lot of variation in aggression and we’d like to learn if higher levels of aggression reduce predation of eggs and chicks. Guido Keijl and Fons de Meijer will help us out with various aspects of the fieldwork in the second half of June. As a special guest, Ko de Korte will pay a visit in mid June. Ko did his PhD on Long-tailed Skua ecology in Greenland back in the 70s/80s.
I am currently busy organizing the fieldwork for Ammarnäs, Slettnes and Tobseda. In about a month Tim and me will be heading off to Ammarnäs. Can’t wait to get there! I hope to share some thrilling adventures and discoveries at Ammarnäs with you soon! 😉