Skua eggs! Small, but very welcome!

 

After having arrived in Ammarnäs yesterday, today was our first day up on the fjell. Although we were told about large amounts of snow and ice not so long ago, snow conditions were actually quite normal but the weather was unusually hot. The hazy heat felt like a day in July…

After crossing the treeline for the first time this year – always a magic moment – it didn’t take long before we saw the first Long-tailed Skuas roaming the tundra. The first of three (maybe four) birds carrying geolocators was KM, see the picture below. This pic was taken seconds before the partner of KM showed us their nest, containing one egg (albeit pretty small…). Later on we found a second nest, parented by what must be the old bird (although I didn’t read the metal ring code), also containing a single small egg. Another two pairs were obviously making family plans… so I hope to find some more nests in the coming days. These first impressions suggest rodent densities are mediocre, but certainly better than last two years! Now lets hope those skua eggs won’t get predated before I get the chance to capture their parents…

KM with partner.
KM with partner.
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8 thoughts on “Skua eggs! Small, but very welcome!

  1. Juan June 2, 2014 / 11:42 pm

    Great Rob.., good news!

  2. Paula Machin June 2, 2014 / 11:47 pm

    Wow Rob!!
    You can not imagine how much we miss to be there crossing with you the tree line for the first time in the season. These are great news, I am sure you will have chances to recover some more loggers this year! Keep us up updated and dont forget to mention us soemthing about waders!! Say hello to Lenart and Kina (Ammarnäs shop) , the people in the station, as Roger and Sussan, and use the sauna in our honor! We wish you a very good luck this days!!

    • robvanbemmelen June 3, 2014 / 6:28 pm

      Hej Paula & Juan! It is quiet here without you…
      Yesterday we resighted four colour-ringed Goldies (1 x 2010, 1x 2012 and 2 x 2013). No CR’ed Dunlins… yet. I guess some of the waders will have started laying or will do so very soon. The snow is melting rapidly, it is so hot it feels like Spain. Una locura!

  3. Åke Lindström June 3, 2014 / 7:59 am

    Hi there Rob, it is clear what you must be feeling after two (almost) nil years. I am sure you enjoy every second now, in a period when the tundra is at its finest. Make sure you enjoy every Lapland Bunting song, Dunlin buzzing and GP complaint! Re the small egg, I am quite sure Sören has written something about L-t Skua dwarf eggs in in Ornis Svecica. Write soon again!

    • robvanbemmelen June 3, 2014 / 7:32 pm

      Hi Ake, sure I will! Lots of eyecandy around, including a nicely diplaying Short-eared Owl. I have read the dwarf egg note from Sören, but the eggs from this year are not thát small. What I meant is that they are small compared to other years, in particular 2011: on average nearly 14% smaller. But then again, 2011 was a crazy year…

  4. Siggi June 3, 2014 / 9:19 am

    Greetings from Abisko! We still have snow above the treeline 🙂 but saw Skuas the other day. Anyway the tundra is filled with birds now, everywhere you look. This morning we discovered our new neighbour, just a few hundred metres away – a short-eared owl, most likely nesting there.
    Cool to hear the season in Ammarnäs started again! Good luck! We also believe that it will be a good rodent year this time. /Siggi

    • robvanbemmelen June 3, 2014 / 7:35 pm

      Hi Siggi, thanks for sharing this! Would be nice to hear how the summer proceeds up in Abisko. Any Ammarnäs plans as well?

  5. Pablo June 4, 2014 / 10:27 pm

    Really good news Rob¡

    I’m very glad to hear that the skuas are willing to breed this year. You will get your chance to catch them¡
    I miss Ammarnäs so much…, enjoy another year there¡

    Cheers

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