After only three weeks of fieldwork, we are leaving Ammarnäs today already. With no breeding skuas and lower-than-usual abundance of some waders, including Red-necked Phalaropes, it was a rather short and ‘slow’ field season. Even so, we have been successful in deploying 14 new geolocators on phalaropes, and, more importantly, we managed to recapture four of them; two males and two females. I will dedicate the coming period to the analysis of these tracks in comparison with those obtained at other sites between Greenland and Tobseda (or Yamal, if Jasper has been successful!).
Catching the last five phalaropes has been a rather wet experience. For some reason, the few small flocks of phalarope females choose to occupy the least accessible ponds: those with extensive buoyant vegetation mats. Its easy to sink deep into this… We are using adjusted rubber boots to enter these ponds, with holes in it to let the water out. And we take off our pants to keep them dry… But in several cases this was not enough: we were sinking waist-deep into the mud and vegetation. The last phalarope to be captured took some extra effort. Christian eventually swam to it in order to flush it into the mistnet, successfully!
During the last few days, we ringed some chicks of Red-necked Phalaropes, Ruff, Redshank and Common Sandpiper. Another highlight for all of us was a recently hatched Common Cuckoo chick in a Meadow Pipit nest. The little monster had already showed the door to the Meadow Pipit chicks, which lay dead outside the entrance.