First of all, from Greenland: Does anybody recognize this bird? Martin Kviesgaard, in Nuuk Greenland, has come across another banded bird and got some shots of the bird with band but without enough information to make a positive identification. So….does this bird look familiar to any of you?
And now back to Iqaluit:
It’s been a frustrating few days. The females are all sitting on eggs, emerging from their nesting cavities only occasionally for a quick snack for ten minutes. And if you’re not in a position to catch this quick trip then you’re out of luck for finding a nest. Further, since the females are busy (and mated) the males aren’t singing much so you can walk for kilometers without seeing much. But occasionally you get lucky and here’s some of the nests we’ve found:
And while searching for bunting nests, helper Shan Leung found the nest of a Northern Pintail:
Today was all bright sunshine – cold wind but sunshine. We set out some traps by one of the nests in Sylvia Grinnell Park. The female managed to elude them consistently but the male, thinking just of his stomach got caught in the Potter Trap within the first 5 minutes.
On our way down to the other bunting nest in Sylvia Grinnell Park, David Hussell came upon the nest and eggs of an American Pipit – a nest that, in my experience, is very hard to find.
While checking out the 2nd bunting nest (we had no luck), a pair of Lapland Longspurs dropped by to see what all the commotion was about:
The 2nd bunting nest(SNBU19) has 7 eggs:
In the long run, the best thing that could happen would be to have people in in the Arctic banding birds up there, in their backyards so to speak. To this end Enooyah Sudlovenick may be that person in Iqaluit. Currently she attends the University of Guelph but returns home as soon as school is finished to do contract work through the Summer. Enoo helped me this past week (and again today) and shows both a great interest and skill in this area. With some training in the Fall at Ruthven (handling a variety of passerines) and in the Winter with David Lamble (concentrating on Snow Buntings), she should be ready to band in Iqaluit next Spring. Now that would be exciting!
Long-time Arctic resident Glenn Williams has been a fount of useful information and contacts about birds and Arctic life. After hearing of the successful use of nest boxes by Snow Buntings in Arctic Bay, he made and just put up four which he’s hoping buntings will check out this Fall (after fledging) and will use next Spring. If he gets the same buntings returning year after year, it will revolutionize the study of this hardy little bird.