15. Red-necked Phalarope. Seen only twice, although this is the 'normal' phalarope on Svalbard, and I have seen them much more frequently on earlier visits.
16. Red (Grey) Phalarope. A relative newcomer here, we saw this somewhat more southern species on three occasions.
They seem to be increasing in numbers. All phalaropes in pools in Adventdalen, near Todalen.
17. Glaucous Gull. The common large gull here, concentrating near the dog houses, the refuse tip, and the Eider colonies.
I saw no Greenland Gulls, although there are often 1 or 2 around.
18. Black-headed Gull. Should not be here so far north, but we saw first one and the next day even two adults in full summer plumage along the shore.
19. Kittiwake. By far the most numerous gull here, although I saw no colonies. Sizeable flocks often loaf (and roost?) on the larger pools, especially the lagunes near the airport.
20. Ivory Gull. A single adult on the shore near the observation hut, where it acted more like a scavenger.
These nest much farther north, but single birds can somewhat regularly be observed here in summer, and this was my second here.
21. Arctic Skua (Parasitic Jaeger). These fantastic flyers were surprisingly common, often in pairs, and in most cases not too far from the shore. They were foraging like gulls in the intertidal, and I never saw them chase; too early in
the season, no doubt.
22. Arctic Tern. Just arriving, and the numbers increased during the week.
Common, not yet aggressive.
23. Brunnich's Guillemot. Several at sea, watched from the shore. I thought I also saw a few Puffins, but they were too far offshore to be sure.
24. Black Guillemot. Common, and often foraging close to the shore.
They seem larger than the ones near Tromsøya
25. Little Auk (Dovekie) The most numerous bird species on Svalbard, with vast colonies on the stony slopes of the high hills. Swarm as Starlings, and their trills are one of the most characteristic sounds of the area.
26. Snow Bunting. The only songbird here, and present everywhere: common in town, but also found on the shore, on wet and dry tundra, and around the buildings of the coal mines. The males are very beautiful and conspicuous,
and they often deliver their simple pleasant jingle in a short, charming song flight. The buntings nest in every hole they can find, regularly in the snow scooters, that are parked for the short summer season.
Nothing special, but this is an area most of you will never get to visit, and it may therefore still be of interest to hear about the common birds here.
Wim Vader, Tromsø, Norway