What does the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpolls look like after moulting their plumage? To answer this question, I took the plane to Greenland at the end of October 2017...
Thursday October 19th, Friday October 20th
I travelled from Schiphol Airport to Copenhagen and from Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq (Greenland). I stayed at the hotel ‘Old Camp’, two kilometers from the airport. When I arrived in Kangerlussuaq, the temperature was minus 7 degrees Celsius, and it had snowed for a few days, making the landscape white. During a short walk I watched: Raven, Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll and Snow Buntings. These are all bird species I will see during this trip. At a house nearby the airport I found a crowded feeder visited by an estimated 50 redpolls and 10 Snow Buntings.
Saturday October 21st
It was cloudy, temperature around minus 9 degrees and there was some snowfall during the day. I took pictures of the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpolls which worked out well.
Sunday October 22nd
When I woke up I saw it was snowing, the perfect weather conditions for shooting! I spent the morning and afternoon photographing redpolls. A redpoll even landed on my head: I felt honoured!
Monday October 23rd
This day I took only a few photos, because the weather conditions were not that good. I enjoyed the surroundings and the beautiful redpolls. As a lunch dish I chose a soup with Musk Ox meat. The next day I will make an excursion to see Musk Ox. Now that I have eaten the soup, I already know how they taste. Hopefully I will see them soon!
Tuesday October 24th
In the morning I had booked a ‘private tour’ to see the musk oxen. Guided by the friendly Dane, called Laust, we soon found two female oxen. Later we found a male ox, but after an apparent attack, I left him alone. I was impressed by the behaviour of the imposing animals and chose to be careful.
Wednesday October 25th
This day I had a last possibility to take pictures of the redpolls, the trip has almost come to an end.
Thursday October 26th – Saturday October 28th
Due to a considerable delay, I missed my connecting flight to Amsterdam. I had to stay for a night in Copenhagen before I could fly back to Amsterdam, but finally I landed safely at Schiphol Airport. All’s well that ends well!
The research question was how the Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll looked after moulting their plumage. The answer: in comparison with the plumage in Spring, the feathers have less wear and a deeper chamois-buff wash around the face. Quite simple!
You know the stripes of a tiger are hard to change...
Some first calendar year Hornemann’s Arctic Redpolls (note the worn tertials):
A movie of Hornemann’s Arctic Redpolls
A movie of Hornemann’s Arctic Redpolls on the feeder