Dividalen Fugelstation

Monday, August 19th 2019

Members of the Swaledale Ringing Team based at Foxglove have just returned from a fourth bird ringing expedition to Northern Norway. The Dividalen Fugelstation (bird station) is within the Arctic Circle close to the border with Sweden. It is in a valley that is used by thousands of birds on their migration. Whilst there, they ringed almost 1, 050 new birds.  Several young Fieldfares were a highlight as they are only found in the UK as adults when they overwinter here. Other thrushes ringed included Redwing and Song Thrushes.

An unusual find was this Greenland Redpoll, much bigger in size compared to its Scandinavian relatives and with a much larger bill. 

Tall elevator nets are used that have a pulley on each end so that the nets can be lowered in order to extract the birds. This means that even the high flying species can be monitored.

There are only a few hours of darkness and this is when the Boreal Owls hunt for their prey. Tengmalms, Hawk and Pygmy are the three species that are resident in this area and the team were lucky to catch all three. The Hawk Owl is a stunning animal, similar in size to a Tawny Owl with striking eyes and extremely sharp talons!

In contrast to the large, powerful Hawk Owl, the Pygmy Owls are only the size of a Song Thrush. They hunt for passerines and although small, they are strong enough to lift a large vole from the ground. 

Bluethroats were beginning to migrate and showed up in the nets both early in the morning and late in the evening. Twenty Bluethroats were ringed during the week.The blue and red plumage was just beginning to show on this juvenile male.

This species is only rarely seen in the UK.

In total 1, 039 birds of 26 different species were ringed. Sincere thanks to our hosts and volunteers from Dividalen Fugelstation for making this incredible experience possible. 

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