We are done
This season's field word on the Svalbard rock ptarmigan is now finished. We've packed our equipment and journeyed back south. Our impression from the countings is that there are plenty of ptarmigans in Svalbard this year, and preliminary calculations also indicate this.
We depend on good weather conditions for counting ptarmigans. That means little wind and good visibility. This Easter we had a lot of wind from the north-east, which made it difficult for us to find locations with wind conditions suitable for counting. For some time, we didn't know if we would be able to finish on all locations, and it wasn't until Saturday 3 May we got to the very last ones.
This happened to be the same day as the Svalbard Ski Marathon, which started in the valley Todalen. We were working in the neighbouring valleys Endalen and Bolterdalen. Snowmobiles aren't allowed in these valleys, so we were out on skis, feeling relatively safe with the Governor of Svalbard's helicopter scouring the valleys for polar bears. That's one advantage of overlapping with the ski marathon. But we still carried the rifle on our back.
We'd like to close with a cartoon poem (in Norwegian) from a local Svalbardian friend we managed to inspire. It came out so good we think it deserves a spot here on the blog. And thanks to all who have been following us this month.