Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll Autumn 2017

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.

Groenland 17 AZ9A2817
Old Camp

Groenland 17 AZ9A2840     Sneeuwgors 17 AR9A3385

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.

Witstuitbarmsijs 17 AR9A2591     Witstuitbarmsijs 17 AR9A3648

Witstuitbarmsijs 17 AZ9A2890     Chris 17 AZ9A2912

Witstuitbarmsijs 17 AR9A3452     Witstuitbarmsijs 17 AR9A3168

Witstuitbarmsijs 17 AR9A3564

Witstuitbarmsijs 17 AR9A3891

Witstuitbarmsijs 17 AR9A3986     Witstuitbarmsijs 17 AR9A3906

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!

Witstuitbarmsijs 17 AR9A5167

Chris 17 AZ9A3057     Witstuitbarmsijs 17 AR9A5423

Witstuitbarmsijs 17 AR9A5756     Witstuitbarmsijs 17 AR9A6212

Witstuitbarmsijs 17 AR9A5913

Witstuitbarmsijs 17 AR9A6233     Witstuitbarmsijs 17 AR9A6304

Witstuitbarmsijs 17 AR9A6519

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!

Witstuitbarmsijs 17 AR9A6444     Witstuitbarmsijs 17 AR9A6850

Groenland 17 AZ9A3203

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.

Groenland 17 AZ9A3187

Muskusos 17 AR9A7228     Muskusos 17 AR9A7642

Muskusos 17 AR9A7816

Wednesday October 25th
This day I had a last possibility to take pictures of the redpolls, the trip has almost come to an end.

Witstuitbarmsijs 17 AR9A8678

Witstuitbarmsijs 17 AZ9A2997

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