Other Wildlife in Svalbard
August 2010
There was lots of other wildlife to see in Svalbard.

One night Adam woke us up with a call to tell us that there was a Fin Whale, the second largest whale on the planet. The
whale was feeding, and the birds followed in its wake to take advantage of the stirred up water.
Getting down from the bunk bed to see the whale,
Jackie took a spill and thought she had broken her
foot. Not wanting to miss the Fin Whale, she got
herself up on deck. Afterwards, I contacted the crew
and the first mate bandaged up her foot. Fortunately,
after a couple days, Jackie was able to walk ok.

A couple hours after the fin whale incident, Adam got
us up to see an amazing sight, 400,000 Thick-billed
Murre.nesting on one big cliff. It was 1 a.m. in the
morning, and the sky was filled with birds and the
sound of all these birds was outrageous.  
There were lots of Arctic Terns. These two were so busy making whoopee that they hardly paid attention to me taking their
picture.
If we came too close to an Arctic Tern nest, they were quick to let us know that we were intruding.
We saw reindeer on
several occasions. This
area was unusually green
and grassy as the ground
was directly under a bird
cliff where it was well
fertilized. Only a short
distance away from the
cliff, the grassy area
ended.
Foxes frequently
reside under the
cliffs as birds and
bird eggs are a
primary source of
food for the
Arctic Fox. Close
by we watched
three fox sibling
at play.
Ironically, we did not get a good look at the bearded seals, but we did get quite close to these harbor seals which live on
the milder side of Svalbard.
Mostly, the ground appears to be just a bunch of rocks. Curiously, in this harsh climate, a closer look revealed lots of very
small flowers growing close to the ground
Below, Moss Campion.
Snow Buttercup
Sorrel
Lichen, prime reindeer food.
This was a plant that Adam had never seen before. His fingers give you an idea of the size of the plants.