Lemmings

and their predators

Lemmings are the staple food for most of the land predators in the Arctic. Gyrfalcon, Rough-legged Buzzard, Snowy Owl and Pomarine and Long-tailed Skua’s all feed on these small rodents. Due to the permafrost, the cold winters and the isolated position of the archipelago there are no lemming on Spitsbergen. So all these birds are also missing on Spitsbergen. Only a few Long-tailed Skua’s are breeding on Blomstrandhalføya every year. This year I saw several Long-tailed Skua’s outside of this small island. This one I found sitting on a log (Siberian drift wood) near Nordenskioldbreen. Without their favorite food present, they have adopted the kleptoparasitic way of feeding of their Arctic relatives.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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