Today was the first full day on site. After a good night sleep the morning began with a grey sky above and a cold westerly wind blowing in off of a still frozen sea. After breakfast I received a full site safety briefing and went through accessing and using the Satellite phone, VHF Radios, First Aid kits, and all other camp regulations. We are not allowed to store any food or toiletries in our personal tents , again due to the possibilities of Bears being able to smell them and as said before we only have one electric fence wire and this is used around the camp kitchen and office. After this we went out in to the surrounding area and began to survey the lakes and channels. "HRG" took a pack raft over to one of the Islands and as I sat there scanning the nearby area Arctic Skua's patrolled the area above me , Glaucous Gulls flew by being mobbed by Arctic Terns.
"It is whilst I sit here alone I find myself realising that the Tundra is a hostile, bleak, harsh, cold and desolate place yet there is something very inviting and peaceful as if almost soothing about it. I am wrapped up in several layers of heavy duty clothing and by late afternoon for the first time today the sun appears from the clouds and I can feel its warmth on my face. It seems very peaceful and for the first time in a very long time I am actually starting to feel at peace and ease with myself and try not to think back on stressful and aggravating things from back home..
A Red Knot and an American Golden Plover fly past together. Dunlin, Semi Palmated & Western Sandpipers can all be heard and seen either holding territory or carrying out display flights.
We continue to survey the area to early evening and as we head back a quick scan of the camp lake produced a cracking pair of Long Billed Dowitchers feeding just on the edge of the Shoreline. I do not have my Scope and Tripod with me as I have a pack full of equipment, extra clothing and also I am carry a shotgun and also a can of Pepper spray (both Bear deterrents) We lay down on the soft tundra surface and watch the Dowitchers for a bit before heading back to camp. We have dinner and then carry out our daily journal and systematic list. After this is it is around 23:00hrs and with light good I went back out in order to try and see some of the Waders on the lake. It was being at the lake I realised how much it reminded me of Tacumshin bog in Ireland (for those of you who have been there) except about 3 times the size. All the photos and video here in this posting were taken at that time between 23:00 and 01:00 hrs. It felt strange going out alone and checking equipment, Bins, Scope, Tripod, camera, spare Batteries, Pepper Spray, Shotgun, spare ammunition. "You know just the usual"
As the first full day is coming to end I sit in the tented office and think back on the events of the day. All in All Rather a privileged position to be in wouldn't you agree ? and as far back as I can remember I have wanted to get in to the Arctic Tundra.
"Just one thing missing a "Decent cup of Tea with a splash of semi skimmed milk "Oh god now I am starting to get withdrawal symptoms from missing my Tea.