The worldwide Augustana College experience

Hi! My name is Claire Behnke. I am a Biology and Spanish major and will be starting my final year at Augustana in the fall. This summer I will be working in Greenland with Augustana’s geography professor, Dr. Jennifer Burnham as well as her husband Dr. Kurt Burnham and other researchers from the High Arctic Institute. The team has been doing research on birds breeding in Greenland for many years. This summer I will be helping with their project to better understand the migration of Black-legged Kittiwakes and Arctic Terns. We will be doing our research near the Thule Airbase located in Northwest Greenland. I am very excited to be a part of such an amazing research process and cannot wait for what this summer holds!

The Final Week

Saying goodbye to Dr. Burnham and Jeff Johnson on last week’s flight back to the US marked the beginning of our final week in Greenland, which meant there wasn’t going to be much more time spent out on the boat capturing birds and a lot of time was going to be devoted to packing the [...]

North and South of Thule

Finally we’ve had a break in the bad weather, so earlier this week we’ve been busy and have traveled North and South on the boat. Monday we finally made it up to Haklyut after about three attempts to get there before.  Our goal at Hakluyt was to sample Thick-Billed Murres and Dovekies so that we [...]

Rain Delay

This past week due to rain and heavy winds, the group has been stuck on base. Nevertheless it’s been a fun week full of new experiences. -We’ve said hello to a new team member (Doug Cause) and goodbye to another (Calen Offield).

Catching Kittiwakes and Downloading Data and a Few Other Surprises

This past week has been focused on catching passerines here on base and on catching Black-Legged Kittiwakes with geolocators on Saunder’s Island. It has been full of late nights, long hours on the boat, and getting pooped on. Our original plan on Sunday was to travel up North to catch Thick-Billed Murres and Dovekies and [...]

Camping out in Booth Sound

This past week, Sunday, July 8th to Saturday, July 14th, Bridger, Jeff and I camped out in Booth Sound. The goal for the week was to recapture the arctic terns that were banded with geolocators two years ago.  Last year they attempted to do the same, but only recaptured 1 out of about 24.  Our [...]

How to capture a Peregrine Falcon

Bridger, Jeff, and I just got back last night from almost a week camping out in Booth sound.  I’ll get to that excursion a little later, but first let me continue what I started about the peregrine and gyrfalcons. This group’s mission when it first started coming to Greenland in the 70′s was focused solely [...]

Peregrines and Gyrfalcons, but no sandpipers

These past three days have been action packed! In the course of three days, our team has captured two female peregrines and banded 9 gyrfalcon nestlings, but have failed to capture a pectoral sandpiper three times! In the course of accessing the peregrines and gyrfalcons, we’ve hiked up and down, many times.  It’s been a [...]

Chasing Wildlife on North Mountain

These past two days we’ve spent most of our time on North Mountain, which is a big mountain lining the Northern edge of base. There is a big valley in the middle of the mountain with a few large ponds/small lakes, that has a pretty lush tundra and is home to many birds. Yesterday, after [...]

Almost Ready! Let the Field Season Begin!

With the rest of the crew, Dr. Jennifer Burnham and Dr. Jeff Johnson, showing up in just two days, the boat and supplies are just about ready for the summer! For the most part, the logistics, restrictions, guns, and boat have all been sorted out. After waiting for the weekend to pass, yesterday 2 July [...]

Greenland Finally! Preparations for the Field Season Begin

GREENLAND FINALLY! June 29th, 2012 After a long ride of trying to get some sleep in before a big day in Greenland, we arrived! Flying into Greenland was an amazing site! Much of the Ocean was frozen in parts, and little icebergs were scattered across the ocean landscape.  Greenland itself is full of frosty looking [...]