Field Journal: Syöte National Park

Located on the divide between the Finnish Lakeland and the Lapland lies Syöte National Park. The name ‘Syöte’ comes from the ancient Sami language, meaning ‘blessed’, and the indigenous Sami people have used the land for thousands of years. Traces of ancient Sami use can still be found in the park, but there are many other traces of land use from more recent times.

In the 1500’s, people began settling in the area, bringing their slash-and-burn tradition with them. They began clearing the land of trees to use as agriculture, often times accidentally setting forests…

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Field Journal: Kleptoparasitism

Today I walked over Foster Island to Union Bay where I expected to see ducks – and see ducks I did, along with coots. There were a hundred coots, if not more, among other waterfowl in the bay near the boardwalk which connects Foster and Marsh Islands. The vast majority of birds were American Coots which were busy diving for aquatic vegetation, but mixed in were a fair number of American Wigeon and a few Gadwall and Ring-necked Ducks. I’ve had a fascination with the dynamics between the coots and other ducks for a few years because they’re a regular winter presence in Lake Washington and I see them often. In the winter the coots will come together creating rafts hundreds of birds strong which is rather curious. The fact that wigeons are always found with the coots is also curious. I’ve read in the past that wigeons are…

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