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Archive 2016 · Ruff in Arctic Norway (19 images)
  
 
squidfish
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Ruff in Arctic Norway (19 images)


Congratulations to squidfish for winning Feature Thread of the Week with 12 votes - View Previous Winners


Hi

At the start of June, I decided to make a return to the land of the midnight sun on the Varanger Peninsula in arctic Norway. My last visit there was in 2010 and I had some unfinished business with photographing Ruff which was one of the primary purposes of the trip. I expect some of you will not be familiar with Ruff as it is a bird of northern Europe and Russia, that breeds in arctic tundra regions. In my view this is one of the most spectacular and interesting wading bird (shore bird) species. In the breeding period, the males develop elaborate head and neck feathers with each male being unique in its colour and patterning.

The males gather up on traditional lek sites to display to each other to gain dominance and catch the eye of visiting females for breeding. The males can be split into three types. Those with a dark or ginger neck and head colours which are territorial on the lek, those with white colours which are non-territorial satellite males and sneaky ones which resemble females. The territorial males tolerate the satellite males as more birds on a lek results in more females visiting. Behaviour on the lek is all about display with the birds standing upright, crouching, fluffing up their plumes, lunging and flapping their wings. Occasionally a fight will break out between the males which are short, frantic and brutal. All this activity takes place in complete eerie silence. For a lot of the time the males are just stood around on the lek with occasional posturing towards each other. When a female flies in all hell breaks loose.

During the trip we did two morning sessions on the lek. The first starting at 4 am and the second at 3am. On the first visit we had no hide and the birds were already on the lek when we arrived, so we ended up wading through the adjacent lake, as the bank provided cover, and slithering up the bank very slowly to get close to the birds in what is a sensitive time and location for them. That morning we had all four seasons of weather thrown at us as we lay on the ground. For the second visit we used a doghouse hide (blind) which we hired from the hotel (my kind of hotel!!) where we were staying, which made for some more comfortable photography. For those of you interested all images were taken with the 1dx mk2 with a 600mm lens with and without the 1.4TC.

Below is a selection of images from the two morning sessions.

#1 A close look at the elaborate head and neck feathers

http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k217/squidfish_2006/FM%20posts/Ruff-07-06-16-046.jpg

#2 We called this bird, rather unimaginatively, 'Ginger'.

http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k217/squidfish_2006/FM%20posts/Ruff-06-06-16-053.jpg

#3 King of the Hill. This was the dominant bird on the lek. With some sun on them they have a wonderful iridescence to their feathers.

http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k217/squidfish_2006/FM%20posts/ruff-07-06-16-002.jpg

#4 Also available in white

http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k217/squidfish_2006/FM%20posts/Ruff-07-06-16-046-1.jpg

#5 and ginger

http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k217/squidfish_2006/FM%20posts/ruff-07-06-16-001-3.jpg

#6 or cream

http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k217/squidfish_2006/FM%20posts/Ruff-07-06-16-003-2.jpg

#7 or a mixture of the two

http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k217/squidfish_2006/FM%20posts/ruff-07-06-16-036-2.jpg

#8 We ended up getting very wet on the first visit.

http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k217/squidfish_2006/FM%20posts/Ruff-06-06-16-014.jpg

#9 One of the white coloured birds in wing flap which is a common display move

http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k217/squidfish_2006/FM%20posts/Ruff-07-06-16-007.jpg

#10 The dominant bird wing flapping

http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k217/squidfish_2006/FM%20posts/ruff-07-06-16-018-2.jpg

#11 'Ginger' getting in on the act too

http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k217/squidfish_2006/FM%20posts/Ruff-07-06-16-040-1.jpg

#12 Posturing to your rivals by crouching, spreading the wings to look bigger

http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k217/squidfish_2006/FM%20posts/Ruff-06-06-16-021.jpg

#13 Crouching down is a common display move

http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k217/squidfish_2006/FM%20posts/Ruff-06-06-16-047.jpg

#14 as is stalking around low

http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k217/squidfish_2006/FM%20posts/Ruff-07-06-16-021.jpg

#15 King of the Hill warning a satellite male to stay off his 1 sq yard patch of lek

http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k217/squidfish_2006/FM%20posts/ruff-07-06-16-052.jpg

#16 King of the Hill in position at 3:30am

http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k217/squidfish_2006/FM%20posts/Ruff-07-06-16-009-1.jpg

#17 Ginger fluffed up, wings down and strutting

http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k217/squidfish_2006/FM%20posts/Ruff-07-06-16-001.jpg

#18 Fights are infrequent and frantic and quite difficult to capture

http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k217/squidfish_2006/FM%20posts/Ruff-07-06-16-044-1.jpg

#19 Just beautiful birds

http://i89.photobucket.com/albums/k217/squidfish_2006/FM%20posts/Ruff-07-06-16-003.jpg

Overall it was a memorable trip with plenty of other birds photographed but the Ruff were the highlight. Hope you enjoyed.

Thanks

Rich

Edited on Jul 27, 2016 at 07:10 AM · View previous versions



Jul 25, 2016 at 10:33 AM
surfnron
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Ruff in Arctic Norway (19 images)


WOW Rich! These birds are beautiful and you captured them very well. This set is over the top and I'd be very happy with any one of these ~ Ron


Jul 25, 2016 at 12:13 PM
Ted ellis
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Ruff in Arctic Norway (19 images)


Very Elizabethan. Outstanding series


Jul 25, 2016 at 01:42 PM
onegreatcity
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Ruff in Arctic Norway (19 images)


Beautiful species and lovely images, very well done!


Jul 25, 2016 at 02:07 PM
Shasoc
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Ruff in Arctic Norway (19 images)


Great set, Rich! Very pleasing colors and tonality. Sharp detail against beautiful bg and interesting commentary
Socrate



Jul 25, 2016 at 03:56 PM
soupy
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Ruff in Arctic Norway (19 images)


What splendid shots of a magnificent bird.

Sue



Jul 25, 2016 at 04:53 PM
Scrumhalf
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Ruff in Arctic Norway (19 images)


Wow, what a spectacular series!


Jul 25, 2016 at 04:55 PM
Max_Pain
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Ruff in Arctic Norway (19 images)


Excellent job. Thanks for sharing.


Jul 25, 2016 at 05:24 PM
dallvr
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Ruff in Arctic Norway (19 images)


These are spectacular photos of a bird I have never heard of before. Terrific job!



Jul 25, 2016 at 05:55 PM
lighthound
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Ruff in Arctic Norway (19 images)


Wow! What a fantastic set!
It's almost like viewing a fashion show that is show casing various fancy hats.

Very nicely done!

Dave



Jul 25, 2016 at 05:58 PM
 

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kdacharya
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Ruff in Arctic Norway (19 images)


very very interesting and very nice done,Rich. Never seen this bird before. Thanks so much for sharing.


Jul 25, 2016 at 06:25 PM
mogul
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Ruff in Arctic Norway (19 images)


These are so nice, be prepared for photoing competition. As a fly fisherman, those capes really demand attention.


Jul 25, 2016 at 07:27 PM
morris
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Ruff in Arctic Norway (19 images)


These are beautifully photographed Richard

Morris



Jul 25, 2016 at 11:35 PM
DonGut
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Ruff in Arctic Norway (19 images)


I never realised there was so much variation in the feathering and colours of these birds. Excellent selection here and the "posturing" really shows off the incredible beauty of these animals.
Looks like I need to put that on my to do list!
Don



Jul 26, 2016 at 03:35 AM
canon.eos30d
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Ruff in Arctic Norway (19 images)


Amazing


Jul 26, 2016 at 03:42 AM
squidfish
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Ruff in Arctic Norway (19 images)


Many thanks for the comments and kind words . Hopefully there are some new ruff fans out there now.

I will do a second post from the trip showing the other birds and wildlife we encountered on our journey through Lapland and in Norway, once I have finished wading through the images.

Cheers

Rich



Jul 26, 2016 at 08:02 AM
Mike Veltri
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Ruff in Arctic Norway (19 images)


Sweet set of these stunning shorebirds.


Jul 26, 2016 at 08:12 AM
kmunroe
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Ruff in Arctic Norway (19 images)


an excellent set Rich


Jul 26, 2016 at 08:33 AM
plsand
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Ruff in Arctic Norway (19 images)


Hi -
Your words, and pictures are great - I enjoyed all -
Paul



Jul 26, 2016 at 12:15 PM
can0nfan2379
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Ruff in Arctic Norway (19 images)


Wow! Amazing set Richard!


Jul 26, 2016 at 01:34 PM
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