Yes, this is Lapland. And, yes, we get a lot of reindeer here. At this time of the year in particular the reindeer are out and about enjoying the abundance of food. But, for some strange reason they like to visit the KAIRA site. Every day now, we're seeing them come through the array area. Sometimes there's just a lone one or perhaps a mother and baby. Other times, there can be groups of a dozen or so.
Now if they just wandered past and kept going, that wouldn't be so bad. However, they do get up to a bit of trouble.
They certainly like to live underneath the radar. Especially in the middle of the day when it gets quite warm (over 10 celsius), they like to go under the tiles and enjoy the shade.
Then there's distracting (or intimidating!) the KAIRA staff. In the next photograph, Stuart Keenan is surrounded!
Also in the above photograph, the one on the left is eating the sand. Oh, yes... that's the other problem. They liked to eat our trench sand!
We had a large pile of sand, which were were going to use for lining the cable trenches, but the reindeer ate it. The reason for this unusual behaviour is that the sand we had was gritting sand, used in winter for the roads. As a result, there was some salt in it, and the reindeer are craving salt.
However, it is sort of nice to have these animals about, regardless of the mess and mischief.
However, we really do need to get that reindeer fence built as quickly as possible. At the moment, the reindeer antlers are still soft, as they are covered with velvet. But in the autumn, this will be shed, leaving sharp-points... just perfect for puncturing antenna tiles.
Have a nice weekend!
Photos: D. McKay-Bukowski