So many people have reacted nicely to my piece"Sunday morning walk in
Tromsoe", that I can`t write them all personally and thank them, so I`ll do
it this way. I`ll go on then sending these bird snapshots "from your
antipodes" now and then, although the first months ahead will yield very
few birds, because of the rapidly decreasing daylength superposed on the
few birds present anyhow.
A little general information for the people who asked about this.
is a town of ca 55 000 people, situated on an island, Tromsoeya, in a fjord
at ca 70*N in northern Norway. The island is ca 10 miles long and not more
than 150 m high, the surrounding hills are from 600-1200 m high. The
Norwegian sea is about 40 km W of us, as the crow flies, but 60-70, as the
car drives. The fjords around the island do not freeze over ("Gulf Stream",
that also brought us the world`s northernmost Leathery Turtle Dermochelys
coriacea last month), but Tromsoe gets a lot of snow, and the land is
snow-covered from ca October to late May. Because of the open water,
temperatures are not low in winter, rarely colder than -15*C; inland it can
get -40 or even -50 sometimes.
The natural vegetation here near the coast is birch forest with some
Rowanberries Sorbus and Aspen Populus, and Alder forest Alnus along the
rivers; in the inland there are Pine forests. None of the trees are high,
and in town there are many exotic trees planted in. Firs Picea are commonly
planted for wood, but are not native here ( "They never made it back
afterthe last glacial").
The sounds around the island are the sill of the Balsfjord, and are not
deeper than 40-80 m, while the fjords themselves are usually much deeper.
I myself came to Norway from Holland more than 30 years ago, am a
at the Regional museum, and teach at the university. Tromsoe Museum (well
worth visiting!) has been here since 1872; the university is only 30 years
old and has ca 6000 students. Tromsoe is by far the biggest place in all of
northern Scandinavia (But Murmansk in NW Russia is 10x as big again), so we
have more facilities than one would expect in a place this size. And yes,
for those who asked, the famous "snow-soccer match" involving Chelsea 2
weeks ago was played here in town, and Tromsoe won!
PS. Would Peter Menkhorst please contact me? My mail to him bounced.
Wim Vader, Tromsoe
9037 Tromsoe, Norway