FROM TROMSØ, NORTHERN NORWAY, AN EARLY WINTER MORNING
These days we have wonderful, "Lillehammerish" winter weather
N.Norway: calm, clear skies, ca 60-70 cm of fluffy snow, and this morning
about 15* frost (translates to ca 10*F; it never gets really cold here at
the coast).The snow is full of small priceless diamonds, whereever you
look, even up in the trees. being so cold, it is much less slippery, so
easy to walk.
The sun is back (During February alone daylengths will increase
by 4 1\2
hours!), and I now walk to work in the twilight (Sun up is at ca 10 30).
This morning several Great Tits Parus major were singing lustily, and there
even was some kind of song-duel between one "sawing" tee-tew tee-tew in a
birch tree right above my head (our trees are not tall, maybe 5 m tops),
and a neighbouring bird answering too-tee too-tee.
The Willow Tits Parus montanus usually don`t start their
until spring, but they have a very rapid trilled mumble, that I virtually
only hear in winter, and that is not mentioned in most bird-guides.
The greenfinches Carduelis chloris usually also start very
this winter they have been strangely scarce around town, and I have not
seen them at all as yet in my patch between home and work.
Otherwise the birch forest is silent, only the chattering of
Pica pica and the scolding of the tits, who hate magpies (and have good
reason to) is heard, as well as increasingly often a far away long call
from a Great Black-backed Gull or Herring Gull over the fjord.
In my garden this winter is still Bullfinch winter, with up to
these beautiful quiet finches (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) competing for my
sun-flower seeds. No greenfinches there either, only Great and Willow tits
besides the Bullfinches.
So, basically nothing new to report, only the type of winter
that we like best.
Wim Vader, Tromsø Museum
9037 Tromsø, Norway