first song at 70*N

Subject: first song at 70*N
From: "Wim Vader" <>
Date: Mon, 02 Feb 1998 09:39:39 +0100

                These days we have wonderful, "Lillehammerish" winter weather 
in Tromsø,
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 
territorial song
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 
early, but
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 
the Magpies
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 
ten of
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

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