A NEW YEAR AT TROMSØ, N.NORWAY
1999 ended in a storm of fireworks, almost obscuring a magnificent display
of the northern lights. At first light (10 30 am !) the next morning, I
looked out into the murky twilight, and saw two Hooded Crows swirl in the
brisk winds, first birds of the year!
The feeders, which I had refilled on my return from Cape Town 2 weeks ago,
have unexpectedly already attracted quite a number of Willow and Great Tits
; especially the first mentioned species hammers very exuberantly at the
sunflower seeds, which they probably only just can manipulate. On the
ground below the feeder no less than 6 Bullfinches (as always, 3 pairs)
form their own Christmas card in the snow (We have not much more than 2
feet of snow just now). Bird nr 5 is the other regular garden visitor, the
Black-billed Magpie, walking and skipping over the snow in the front garden.
A walk in the birch forest and along the shore did not add much, as the
wind wipped up the fjord so that birds were hard to see (It never gets
really light here at 70*N in mid winter). But there were some Great
Black-backed Gulls, some shore-hugging mallards, and a lone Cormorant low
over the water.
On 2 January Riet and I ventured across icy roads to Kvaløya, to enjoy the
dark light of midwinter (Strange metaphor, but that is what it feels
like!). That also netted sundry Herring Gulls, a Raven on the shore, some
Common Eiders, a small flock of Common Scoters, and a lone Red-breasted
Merganser, as well as a massive White-tailed Sea Eagle sitting in the
intertidal. On return home I heard a Greenfinch fly up from the feeder; but
by then, 2 pm, it is already quite dark here in Tromsø.
Some 15 bird species, a list that won't grow much the coming three months.
I wish everybody a great year, with happy birding and enjoyment of the
Wim Vader, Tromsø Museum
9037 Tromsø, Norway
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