Bird nr 12

Subject: Bird nr 12
From: "Wim Vader" <>
Date: Sun, 05 Jan 2003 13:01:35 +0100

                                WHAT WAS BIRD NR 12, OR: IT IS HARD TO BE STUPID

        While the rest of Europe almost drowns in rain and storm, the calm, 
cold winter weather continues up here in Tromsø, N.Norway, although today
the combination of 10 degrees frost with the chilly Balsfjord wind, blowing
out the fjord from the much colder inland, makes for somewhat less
comfortable outdoor conditions. Riet flew home to her rain-soaked Holland
yesterday, and I decided to take the car today to fo fetch the Sunday
newspapers in town and work a few hours in the office.

        Having started down Vesterliveien, I wondered about the peculiar 
of my world this morning, and soon realized that once more I had set out
with my reading glasses on. Although the car probably by now, after 30 yrs
in Tromsø  (23 in this car), knows the way on its own, that still of course
won't do, so I turned around and parked in my driveway, in order to fetch
the right glasses. On alighting from the car, I heard a unfamiliar
bird-call from the trees at a neighbour's house. Now unfamiliar bird-calls
are rare here , especially in winter: this one sounded a bit like a
woodpecker (and Great Spotted Woodpeckers do occur here occasionally in
winter, erupting from the taiga forest further east where they nest), but
it still was not quite right. But of course my reading glasses offered
absolutely no solace; I could hardly find the trees with them. So I rushed
up to the house, upstairs, changed my glasses, fetched my field glasses,
and ran out again---to the normal absolute silense of winter Tromsø---no
bird to see or hear anywhere. So what was bird nr 12?

        Bird nr 11, by the way, was a fluffed up Great Tit, that scolded me,
prudently with its beak firmly closed, one cold morning along the path to
the museum. After dipping out on the mystery bird, I almost changed my ways
and went to the Shell-station for my newspapers, where i know there are
House Sparrows for nr 12. But that would be cheating!

                                                                        Wim Vader, 
Tromsø Museum
Tromsø, Norway

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