The sun is back in Tromsø

Subject: The sun is back in Tromsø
From: "Wim Vader" <>
Date: Sun, 02 Feb 2003 11:26:49 +0100

                                THE SUN IS BACK IN TROMSØ, N.NORWAY

When I write this, 10 45 on a Sunday morning, the sun just peeps from
behind one of our many surrounding hills, and ---clouds willing, it will
remain visible over the Balsfjord for two hours. That may seem little to
you, but for us it is every year again a great experience, after two months
no sun at all here at almost 70*N. January this year has been among the
coldest months recorded in the last 100 years, with the mean temp. 3'C
lower than the 30 yrs average. Still, we do not complain; apart from the
aggravation caused by the galloping prices of electricity (There is
insufficient water in the magazines of our hydrodynamic power plants, and
in very many houses (mine too) virtually all of the heating is by
electricity), cold winter weather is much more pleasant than the outbreaks
of Atlantic weather that bring rain, icy roads and impossibly slippery
paths that we get a few times most winters (but not as yet in this one).
And Tromsø being on an island surrounded by open sea water never gets
really cold either. The other  night, when Kautokeino on the Finnmarksvidda
had -42*C, and Øverbygd in our own inland -34*C, the temp. here on the
island stopped at -11*C, quite a difference. (By the way, the weather
forecast this morning predicted 'considerably milder weather' for the
Kautokeino area, with temperatures 'soaring' to -22*C; not exceptionally
mild in my book). The snow level is about normal, ca 3 ft on the ground.

With the return of the sun and somewhat longer days I also once more see my
own garden in daylight, and that may well be a main rerason for also seeing
more birds there. Yesterday the first Greenfinches were on the feeders;
these are young birds and not much green at all, but they are always easily
recognized by the telltale yellow wing stripe. Otherwise the feeder mainly
attracts tits: Great and Willow Tits, and yesterday there were so many that
a passing Sparrow Hawk showed some interest and in that way also insinuated
herself on my meagre year list. And today I had the first Bullfinch of the
year, and not only that; the frozen Rowanberries were eagerly harvested by
a small flock of Bohemian Waxwings, hanging like overgrown tits from quite
thin branches---the 'easier berries' have long since been taken by the

I have as yet not really explored the possibilities iof the sound and its
wintering ducks---we have had a lot of wind the last week, and before that
I was always at work during the short poeriod of daylight, but
yesterday---an uncommonly chilly day with strong winds from the frozen
inland blowing out the fjord--- two immaculately white Glaucous Gulls
played in the wind over the sound, gibving an extra touch of Arctic to the

And my yearlist?  All the way up to 21 birds by now, with  5 more probably
within easy reach on the sound (Mallard, Long-tailed Duck, King Eider,
Velvet Scoter,Willow Grouse; and there is also an Iceland Gull in town).
I'll list these twenty for you, so you have an idea of what little we have
here in midwinter, and you can avoid coming birding here in this season,
sight-seeing is another matter, the area is beautiful any time a year!

Yearlist per 2-2-2003. Cormorant,  Grey Heron, Common Eider, Common Scoter,
Red-throated Merganser, Sparrow Hawk, White-tailed Sea Eagle, Great
Black-backed Gull, Glaucous Gull, Herring Gull, Bohemian Waxwing,
Fieldfare, Great Tit, Willow Tit, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Bullfinch,
Pine Grosbeak, Hooded Crow, Northern Raven, Magpie.

                                                        Wim Vader, Tromsø Museum
                                                        9037 Tromsø, Norway

Birding-Aus is on the Web at
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message
"unsubscribe birding-aus" (no quotes, no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU