Subject: SHOREBIRDS AT 70*n
From: "Wim Vader" <>
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2003 09:38:03 +0200


The drought problem , about which I complained last time---and which may
have seemed puny to many of you who live in really dry climates anyway---
ended soon after, as last Wednesday we got 38mm of rain, a new July record
for this town, where it rains often, but usually not very much. But this
last weekend has been wonderful again, and yesterday the forecast rain did
not materialize as yet (some came in the night) and instead we had in fact
the warmest summer day up till now, with Nordreisa, a bit north of here,
the warmest place in the whole country with 28.7*C, and Tromsø not far
behind. And this night temperatures many places around here did not fall
much below 20*, so-called 'tropical nights' in meteorological parlance,
also quite uncommon up here.

The Fireweed Epilobium is now in full bloom and the large fiercely violet
patches must be quite visible from a plane. There are also large areas full
of Meadow-Sweet Filipendula ulmaria, but these are not quite a tight-packed
as the Fireweed. At Tisnes the Felwort Gentianella amarella is now
out,  many white-flowered instead of the usual violet. The Goldenrods
attract many Bumblebees, and there are small blue butterflies around. The
berries here are  Cowberries Vaccinium vitis-idaea----Tyttebær, much
beloved here in Norway both in jams and at the dinner table---, but these
won't be red and ripe until the end of August and are still green.
Myrtleberries, V. myrtillus, on the other hand , are now soon ripe for
picking, and are very coomon everywhere in the birch forest, while the
wetter places have Bogberries V. uliginosum (and of course the famous
multer Rubus chamaemorus), and the heath Crowberries Empetrum
hermaphroditicum, only good for making juice or even liqueur.

I had to work most of the weekend, but on Sunday afternoon I drove a short
trip to the wetlands at Tisnes, where the pools now once more held some
water, though the ducks still keep in hiding. But on the mudflats around
the shorebirds (called 'vadere' here in Norway, and therefore often giving
rise to many jokes about my name!) are clearly on the move, although coming
just half an hour too late, I probably missed many of the smaller 'peeps'
(I saw a large flock at the airport when I drove home.). The tide was
ebbing when I arrived, and Oystercatchers were strung out along the entire
water-line, many wading belly-deep, others keeping to the dry mud. The
'waders' were accompanied by a small group of Bar-tailed Godwits and here
and there Spotted Redshanks, also a species that prefers to get its feet
wet.  There are also Redshanks around, although many also are still on
territory, and small flocks of Ruffs and Reeves forage in the marshy aras
above the waterline. Somewhat to my surprise, there are in addition
sizeable numbers of Golden Plovers, adult birds with black bellies, and
these mostly prefer to keep their feet dry. Both Curlews and Whimbrels fly
overhead, but the lapwings that have nested here, seem to be gone. Fewer
smaller shorebirds, as I said. I hear a Turnstone scold, there are here and
there a few Dunlins, and the first Little Stint, that becomes nr 222 on my
this year somewhat meagre year list; no phalaropes this time.

                                                                Wim Vader, 
Tromsø Museum
                                                                9037 Tromsø, 

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