To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: 2006-2007
From: "Wim Vader" <>
Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2006 13:15:29 +0100

Here in Tromsø, Northern Norway at 70*N, the winter can't quite decide which 
way to turn, so we have had a succession of days with quite a lot of snow, 
which then rains away again, only for the cycle to start anew. Today, on New 
Year's Eve, it is a rainy day, so that we have even less daylight then normal, 
maybe 1-2 hours of twilight. Fortunately the ground is still white from the 
10-12 inches of snow from the last days, which helps considerably.

In the spruce trees of the neighbour's garden a flock of at least a hundred 
Bohemian Waxwings  has landed. Such flocks are a common sight these days; they 
profit from the bumper crops of Rowanberries this year, the same bumper crops 
that allows flocks of Fieldfares to still hang around, and that also feed the 
smaller flocks of Pine Grosbeaks, that for some reason mostly are found on the 
rowans on top of the island. The two tall spruce trees in the neighbour's 
garden serve only as a convenient landing place for the Waxwings, their real 
aim is the scattered Rowan (Mountain Ash) trees around, where they feed almost 
indifferent to the passers-by. Nevertheless, the whole flock suddenly explodes 
into the air, as a Sparrowhawk sneaks in low over the houses; I am unsure of 
whether he succeeded or not, it all went so quickly.

The forest is otherwise almost completely silent these days, as all the tits 
have trekked to the gardens and their feeders. The only sounds heard constantly 
are the Hooded Crows and the very common magpies, with now and then the deep 
croaks of the Ravens, that have moved into town wintertime. And the other day, 
to my great surprise, the indignant scolding of a male Blackbird, a bird that 
is not at all common on the island, but that seems to be one of those species 
that slowly but inexorably are moving gradulally further and further north.

The sound along the island is dark and full of waves (the sea here never 
freezes over) and only a few gulls move around, but from the middle of the 
sound the cooing of Common Eiders in love wafts across, and three Red-throated 
Mergansers fly low across the water surface. This is not the season for 
extensive fieldwork, but it IS the season for extra appreciation of all the 
contacts via the various bird lists. from the far north I wish everybody a 
healthy, happy and harmonious 2007, full of interesting birds.

                                                                  Wim Vader, 
Tromsø Museum
                                                                  9037 Tromsø, 

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