Full, but cool, summer in Tromsø, N. NOrway

Subject: Full, but cool, summer in Tromsø, N. NOrway
From: Jude Latt <>
Date: Thu, 18 Jul 2013 02:12:13 -0400 (EDT)
Definitely not too many plants Wim ...  I even googled a few to see what they 
looked like.

-----Original Message-----
From: Vader Willem Jan Marinus <>
To: birding-aus <>; birdchat 
<>; ebn <>; , 
Sent: Wed, Jul 17, 2013 10:33 pm
Subject: [Birding-Aus] Full, but cool, summer in Tromsø, N. NOrway

Northern Norway has had a somewhat uncommon summer: May and June were warm (by 
our standards) and dry here, while the rest of the country complained about 
and low temperatures. But around the end of June the situation changed 
completely: on 1 July we had 50mm of rain, and since then we have had only a 
single day without rain, while te maximum temperatures fell from the low 
twenties to 10-12*C.

But of course we still have summer (In fact, this weather is more common up 
in summer than the warm spells of May-June). Now our two months of midnight sun 
are almost over (21 July the sun will go down again before midnight) and the 
roadside vegetation here on the island is dominated by the 'Tromsø palms', 
Heracleum forbs, that may grow to 3-4m tall, with very large white flower 
(often full of flies). They were imported from Russia well over a century ago, 
and do almost too well here in town.

Otherwise the carpets of violet Cranebills Geranium in the woodlands and  white 
Cow Parsley Anthriscus in the meadows are rapidly fading now, the Dwarf Cornel 
Cornus suecica has exchanged its white flowers for red (insipid) berries, and 
the ditches the violet Butterwort Pinguicula has made place for the beautiful 
'innocent' flowers of the Grass of Parnassus Parnassia. Dominent now in the 
meadows and also in many woodlands are the tall creamy white flowers of the 
Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria (very popular with the bumblebees), while here 
and there there are dense and often extensive patches of the very conspicuous 
Rosebay (Fireweed) Chamerion angustifolium. Most patches, so conspicuous that 
they can easily be seen from a landing plane, are a vivid red violet, but a few 
are pink instead (the entire patch, makes one wonder how they reproduce and 

For birds this is not a very ideal season. There is no bird song anymore, most 
ducks are in eclipse and hide, and the migration of shorebirds has not yet 
started.(On two excursions, last Friday (the one day without rain) and this 
morning (in the rain) I failed to see a single Greylag Goose, a common nesting 
bird in the area, and today I did not even get a Mallard on the day list!) I 
drove to the often described wetlands of Tisnes, an agricultural low-lying 
peninsula some 30 km from Tromsø on the outlying large island of Kvaløya. The 
area consists of very wet meadows adjacent to the shore, with a few ponds that 
are often productive. The 'horse ponds', close to the road and used by the many 
horses of one of the local farms, have a very broad fringe of Marestail 
vulgaris, with also stands of a species of Willow-herb Epilobium and Marsh 
Cinquefoil Potentilla palustris, with in spring lots of  golden Marsh Marigold 
Caltha. Here there were young Lapwings Vanellus, still a single Golden Plover 
(there were many more earlier), a couple of Ruffs and Reeves , and a few 
Redshank. Around the pond frolicked lots of mostly young White Wagtails, and 
above hunted Sand Martins (Bank Swallows). In the other. larger pool, further 
from the road, swam the great surprise of the day, a Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna 
ferruginea, a bird that does not belong in N. Norway at all and which I have 
never seen here before; I suppose we will never know whetherthis is a genuine 
vagrant or an escapee. A Wigeon walked past with 8 young and as everywhere here 
now, there are also  here young Eiderducks.

The chalk rich meadow here used to have a very diverse vegetation, but the 
horses have damaged the area quite a bit. Still, there are lots of flowers 
still, and I was much surprised to find some very late flowers of Purple 
Saxifrage, my harbinger of spring in N. Norway, as well as the very first 
flowers of Felwort Gentianella, usually one of the last flowers to come here. 
('Bien étonnés de se trouver ensemble'!). Aftre a long search I found a single 
plant of my favourite tiny fern Moonwort Bostrychium, for which I searched in 
vain last summer. Redshanks and Oystercatchers alarmed all the time I was 
and i also found a Curlew with large young. A young Garden Warbler was a .

The day list counted only 26 birds (just as last Friday on the other side of 
Kvaløya, although there with 9 different birds), but it is always good to get 
out in the field. Tell me, if there are too many plants in this stiry for a 
birding list!

                                                         Wim Vader, Tromsø 

Tromsø, Norway


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