A SUMMER SNAPSHOT FROM TROMSØ, N. NORWAY
It still looks like we have already HAD most of our 2013 summer during May and
June up here, while our national newspapers, all printed in Oslo, crow about
'the best July in many years'.. The last weeks it is up here invariably cool,
grey and wet. This morning, however, when I had some shopping to do in the big
new shopping center near our airport, it did not actually rain, although the
skies were threatening enough (It started again when I drove home). I decided
to have a look at the rests of the nice nature area between the airport and the
sound---most of it has been sacrificed for the expansion of the airport and the
main road skirting it. What is left is a small area of rough ground, totally
overgrown with forbs, now mostly Meadowsweet (Filipendula) in flower, with here
and there Valerian Valeriana and the strangely named stiffly upright Melancholy
Thistle Cirsium heterophyllum; there are also several willow copses and a large
WW II German bunkers. There is a small sandy beach and at low water some
skerries and an area of stony mudflats surface.
I had hoped to find some early migrating shorebirds, but the tide was too high,
and the only shorebirds were the loudly alarming redshanks and oystercatchers,
that nest locally. There are also many nesting Common Gulls and Arctic Terns in
the area; their young are now so large that the parents have become less
directly aggressive, but they still hang overhead and mutter unpleasantnesses.
Suddenly this overhead screen morphed into a scolding mob, and the cause turned
out to be a Sparrow Hawk that flew over, and quite easily outmanoeuverd its
attackers. It may have been after the many small flocks of young Greenfinches
and especially Redpolls in the willows .
On the shore there are everywhere Eiders with young of varying ages, and of
course large gulls, Herring and Great Black-backed, and Hooded Crows. A single
Cormorant had returned to a skerry---they are common outside the nesting
season, but disappear in summer to nest elsewhere . On the many paths in the
area (Lots of people walk their dogs here) the nice white Grass of Parnassus
Parnassia is now in full flower also here, with also Yellow Rattle Rhinanthus
(moneygrass, my kids called that) much to the fore. Our airport area also is
one of the places where the ubiquitous Yarrow Achillea millefolium is
accompanied by its locally introduced congener Sneezewort A. ptarmica. This
time a single Sedge Warbler still sang its enthousiastic potpourri; last week
they were all silent. And as always there are Meadow Pipits in the rough
meadows, and White Wagtails along the beaches.
Just a short snapshot.
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