a summer snapshot from Tromsø

To: birding-aus <>, "Birdchat " <>
Subject: a summer snapshot from Tromsø
From: Vader Willem Jan Marinus <>
Date: Sat, 20 Jul 2013 11:11:24 +0000
                        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.

                                                                    Wim Vader, 
Tromsø Museum

Tromsø, Norway


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