few year birds, but one surpise

To: Birding-Aus <>, "Birdchat " <>, sabirdnet <>
Subject: few year birds, but one surpise
From: Willem Jan Marinus Vader <>
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 2017 15:02:00 +0000
                 Few year-birds in Tromsø, but one surprise

A week ago I  sent a mail, complaining about a surfeit of weather here in 
N.Norway these last weeks and telling that my 2017 year list now stood at all 
of 5 birds. Since then we have had two more winter storms, rainy days followed 
by snow and vice versa, with as a result often extremely slippery and icy 
roads: a bus with youngsters on its way to a large handball tournament here in 
Tromsø was blown off the road and capsized day before yesterday; fortunately no 
one was seriously injured and they continued with another bus (It is a 6-7 hrs 
trip from Alta) and played their matches!. But yesterday night we got 25 cm of 
fresh snow and it is easier today to get around on foot (with 'brodder', extra 
soles with studs, under my shoes), although for cars it clearly still  is 
dangerous (many minor accidents today). The temperature is around freezing, the 
wind has abated some, and we have already clearly a bit more daylight than 
around Christmas (2 weeks until the sun peeps above the horizon again for a 
short while around noon).

My year-list has soared all the way up to 7 species. Number 6 was a flock of 
House Sparrows (Common, but very patchy here), but nr 7 was a real surprise, a 
male European Blackbird rummaging about in the snow near the museum this 
morning. This is one more southern species that slowly is expanding northwards, 
most probably a result of global warming. I  have seen blackbirds (always 
males) here once or twice in the last three winters, once even in my garden, 
but only once before in the almost 40 years I have lived here. There ARE 
blackbirds in the forest a bit south of here, where one hears the wonderful 
song in spring; but there  they are quite shy forest birds, just as they 
probably were in most of Europe in earlier centuries.

The Blackbird is not the only newcomer here in Tromsø in the last years. Since 
2 years I have quite regularly Blue Tits in my garden, and also the Jay is now 
seen by many people and comes to feeders in the area. Once I even had a Winter 
Wren in my garden, a bird that in this area normally only occurs, and very 
sparingly, along the seabird colonies on the outer coast.

We also have got in a few birds, that earlier only occurred in the inland pine 
forests a bit further south, such as the European Robin and the Wood Pigeon. 
Both can be heard, although usually but for a short while, in spring in 
Folkeparken, the woodland between my house and the museum.

So there is always change, and it is most interesting to follow this for many 
years in one place.

Wim Vader, Tromsø, Norway
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