First birds of 2018

To: "" <>
Subject: First birds of 2018
From: Penny Brockman <>
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2018 21:43:59 +0000
Dear Wim and Birding-aussers,

Have just read Wim's list of birds seen on New Year's Day.  What a 
contrast to Gloucester NSW Australia!
Yesterday, sitting on my back deck for an hour, saw the following:

Olive-backed Oriole, Silvereye, White-browed Scrub-wren, Australasian 
Figbirds with young, Magpie Lark feeding chicks, Red-browed Finch with 3 
fledglings, Willie Wagtail, Dollarbirds with 2 fledglings, House 
Sparrows, Lewins Honeyeater, Bar-shouldered Dove, Grey Fantail, Brown 
Thornbill, A.Magpie, Eastern Spinebill, Crimson Rosella with fledglings, 
Red Wattlebird with fledglings, White-cheeked Honeyeaters, Torresian 
Crow, Cattle Egret, Scarlet Honeyeater, Satin Bowerbird, Rainbow 
Lorikeet, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike and Common Myna.

A short trip nearby added Noisy Miners, Eastern Rosellas, Laughing 

Most of the above were making use of the bird baths in my back garden 
and the few flowering gravilleas.  Temperatures up to 35c in the shade. 
I've now lived here for 16 years and the garden (planted mainly with 
native flora) has matured providing safe foraging in the mixed trees and 
shrubs. There hasn't been a great difference in the species present but 
they are more often seen, in greater numbers and many with dependent 
young. A big change is the number of skinks present, mainly Eastern 
Striped Skinks which sunbathe and live around and under the house - I 
kid myself that if I see lots of these it's a sign there are no Brown 
Snakes present. Seldom see the Blue-tongues now as there is so much 
cover - sometimes surprise one when weeding - gives me as much of a 
shock as the poor disturbed Blue-Tongue.
Note: I don't have pet dogs or cats.

Reading Wim's note on birds that are staying further north in winter, 
despite the lack of daylight - wonder what surprisesawait us in 2018 on 
the other side of the world ?  The Aleutian Terns at Old Bar were 
interesting 2017 visitors on the east coast.

Happy Birding to all for 2018
Penny in Gloucester, NSW, Australia.

On 2/01/2018 12:37 AM, Willem Jan Marinus Vader wrote:

On 2/01/2018 12:37 AM, Willem Jan Marinus Vader wrote:
> First birds of 2018 at 70*N
> Tromsø, at 70*N in northern Norway, has had a wonderful Christmas week: snow, 
> clear cold (but not too cold) winter weather, and now and then spectacular 
> northern lights. It looked quite ominous the weeks before Christmas, as  
> strong southwesterly winds and lots of rain removed most of the snow. But 
> once more the weather turned just in time; 23 December it started snowing, 
> and now we have again some 2 ft of fresh snow on the ground, and we have had 
> an uncommonly stable winter week. The paths are somewhat slippery, but we 
> walk with 'brodder', spikes under our soles, and then it is little problem.
> What IS a problem for birding mid winters here is of course the dearth of 
> daylight: we have only some for a few hours in the middle of the day, and the 
> sun won't be back until late January. And in my garden, where many trees have 
> been removed, there are hardly any birds now in winter. On the positive side, 
> the Rowans (Mountain Ash, Sorbus aucuparia), a very common tree here, has had 
> a bumper crop in 2017, and that has not only attracted the usual Bohemian 
> Waxwings and Pine Grosbeaks, but also caused the Fieldfares, a very common 
> nesting bird here, to postpone their southern migration, and there are large 
> flocks everywhere.
> Of course we were not early on New Year's day, and it would not helped much 
> either, as it is dark until 11 am, even on a clear winter day as today. Most 
> years, the first bird of the year is either a Hooded Crow or a Magpie, but 
> this year an overflying Great Black-backed Gull grabbed the honour. The 
> magpies came in second , the crows only as nr 4, as in between, while we 
> prepared for a short walk, a single Pine Grosbeak flew over.
> Riet and I walked in Folkeparken, a remnant birch forest with lots of planted 
> spruce between our house and Tromsø Museum (so I have walked this path more 
> than 40 years already!). Also here there are Rowans, and thus Fieldfares, but 
> among them we found a single European Blackbird, one of the bird species 
> slowly expanding northwards (Others are the Blue Tit, the Woodpigeon and the 
> European Robin.); there was one last New Year also. Two of our most common 
> winter birds, a Great Tit and a Greenfinch, let themselves be heard here, but 
> a greater surprise awaited us a bit further on, where a small streamlet still 
> ran in spite of the frost. Riet discovered a small bird fossicking along the  
> banks, the only place not snow-covered, and to my surprise this turned out to 
> be a Redwing! This is maybe our most common thrush in summer, but this is the 
> first time I have seen one here mid winters---no doubt the Rowan berries are 
> also here the culprit.
> We walked down to the sound: beautiful views to snow-covered mountains and 
> the golden glow of the southerly skies, but the water was too choppy to find 
> many birds , so the only one getting on the list were the ubiquitous Eider 
> ducks. Still, 10 birds all in all! It may no seem like many to you, but it is 
> one of the largest New Year's Day lists I have ever had!
> I use the opportunity to wish you all a healthy, happy and harmonious 2018, 
> full of nature! And please don't look ONLY at the BIRDS!
> Wim Vader, Tromsø, Norway
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