....and furthermore

To: Birding-Aus <>, Birdchat <>, sabirdnet <>
Subject: ....and furthermore
From: Willem Jan Marinus Vader <>
Date: Mon, 21 May 2018 11:58:45 +0000
.......and furthermore

I had planned to keep silent for a while, after 2 messages in one week, but 
today's surprise I 'must' tell about.

The weather is still cold (6*C) and windy, and I needed both mittens and a 
woollen cap today. I started out at the airport, where I gave up yesterday. 
Little to see at first sight, but at the sandy beach the two pairs of Ringed 
Plovers had arrived now, and I also heard several Golden Plovers. Then a small 
flock of small shorebirds flashed by, and I walked along the coast, trying to 
find them again. They turned out to be some 25 Red Knots, still in winter 
plumage, part of the large number that stage further inland in the fjords here 
for a few weeks, before continuing on across the Atlantic . While I was 
counting them, suddenly all the birds flew up, even the two Grey Herons. 
Looking up I saw to my great pleasure a Gyrfalcon cruise past, a bird I had not 
seen for several years, even though a small number are resident in N. Norway, 
with grouse as their main prey

I continued on to my usual walk along the road north on Kvaløya (another place 
I have written about many times); here the ground is acid and quite poor, and 
the terrain consists of low hills covered with heath, extensive marshes and a 
number of lake. As yet there is not all that much spring to be seen in the 
vegetation, and the only flowers are those of some of the diminutive arctic 
willow species. Common Gulls nest here too, mainly in the marshes, while the 
hills are the domain of the Golden Plovers and Whimbrels. Two Arctic Skuas 
(Parasitic Jaegers) have arrived on territory; this species has decreased here 
quite a bit, while the Lapwings have altogether disappeared here, as many other 
places in our region. Several pairs of Greylag Geese, common nesting birds 
here, and as usual also Redshanks and Common Snipe on the marshes. The lakes 
held Mallards, Red-throated Mergansers and several pairs of Tufted Ducks, this 
a species which has increased considerably here in the last decades. The local 
nesting pair of Whooper Swans had also arrived now; they were not yet here when 
Riet and I were here a week ago. Little small bird activity in the chilly 
weather, and the Meadow Pipits, the most numerous small bird here, were still 
foraging in a flock. The Willow Grouse was displaying actively, as they did a 
week ago.

But still no terns anywhere. The common tern here is the Arctic Tern, while the 
Common Tern is much less common (Sentences like this are the main reason I 
still use capitals for bird names!)

I'll now return to anonymity.

Wim Vader, Tromsø, Norway

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