Tromsø Easter--not really spring as yet
From everywhere in the northern half of the world come stories of spring, flowers and nesting birds. This time a year the differences with the situation here north are at a maximum, and this year maybe even more than
usually. While at least northern Europe, including southern Norway, has enjoyed a very early spring, the situation is very different here at 70*N. I wish I could send you some pictures, but you'll have to imagine 2 m of snow on the ground, and more falling
every day this week, and completely bare trees as yet. And very few migrant birds as yet either; the only song I hear in Folkeparken is the 'sawing' of the Great Tit and the 'rasps' of Greenfinches, both residents here. On the shore the Oystercatchers are
back, and i have seen the first Common Gulls, the classical town gull here; although some Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls also nest on flat roofs in town. The last 2-3 years we have had a sudden invasion of Kittiwakes, that nest on window sills
in town, and are very little popular with the inhabitants; they have already returned. My daughter who has been skiing at the outer coast reported flocks of Snow Buntings there; because of the surfeit of snow here in town they keep to the outer coast this
spring. They are fattening up, on their way to the perilous journey across the Atlantic to Greenland and arctic Canada.
My action radius is this year even more restricted than most winters. As usual, my car has disappeared under the snow; I no longer drive it in winter. But this spring Norway is also largely locked down because of the
corona pandemy, and especially people of my age are asked to keep largely at home. I can make short walks along the larger roads, but the paths in Folkeparken are often hard to conquer. I see therefore very few birds, except the ubiquitous Magpies and Hooded
Crows, and the large gulls and eider ducks of the sounds.
I am eagerly awaiting the Chiffchaff (should have been here already), the Fieldfare and Redwing, the Chaffinch and Brambling and a little later the most common of them all, the Willow Warbler.
God Påske to all of you.
Wim Vader, Tromsø, Norway