FW: slow arrival of spring

To: "Birdchat " <>, birding-aus <>, "" <>
Subject: FW: slow arrival of spring
From: Willem Jan Marinus Vader <>
Date: Sun, 9 May 2021 07:28:36 +0000



From: wim vader <>
Sent: lørdag 8. mai 2021 11:52
To: Willem Jan Marinus Vader <>
Cc: Hayo H.W. Velthuis <>; Riet Keuchenius <>; L.J. de Vries <>; Jan Willem C. Vader <>; PG Nell <>
Subject: slow arrival of spring




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Spring is coming to Tromsø, but slowly slowly


Since I wrote to you last,  most of the fresh snow of a week ago has again disappeared, and the days have gotten stil longer—only 10 days to the midnight sun now. But temperatures have remained  low, with puddles freezing over each night, and the general snow melt not yet all that impressive. The irrepressible Coltsfoot flowers, that even come up through the snow, are now twinkling in their hundreds on most road verges, and the single Primula flower of last mail is also back, now together with 4-5 others. On Fagerlifjæra, an area of  rough grassland along the shore of the sound close to my home (and typically for the encroaching town, object of a plan to build 13 large flats, fortunately meeting much local resistance) three quarters of the field is now snow free and many pairs of Common Gulls (and a single Oystercatcher pair) are already occupying their territories. There are now also more pairs of Greylag Geese here, but I suspect that these will move to quieter places after some weeks, as they do most years. No flowers as yet at all here as yet (well, a few Coltsfoot along the path), but to my surprise several butterflies flew up from the ground, Aglais urticae; I don’t know the English name, sadly. These winter as adults, often in outhouses and such, and may come forth after disturbance. A single Curlew walked and foraged on the field, year bird nr 29.

In Folkeparken (I still don’t venture to walk through, because of all the rotten snow on the paths, so I walk around it nowadays) there are still very few song birds, and the ones singing one day may have moved on the next (I have not heard Chiffchaffs these last days). But there are now at least 4 Chaffinches, and every day I hear a few Redwings, although not always at the same locality. A single Brambling rasping near the museum became year bird nr 30; there may have been more, but it is not always easy to separate their tired sounding rasps from the similar, but more peeved sounding rasps of the numerous Greenfinches. Yesterday, to my great surprise, a Dunnock (I have troubles adjusting to Hedge Accentor) sang here along Vesterliveien, just a few houses down the road from ours, and a place where the nearest small colony of House Sparrows keeps house. Dunnocks are not all that common here, but I hear a few every year. It is year bird 31.

Today it is snowing again, but it will probably soon turn into sleet, as temperatures are above zero. Early in the morning I looked out and think I saw a Fieldfare down in the garden, but I am not quite sure. They ought to have arrived here already at least a week ago. Soon they will be one of the most common birds in Folkeparken, and one hears them scolding everywhere; even their garbled song sounds almost like scolding. The most common song bird of all, the Willow Warbler, won’t arrive here before the end of the month. Then it will really be spring!

Wim Vader, Tromsø, Norway

Postscript 9 may. Still sleet showers and 1-2 degrees above freezing. This latest front came from the SE, up through Sweden, and it probably brought a lot of migrant birds with it: many songbirds migrate north through Sweden and the broad valleys in inland Troms, i.e. they arrive here from the SE. Suddenly there are many Redwings singing in Folkeparken, a few more Bramblings, and at long last the first Fieldfares, year bird 32.

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