FW: Spring has sprung!

To: "Birdchat " <>, birding-aus <>, "" <>
Subject: FW: Spring has sprung!
From: Willem Jan Marinus Vader via Birding-Aus <>
Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2022 12:57:12 +0000



From: Wim Vader <>
Sent: tirsdag 7. juni 2022 13:10
To: Willem Jan Marinus Vader <>
Subject: Spring has sprung!


Spring has sprung in Tromsø


When my daughter Marit and I returned from our long weekend on Svalbard last Tuesday, Tromsø looked completely changed: the sun shone from a cloud free sky (24 hrs a day!), and all the birches, the dominant trees here, were suddenly and completely green. Lots of flowers now also: marshy places---of which we have a lot-- are yellow with Marsh Marigold Caltha, and many places my favourite spring flowers, the yellow violets Viola biflora, twinkle. The Coltsfoot are gone by now, and the Dandelions have taken over in town. (All flowers from sunny places in early spring are yellow; why?. Those in the forest are white.)


A walk around the now completely ice-free Prestvannet shows further evidence that spring has really arrived: many pairs of Red-throated Loons are displaying (10 pairs nested on the small lake last summer!), and scores of Sand Martins (Bank Swallows), our common Swallow here north, hunt low over the water. Also the first Arctic Terns of the year have returned to their colony here, which they share with lots of Common Gulls.


At the Tisnes wetland too there are Sand Martins galore, but here a few pairs of Barn Swallows are mixed in; they nest in a local barn. The Ruffs are lekking, Greylag Geese, Redshanks, Curlews and Oystercatchers are on territories, but a lone Green Sandpiper looks somewhat out of place; they nest, very sparingly, in the inland here. And the whole wetland is yellow with Caltha. A single pair of Lapwings, there used to be several here.


Of course the beautiful summer weather did not last; it never does here. Today we have 6*C, rain and wind. But spring cannot be stopped now. Marit heard a Cuckoo call, and I found several Snipe at the Rakfjord marshes yesterday, while one of the usually resident pair of Whooper Swans had returned to what I call Swan Lake. One pair of Arctic Skuas (Parasitic Jaegers); again, there used to be several here. Strangely enough, I did not find a single Meadow Pipit, usually a common bird here and on Tisnes.


And the first summer flowers are in flower: lots of Cloudberries Rubus chamaemorus,  Bog Rosemary Andromeda, and  Bearberry Arctostaphylos on the heath,  Lotus, Cornus and Trientalis along the road verges. While Whimbrels larm and Willow Grouse cackle.


In our garden the house Common Gull nests on top of the rabbit house, while Fieldfares forage on the lawn, and Grey Herons cross overhead on the way to their nests in a quiet corner of Folkeparken. And the Willow Warbler is once more the dominant voice in Folkeparken. In spring, there is no place like Tromsø! Forgive me the surfeit of reports these months; I'll soon fall silent again.

Wim Vader, Tromsø, Norway


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