Short report from snowland

Subject: Short report from snowland
From: "Wim Vader" <>
Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2000 12:51:51 +0100


Tromsø, N.Norway (70*N) is still in the throes of a long series of lows
trundling across the Atlantic, and deepening and speeding up, when they get
closer. The effect of that here is a seemingly endless series of reruns of
SW strong winds with sleet or even rain, followed by NW strong winds and
more snow. The temperatures vary from just above to a few degrees below
freezing, and the mild spells pack the snow just sufficiently for the total
snow depth still to hover around 6 ft (180cm). But the snow gets heavier
this way, and I fear I shall have to have help to clear my roof---our brand
new tennis hall has already collapsed!

But my car is now in the garage, in the nick of time, since the very next
night a new load of snow fell. This weekend there has been little snow
(although it is starting to snow just while I write this), and yesterday I
ventured for the first time in 10 days across the path through Folkeparken,
our remnant birch forest between my home and Tromsø Museum. The path looks
more like a narrow trench, from knee- to thigh-deep between high snow
walls, but it OK to walk, as long as you do not meet somebody.

Birdlife is still quite scarce, although we have many more Redpolls this
winter than most years, and there are also many Bullfinches around, the
waxwings came. ate, and went. too few Rowanberries to keep them here for a
longer period. That way tha Gyrfalcons are better off; as the density of
Willow-Grouse is quite high, they have enough to eat---I suspect the one in
town of filling out his menu with the rock doves of the church park. I have
not yet any Gyrfalcons myself, though; what I thought was one the other day
outside my office, turned out to be a Goshawk. Ravens are also common over
Folkeparken in winter, and of course Hooded Crows and magpies are
ubiquitous.But I have not yet seen the White-tailed eagle that hung around
our museum the last two winters.
                In the fjords the usual suspects winter, as always with a few 
Gulls and the odd Iceland Gull among the numerous great Black-backed and
herring Gulls. otherwise we have Common and King Eiders, Black and
White-winged Scoters and Oldsquaws as the common wintering ducks, together
with Mallards along the shoreline. Also Cormorants are common, in fact much
more common in winter than in summer around here, unknown why.

                                                Wim Vader, Tromsø Museum
                                                9037 Tromsø, Norway

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