Slow start of a yearlist

Subject: Slow start of a yearlist
From: "Wim Vader" <>
Date: Tue, 02 Jan 2001 12:22:15 +0100

                                        SLOW START OF A YEAR-LIST

        In Tromsø, N.Norway (70*N) winter was uncommonly late to arrive this 
and the fields on our island were in fact largely free of snow until a few
days before Christmas. In contradistinction to all the rain and floodings
in S. Norway, our autumn was very pleasant, dry, crisp and with
temperatures around freezing most of the time.

        Just before Christmas winter finally arrived: we had three days of snow
storms, dumping some 3 ft of snow, and then the wind turned SE and
decreased and during the Christmas holidays (Romjula, we call this) we had
beautiful calm, cold and clear weather, with temperatures on our island
around -12*C (It never gets really cold here, as we are surrounded by open
seawater sounds). On 30 December Riet and I drove to the outer coast via
winter-icy roads, and saw the last Ravens and White-tailed Eagles of the
year, as well as the large flocks of Common Eiders with their attendant
kleptoparasitic Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls. The Willow-Grouse
that earlier this autumn were so easy to see (white against grey) were now
again so beautifully camouflaged as to be invisible from the car.
         But the days are short in this season: the sun never rises above the
horizon, and in fact won't be visible for another three weeks at least, and
daylight (day twilight would be a better term) lasts all of 2 hours,
although now every next day is about ten minutes lighter than the day
before. Northern Lights provide a free and most impressive spectacle many
evenings, and daily bisloads of Japanese tourists come to visit Tromsø for
1-2 days exclusively to see the Aurora!

        The last days we have had another snowfall, and a rise in temperature to
around freezing again, and the path through my local patch of birch forest
has been trampled into shape again by all people airing their dogs.
Yesterday morning (latish, as this was the morning after the night before)
Riet and I walked the forest path in order to start up my new year list; we
saw or heard nothing at all! And today, on my way to work, the situation
was precisely the same; a few far away squeaks no doubt stemmed from Great
Tits, but they need to get closer in order to make it on my year list.
Curiously enough, I have not seen any birds on my feeder either as yet this
year, so my 2001-list is as yet very short: 1. Black-billed Magpie, 2.
Hooded Crow. Scope for growth!!

        A happy, healthy and harmonious 2001 to all of you, with many birds to
see, list, watch and enjoy!

                                                                Wim Vader, 
Tromsø Museum
                                                                9037 Tromsø, 

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