slow buildup of a yearlist 2

Subject: slow buildup of a yearlist 2
From: "Wim Vader" <>
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2001 13:18:42 +0100

                        MUCH WEATHER , FEW BIRDS IN TROMSØ, N.NORWAY

        My year list has grown all the way to 14 species; I'll list them at the
end of this message, but have to add, that greater diligence from my part
could easily have added a few more---I know Long-tailed Ducks, Common
Scoters and Red-throated Mergansers are out there and only wait to be
listed. But storm over the sounds gives unfavourable viewing conditions,
and I am also lazy enough to await better weather---these birds will be
here in many months still.

        The trouble is, we have too much weather these days. The year started
beautifully, with cold frosty weather, spectacular Northern Lights, and ca
2-3 ft of snow on the ground. But after Riet flew back to Holland, the
weather deteriorated also, and the last ten days we have largely been under
the influence of an endless row of strong Atlantic low pressure areas,
which generate not only a lot of wind, but also bring mild temperatures,
all the way up to +7*C--at 70*N in early January!-- and much rain, ca 100
mm in this last week. Together with the melting of that several ft of snow,
and the fact that the frozen ground did not take up much water, this was
bound to create some havoc, and it definitely did.

         Last weekends all the roads were unbelievably slippery, so that even 
tow truck that came to rescue the line bus outside my house, also slid off
the road, snow-chains and all, and the only way to move on foot outside was
with the help of 'grip-soles', small contraptions with iron studs which you
tie under your shoes. After the first days of deluge the main roads were
clear of ice, but then the floodings started, and many cellars had to be
pumped out, while cars stalled in water, that was a bit deeper than the
drivers had figured. All in all not good birding weather. Earlier this week
we have had two storms already, although here only Beaufort force 10,
Finnmark had up to force 12!. And today we have for a change a
northwesterly storm, which dumps fresh snow, which acc. to the forecast
will rain away again tomorrow.

        In addition we still have mørketiden, i.e. the sun is not yet above the
horizon (Sun-day, when we may see 2 minutes of sun, is on Monday 21 January
in Tromsø), so I walk to and from work in darkness, while this week the
path through the forest has been virtually unwalkable, and I go around,
along suburban streets. So the low numbers on the year-list are a
combination: there ARE genuinely few birds here in winter, and those
present are not always all that easy to see.

        And yet! Yesterday morning, in the middle of a rain storm, I heard the
insouciant ti tu ti tu of a Great Tit, the first bird song of the
millennium in Tromsø. One can come in a good mood of less!!

                                                                        Wim Vader, 
Tromsø Museum
Tromsø, Norway

        PS Somebody just phoned to tell that he had a European Blackbird Turdus
merula in his garden. That happens every winter, while in summer we are
just too far north to be able to enjoy this master singer.

Year list 2001 Wim Vader, in chronological order:
Eurasian Magpie         Pica pica
Hooded Crow                     Corvus corone cornix
House Sparrow           Passer domesticus
Great Tit                       Parus major
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus
Common Eider            Somateria mollissima
Waxwing                 Bombycilla garrulus
Mallard                 Anas platyrhynchos
Willow Tit                      Parus montanus
Bullfinch                       Pyrrhula pyrrhula
Herring Gull                    Larus argentatus
Purple Sandpiper                Calidris maritimus
Cormorant                       Phalacrocorax c. carbo
Northern Raven          Corvus corax

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