slow start of 2008

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: slow start of 2008
From: "Wim Vader" <>
Date: Tue, 1 Jan 2008 12:12:52 +0100
Here in Tromsø, N.Norway (c 70*N) the last months have been the poorest in 
birds that I can remember from my more than 30 years in this house. When I came 
back from my Africa/Madagascar  trips in early November there was a frost 
period already, and so the feeding in my garden may have started too late to 
attract the local birds: many people feed the birds here. But I hear also 
others complain of the dearth oif tits and Greenfinches in their gardens. In 
addition, December has been uncommonly mild, with a mean temperature more than 
5*C higher than the mean for the last thirty years, resulting also in the first 
snow-free Christmas I have experienced here. (Now we have frost again, but only 
a very thin veneer of snow, scarcely enough to cover the ground, but sufficient 
to help quite a bit with the very scarce daylight in these sunless months---the 
sun won't be visible here until 21. January.)

In addition, the rowans (Mountain Ash Sorbus aucuparia have had a very meagre 
season, so there are very few berries, which means that all the thrushes have 
left early, and we have had no influxes of Bohemian Waxwings or Pine Grosbeaks. 
And for some reason---possibly the long period with frequent stormy winds we 
have had in December-- there are very few waterbirds to be seen on the sound 
also, apart from a few Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls. Even the Eiders 
and the cormorants are scarce these days.

The long and short of this is that my feeding tube with sun flower seeds stays 
almost untouched already for a month or so, and that my only 2006 bird hitherto 
is the inevitable Black-billed Magpie! (Just bad luck that I did not also see 
his nephew the Hooded Crow as yet; there are enough of them around.

May I use the opportunity to wish you all a great 2008, at home, at work and at 

Vader, Tromsø Museum
Tromsø, Norway

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