First birds of the year in Tromsø

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: First birds of the year in Tromsø
From: "Wim Vader" <>
Date: Thu, 1 Jan 2009 12:43:36 +0100

         Happy New Year, everyone! May 2009 live up to your expectations,
at work, at home and at play!

         Midwinter is not a very birdy period here at 70*N, especially
away from the seashore. In addition, there is very little daylight: now,
at 12 30 pm, it is already almost dark again, even though there is clearly
more daylight already today than a week ago. It will be another three
weeks, before we can see the sun again in Tromsø, though.
        We had a lot of weather these last weeks:  Christmas Eve was a
beaiutiful winter day, calm, with snow on the ground, and in the
afternoon, when we visited the churchyard, all the lights on the graves
made for an almost fairy-tale atmosphere. But how long was Adam in
paradise? The night to Christmas day the weather turned with a vengeance,
and the next three days all the snow disappeared, with stormy winds, lots
of rain, and temperatures up to +7*C. Just before New Years WEve, however,
the weather turned once more, and the last two days it has snowed almost
continuously, so that once more we have some 30-40 cm of fresh snow, a few
degrees of frost, and generally much more agreeable conditions.
       This morning the usual visitors came to my feeders: Kjøttmeis Parus
major, Willow Tits and Greenfinches, while lone Fieldfares visited the
still abundant berries of the Rowan (Mountains Ash, Sorbus) in the garden
and a tight flocks of some twenty Bohemian Waxwings passed overheard. A
walk through neighbourhood streets with Riet first added the usual
subjects:  pairs of Magpies and Hooded Crows, and Northern Ravens croaking
overhead, but we also saw a few more unexpected birds: A Sparrow Hawk in
the air being pestered by a Hooded Crow, and a fat male Eurasian
Blackbiird, a quite uncommon bird in Tromsø at any time of the year,
feasting on the rowanberries, which grow in every other garden here and
which are present in enormous numbers this bumper year.
          Ten birds on January 1st, without even getting to the shore;
that must be a record for Tromsø.

Wim Vader, Tromsø Museum

9037 Tromsø, Norway

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