A new year in the far north

To: birding-aus <>, "," <>
Subject: A new year in the far north
From: Vader Willem Jan Marinus <>
Date: Tue, 1 Jan 2013 13:14:05 +0000
In Tromsø, N. Norway, winter is not an ideal time for birding. There are quite 
few birds around, and it is hard to see them well, as we live far north of the 
Polar Circle, and only have an hour or two of twilight in the middle of the 
day. In addition, there are absolutely no birds on my feeder-tubes this 

New Year's day in 2013 is a clear day, with light frost and not too much wind 
(We had a winter storm three days ago), and only a few inches of snow on the 
ground; December has been a bit uncommon, cold but dry and what little snow we 
have now has only arrived during Christmas.

No birds at my feeders after midnight---also Tromsø is full of fireworks-bangs 
this night, although this year for the first time we also have the much more 
serene Chinese lanterns climbing slowly up into the sky. In the morning, as 
almost always, a Magpie (the crow, not the Australian bell-magpie) is the first 
bird of the year, and two Hooded Crows follow soon after. At a feeder down the 
road two House Sparrows enjoy themselves, quite an uncommon bird for me so 
early in January---they are only patchily distributed in Tromsø.

Riet and i walk down to the sound, and there is just enough light still to 
identify the birds in the water, mostly Eider Ducks, but also two pairs of 
Common Scoters and a few gulls, Herring and Great Black-backed. A Great 
Cormorant on a buoy completes the list, as today we don't find the roving 
flocks of Bohemian Waxwings, that have been around all December.

I use the opportunity to wish you all a wonderful 2013, full of birds and 
congenial people.

          Wim Vader, Tromsø Museum

          9037 Tromsø, Norway

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