TROMSØ SPRING---SHORT NO PROGRESS REPORT
>From my student years , I remember the song starting: "Spring will be a little late this year, a little slow to start". I often think of it these days, with still 1 m of snow in the garden, and today a thin veneer of fresh ice on the melt-water puddles in the
shadow even at noon. But today is a sunny day, while the two days before had frequent snow showers, and the same is expected for the coming two days. I once more walked the coastal path, now 95% snow free, to the south end of Tromsøya , and not all that much
had changed from last week. There were more people around: Norway has opened up a bit from the 2 months lock down, and up to 20 persons may now meet outdoors (keeping 1 m apart) , and the people here anyway always profit from a sunny day---one never knows
when the next one will be. There is a little less snow maybe, and definitely still more Coltsfoot in flower, with now also here and there the pale yellow Siberian Primula, a garden escape. Three species of gulls on the shore: the ubiquitous Common Gulls, that
also slowly are establishing territories among the houses, and the Herring and Great Black-Backed Gulls, that keep to the shore (and some flat roofs in the town center). There are also many Oystercatchers, now all also in pairs on the shore (and one pair on
the roof of the TV studio), and yesterday I saw a single Redshank, the first this year (my daughter also saw Curlews). No Eiders today, and no sea ducks or cormorants, only the odd Mallard.
In Folkeparken a few Redwings and Bramblings sing, and Fieldfares scold, but nothing like that first day, when they arrived in droves. Most must have moved on. The birches and rowans are still bare, but on the willows the buds are swelling, and on sunny places
here and there the first green is visible. In town the Tromsoepalms, the alien giant Heracleum that has become so numerous here as to be a pest, shoots out of the earth with several cm's a day; they need to become 2 m tall in not too man weeks from now.
But spring this year is really ' a little late, a little slow to start'. We have had quite enough winter by now.
Wim Vader, Tromsø, Norway