Finally spring in Tromsø

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Subject: Finally spring in Tromsø
From: Willem Jan Marinus Vader <>
Date: Mon, 1 Jun 2020 11:35:37 +0000
Finally spring in Tromsø

Spring came late this year. Last year the last snow in our garden disappeared on 20 May; now, on 1 June, there are still a few piles left. Also the birches greened almost 10 days later than last year, although the migrant birds mostly arrived on schedule (Don't take the days I see them, as an arrival date: I have a small action radius in winter, this year even more than usually). But now the birches in Folkeparken are green, at last.
Last week all of S. Norway had 'wonderful summer weather', but here north we had 4-5'C , rain and wind, and we started to grumble. And we were heard! Just these two Whitsunday days we have blue skies, 24 hrs sun, and up to 17*C. That does not look overly summery to you maybe, but here I saw several women jogging and sunning in bathing suits---beggars can't be choosers. (Tomorrow we'll have 8* and rain again).
On 28 May suddenly the Folkeparken was full of singing Willow Warblers, Norway's most numerous bird. During these cold and drizzly days all the Coltsfoot flowers (and there are 1000s of them everywhere) were closed tight, but yesterday they were fully open again, and turned their 'heads' with the sun in the course of the day. There are now also a few more flowers: the yellow garden-escaped Primula dominates many garden lawns and also other grasslands, on the south end of the island the first Dandelions are in bloom --they will take over for the Coltsfoot gradually--, and in the rough grassland of Hansmark there are now buttercups and on the wetter places  Marsh Marigold Caltha.
In Folkeparken there is still a lot of snow, as I noted the hard way yesterday, when for the first time in a while I tried to take the path through the forest; I almost got stuck in the deep rotten snow! The Wood Anemones are still burrowed under a layer of snow; they flower already in some gardens. Willow Warblers everywhere now, so the 'big four' of our forests: Willow Warbler, Brambling, Fieldfare and Redwing are now complete. And of course Greenfinches, Great Tits, Hooded Crows and Magpies are present as always.
The story of Hansmark may become a sad one. As it is now, it is a largish area of very rough grassland, with lots of tall forbs in summer, and home to a loose colony of Common Gulls. There is an official plan to build 30 flats in the area, with a token footpath along the stony shore, so that they can claim it also serves recreation. "The area is not used for anything useful now", they say. The town will soon have to decide whether to accept this plan, and fortunately there a lot of protests, i.a. in a leader in the local newspaper. But two of the larger political parties sound vaguely positive to the plan, so I fear. 
Sadly, the nesting season here won't be a very good one this year, strangely enough in part because of the Covid 19: the schools have reopened, but under quite severe restrictions, and this has as one of its results that many school classes spend more time outdoors, and this spring they have discovered Hansmark, and the kids run all over the area. I think there are far fewer Common Gulls nesting here than usually, and I note only single pairs of Oystercatcher and Redshank. The 4 pairs of Greylag Geese have given up, and as usually, also the Golden Plovers are gone. These are the sort of very local problems that many of you probably have experienced, and maybe you should not be bothered by them.
I hope to get my car back in the coming week, and then my action radius will become quite a bit larger.
Wim Vader, Tromsø, Norwa.
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