A sunny summerday in Tromsø
I have kept silent since the spring rush here at 70* N, as I promised. The summer has brought extremes: for the first time ever, the temperature exceeded 30*C on 2 days last month, and this July has been almost the wettest month ever here,
with almost 50mm of rain day before yesterday. We have lost the midnight sun a week ago, but there is still a lot of daylight.
Common Gulls have nested in our garden, on top of the rabbit house. An earlier clutch of 3 chicks from a different pair did not make it, one after the other disappeared, and I saw the last one being taken by a Herring Gull. But these stayed
on the roof for weeks after hatching and only jumped down yesterday, unfortunately into the rabbit area, so that we had to extricate them, to the fury of their parents.
Otherwise July is a quiet month for birding. There is very little birdsong, the thrushes don't have to feed young anymore and are much less conspicuous, and many waterbirds moult and hide. The only noticeable newcomers are the Redpolls,
which suddenly are everywhere. For flowers, on the other hand, July is great.
Today was a quiet and sunny day, with a midday temperature of 16*C, and I went out to see what there was to see.
There are subtle signs of the coming fall: Cormorants on a skerry near the airport, the first flowers of wild Angelica, always one of the last to start flowering, the popping up of the first mushrooms, and the mowing of most of the hayfields,
with the rich flower tapestry replaced by the white plastic-embedded hay-rolls, that we often call tractor eggs.
There are still large fields of Rosebay and Meadowsweet (I wish I could show them, but the rules do not allow it; I can send on demand), and lots of flowers on the road verges.
At the airport a further sign of coming fall is a large flock of Sand Martins (Bank Swallows) whirling around, and twittering families of White Wagtails along roads and paths.
Only a single Arctic Tern is still aggressive at the beach, but there are not yet many migrating shorebirds. The Eiders have few chicks this summer.
I drive on to Tisnes. At the roundabout near the bridge on Kvaløya traffic comes to a full stop, as two majestic reindeer excercise their right of way all around the roundabout. But 35km on, at Tisnes, I am disappointed:
the horsefarm has once more closed off the chalk-grassland and let their horses trample it down. Fortunately there is always something to see also from the road: there are young Grey Herons and just fledged Barn Swallows (an uncommon species here) on the wire
outside the barn where they nest every year. A family of Northern Wheatears with fledged young even makes it on my year list. Also here many wagtails, but as almost always this year, no Meadow Pipits, normally common birds here.
On the way back another reindeer stop, reminding me that this is northern Norway. On days as today, there is no better place!
Wim Vader, Tromsø, Norway