A somewhat odd spring in Tromsø

To: "Birdchat " <>, birding-aus <>, "" <>
Subject: A somewhat odd spring in Tromsø
From: Willem Jan Marinus Vader via Birding-Aus <>
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2023 09:40:50 +0000

Another delayed contribution.



Fra: Wim Vader <>
Sendt: søndag 4. juni 2023 15:29
Til: Willem Jan Marinus Vader <>
Kopi: Riet Keuchenius <>; Hayo H.W. Velthuis <>; PG Nell <>
Emne: A somewhat odd spring in Tromsø


A somewhat odd spring in Tromsø.


Tromsø is at almost 70* N. This means that we have 24 hrs daylight in 2 months, from 21 May, but also, that spring can vary a lot from year to year.


 2023 is hitherto decidedly odd. The last snow in our garden disappeared on 22 May, a rather normal date for here, and the birches, the dominant trees here, turned green c a week later, a bit on the late side. From mid May until now there is a very extensive and strong high pressure area firmly situated over the UK and W. Europe, and this has as consequence that the Atlantic depressions take a much more northerly course (or more southerly, giving S. Europe much needed rain). These passing fronts arrive here with SW winds and rain: May this year had 230% of normal precipitation, and June goes the same way. But as the fronts pass into the Barents Sea, the winds turn NW or N and cold polar air penetrates into N. Norway. (Norway is a looong country; S. of c. Trondheim--65*N-- the country profits from the Atlantic High, and they have nice sunny and warm weather). On 27 May we awoke to a thin layer of fresh snow, and on 1 June to an even a bit thicker layer. These thawed fairly quickly, but it has remained very cool, with only a single day thus far above 15*C. And it rains every day.

Spring of course marches on anyway, but flowering is late. Coltsfoot Tussilago, and an every year more numerous Yellow Primula, a garden escape, still absolutely dominate, but yesterday I saw a few buttercups, dandelions and a Potentilla in flower along the coastal path, and the white Oxalis in the woodland (although its flowers don't fully open in the cold rain).

In the garden our 'house gulls' (The aptly named Common Gulls) are back, and Fieldfares forage on the lawn. In the woodland there is a bird chorus, when the weather is not too bad, with this last week finally the Willow Warblers, Norway's most numerous bird, present in full strength. The other songsters are Redwings (A different song strophe again this year, amazingly used by every bird), Bramblings, Great Tits, Greenfinches, Chaffinches, Redpolls, Chiffchaffs, and Pied Flycatchers. Of these the Chiffchaff and the Chaffinch are relative newcomers, as are the Blue Tits in the garden, and the Blackbirds, where single males now regularly winter here.

Because of the unpleasant weather I have not yet been to the wetlands, but even in town I've seen that the Oystercatchers are everywhere, and that Curlews and Redshanks also are back. And in town the Kittiwakes have taken the constructed 'kittiwake hotels' in use. It is hope that this will alleviate the pressure on window sills, where the loud and dirty birds are perceived as a nuisance.

Wim Vader, Tromsø, Norway

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