Fire and Ice

Welcome. to the Seniors club Willem, I hear that hearing aids can be a great help although not needing them myself.

We lived in Rural Manitoba sometime last century and your post is reminiscent, except cannot
recall any birds at all during the windswept winters, a small list of summer migrants including our first hummingbird. For Europeans, loving without tits must be tough, they have been background. birds on our many visits over the years, along with Chaffinches in the warmer months.

Other than the smoke, our family is living in a bubble this Christmas on the NSW Central Coast, quite different to the Canberra variety of social isolation, idyllic weather but hazy from the epoch changing catastrophe of almost unimaginable bush fires from Kangaroo Island to th
Kimberley, Perth to the outskirts of Sydney, (where I normally live), including huge swathes of SE Victoria, even Tasmania. Record heat waves but Summer still around the corner.

No inland rains for years, Desertification well under way west of the Great Dividing Range when I drove Sydney to Alice Springs 15 months ago, The commonest birds were House Sparrows around the Roadhouses, once frequent kangaroo roadkills with Wedgetails and Ravens were very sparse.

Here in the Avoca Beach bubble there are squawking juvenile birds all over, the heartbreaking/maddening Kookaburra, Australian Magpies, (White) Cockstoos, Lorikeets. Brush turkeys are quiet garden digger-uppers, even the chicks. Eucalypts in
flower with flocks of parrots, particularly Rainbow and Musk
Lorikeets screaming back and forth.

But home at Mulgoa, the garden-depend dam down to 10%, unheard of for forty years, Catastrophic fire conditions forecast for the weekend, we will have to return from Heaven to possible Hell in order to man the water pumps on the swimming pool.

Happy New Year to All. Most of the birds will recover should it rain.

( Not sure about the Mallee Emu Wren which is smaller than your Tits, and very localised,)

Michael

Sent from my iPhone

> On 2 Jan 2020, at 4:00 am, birding-aus-request@birding-aus.org wrote:
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> Today’s Topics:
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> 1. Smoky New Year (Geoffrey Dabb)
> 2. First birds of the year in Troms? (Willem Jan Marinus Vader)
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> Message: 1
> Date: Wed, 1 Jan 2020 15:59:05 +1100
> From: “Geoffrey Dabb” < gdabb@iinet.net.au>
> To: <
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> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Smoky New Year
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> Canberra today is more smoky than ever, thick, acrid, more than 10x
> hazardous level. I visited parliament house to get some snaps for the
> record. This was the scene at the coat of arms above the main entrance. GD
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> Message: 2
> Date: Wed, 1 Jan 2020 15:11:54 +0000
> From: Willem Jan Marinus Vader <
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> Subject: [Birding-Aus] First birds of the year in Troms?
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> Yes, I am still around and living in Northern Norway, although now mainly only lurking on the bird lists and not contributing anymore. My hearing is deteriorating steadily, I am on a waiting list for cataract operations, and I no longer drive my car in winter here. Winter this year has been much ups and downs, and in the Christmas week we have snow, then sleet, then rain, then snow and hail again; and now we are sadly once more in the throes of a depression and the snow is morphing into rain again (to be followed by more snow day after tomorrow).
>
> Also, we have very little daylight this time a year; it will be three weeks before we have a chance on the first glimpse of sunlight. And for some reason no birds at all come to my feeders this winter. So the race for first bird on my 2020 year list is as usual between the Magpie and the Hooded Crow. Although Riet saw a Hooded Crow fly over from the house earlier, my first bird this year was the Eurasian Magpie, followed soon after by a Hooded Crows, some feral Pigeons, and a small flock of House Sparrows, who have this winter discovered a garden with good cover, where there is regular feeding, a few houses down the road from mine.
>
> We walked through a completely silent Folkeparken–not a tit to be heard–, to the shores of the Sandnes Sound, and there duly noted the usual winter suspects; Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, and Common Eider, a large flock in the middle of the sound. And that was it for the day, the 7 most common winter birds here. If my feeder had been more attractive we had also seen Greenfinch, Great Tit, the newcomer Blue Tit and maybe the Willow Tit, less dependent on feeders (they store food in autumn), but it was not to be.
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> I wish you all a wonderful 2020, full of birds, and full of life.
> Wim Vader, Troms?, Norway
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