From Birding-Aus

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.
I wish you all a wonderful 2020, full of birds, and full of life.
Wim Vader, Tromsø, Norway

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