Start of 2021

2020 ended in Norway the way most of the year has been: awful. A catastrophic landslide on 30 December partly destroyed a village just north of Oslo, and killed 10 people. Just when we thought we had weathered the year not too badly (with ‘only’ 450 dead Norway escaped hitherto comparatively lightly, even as just now there is the threat of a new wave). There have been a lot of stringent measures to protect us from the pandemic, though, including staying at home as much as possible, and not traveling unless absolutely necessary. This, combined with some health troubles at 83, resulted in my absolutely leanest birding year list ever; it stopped at 108, a number many of you probably can easily attain on a good day birding nearby. In 2020 my travels were restricted to short visits to my Dutch partner in February and October, with very little birding, and a short trip to visit my daughter on Svalbard.

 

2021 does not start all that promising ever. As you probably know, we have very little daylight this time a year—the sun won’t be back above the horizon until 21 January, and then only for 2 minutes–, but usually refraction from the snow ameliorates the situation somewhat. But this year we don’t have snow either! Twice we had some 25 cm of snow cover in the autumn, but each time mild weather remover it again. And now we have frost, but no rain. But every day there is a little more daylight.

 

My fresh 2021 bird list stands at 5, even if I include the feral pigeons. The other birds are Eurasian Magpie, the first also this year, Hooded Crow, a single Raven, and Herring Gulls. The magpies absolutely dominate and now and the up to ten frolic on our lawn, play fighting rather than fighting in earnest, it seems to me. But my t5ubular feeder, full of sun flower seeds, stands untouched this first week of 2021.

 

So from here it can only be better! I wish you all a healthy, happy and harmonious year, with lots of birding and as little pandemic as possible in the first half.

 

Wim Vader, Tromsø, Norway

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