5 January, 5 birds on yearlist

5 January, 5 birds on yearlist!

Just this morning I heard a small flock of House Sparrows muttering near a house where the birds always are few, not too far from my home in Tromsø, N. Norway. This was year bird nr 5 on my list. As usual these last years, the first bird of the year was a Hooded Crow, this time closely followed by a few Great Tits on my feeder, which is largely untouched these days. The same day, NewYear Day, I also surprised a lone Fieldfare in the garden; in spite of the bumper crop of Rowan (Mountain Ash) berries, nearly all thrushes have left now. The next day feral pigeons could be added to the list (almost the northernmost in the world, but far from popular on my feeder), but strangely enough the usually most common visitor, the Eurasian Magpie, I still have not seen at all. Probably the high winds have made it difficult for these short-winged, long-tailed birds to fly around.

There are ameliorating circumstances galore: we have still maybe only about one hour of daylight, although it gets 10 minutes more every day now. We have got c 70 cm of snow around Christmas and it has been frosty all the time since. Not only that, but we also had a quite fierce storm these last days: many roads were closed (in part by avalanches), all ferries and many planes were cancelled, and it involved risks to move outside. A bus with Italian tourists blew off the slippery roads and capsized—it ended well, and they now have tall stories to tell (They had to wait inside the capsized bus for 2 hours, as the weather outside was too bad)–, and another bus, fortunately with only a driver, suffered the same fate somewhere else in the district. Today finally I could again walk the path to the museum, albeit with a detour, but I have not yet been on the shore; there are still quite strong winds. All this is not exceptional at all, but par for the course up here; we live at 70*N!

So, when adding up the tens of bird species already on your year list, think of us who have to struggle to get to the double digits.

Have a wonderful and birdy 2022!

Wim Vader, Tromsø, Norway

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