From: wim vader <wjm.vader@gmail.com&gt;
Sent: lørdag 1. mai 2021 10:08
To: Willem Jan Marinus Vader <wim.vader@uit.no&gt;
Cc: PG Nell <pgnell47@gmail.com&gt;; vermilion_flycatcher <vermilion_flycatcher@yahoo.com&gt;; Hayo H.W. Velthuis <hhwv@xs4all.nl&gt;
Subject: Still waiting for spring in Tromsø



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Today is 1 May and the snow depth here has the last 3 days again increased to 1 meter! Ten days earlier it was 127 cm, but then we had a couple of days with nice sunny weather, one day ‘soaring’ all the way to +10*C, and the yellow stars of the Coltsfoot Tussilago peeped up many places where the snow had just thawed, mostly on disturbed ground like road verges etc.. One place, close to a building, I even found the first flowers of the little yellow Siberian Primula, that has escaped from the gardens here and now will be flowering in their thousands a bit later  on. Pairs of Ostercatchers were in place in the intertidal, and the Common Gulls come inland among the houses and had their usual very loud territorial squabbles. In Folkeparken a single Chaffinch arrived and sang, and behind our house I twice heard a Chiffchaff; otherwise the Greenfinches still reigned alone. Interestingly neither Chaffinch nor Chiffchaff were here when I first arrived in Tromsø, back in 1973; they have gradually spread further north, no doubt a result of the climate changes.

But four days ago winter came back with a vengeance, with strong northerly and northwesterly winds and very frequent and dense snow showers. The first days temperatures still rose about freezing in the middle of the day, and when the sun came out, it had sufficient power to melt part of the fresh snow again. But the Coltsfoot flowers all closed, the Chaffinch and Chiffchaff fell silent, and the last two days it freezes also during the day, and snow depth is back up to 1m.  I still saw year birds nrs 27 and 28 , though: a pair of Greylag Geese on the shore day before yesterday, and yesterday evening  a sudden surprise, as a Sparrow Hawk momentarily alighted on the telephone wires outside our house— we have long days now already again; it is only 3 weeks before we get the midnight sun!

My action radius is quite restricted these days: I do not use my car in winter anymore, the roads are often quite slippery, and there are various covid restrictions still in place, even though Norway is doing better in that respect than most European countries. I sincerely hope I can bring messages of spring soon; the thrushes are already a week overdue.

All the best from 70*N.

Wim Vader, Tromsø, Norway

Postscript 2. May. Sunny and light frost. Streets very slippery, as yesterday’s melt water has frozen overnight. Glad I took my ‘brodder’ (cleats?) underneath my shoes. Still no thrushes anywhere, and the Coltsfoot flowers are covered under 15-20 cm of fresh snow (they will tolerate this). But there are now 2 Chaffinches singing in Folkeparken. Always some progress!

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