And here's another note written by Wim Vader from 2005 about birdwatching in Autumn in Tromso. This is more a reminder to myself about the possibilities of birding in Tromso and to others with a similar fascination with birds in the north.
"AUTUMN BIRDING IN TROMSO
Today, late october, we have a brisk southwesterly wind here in Tromsø, N.Norway, severe rain showers and a temperature of 12*C, in short typical autumn weather. But only two days ago everything looked completely dofferent, for a week we had beautifil winter weather, a few degrees frost, 5-6 inches of snow, all postcard pretty. In the course of the last two days the temperature has risen 20*C, and all the fresh snow has disappeared even from the surrounding hillsides. So we are back to where we started from; this entire autumn has basically been wet, wild and mild here, with more than double the average precipitation in September, and 55 days of consecutive rain (Not all the time of course, but such that there was some rain on every day. meanwhile each day has inexorably ten minutes less daylight than the day before; just now the sun is already pretty low in the southern skies at noon, and disappears below the horizon at c 3 30 pm. There are not all that many landbirds to report on in late autumn in Tromsø; in my garden Hooded Crows and Black-billed Magpies absolutely dominate, together with gangs of largely greyish young Greenfinches, that are attracted to my hanging feeder with mainly sunflower seeds. One of the family of magpies that nested in a garden across the street last summer, and that still seems to keep together, has amazingly learned to feed from the hanging tube-feeder, although not for long leriods at a time. It clings acrobatically to the tube, and extracts the seeds one by one, like a grossly overgrown chickadee. There are real chickadees also in the garden, the large and showy yellowish Parus major (the Kjøttmeis)and the neat black-and-white P. montanus(the Granmeis). You will all need to learn the Norwegian names of these nice tame feisty birds, because if I use the english names, my mails get refused 'because it contains obscenity' or even 'blasphemy', or when I am very lucky, they get sent out with two or three red peppers. I have been severely bowled out by somebody at a Welsh boys school for 'corrupting the minds of innocent young boys', and that all because the members of the Paridae in Europe have the English name t*i*t, and many filters clearly automatically and unintelligently react to this word in whatever meaning it may appear.
OK, Kjøttmeis and Granmeis are also common in my garden and feed from my feeder, and now and then I have one or two House Sparrows as well, also a new development. Earlier this autumn, as every year, large flocks of thrushes, Fieldfares and Redwings came to raid the Sorbus (Mountain Ash or Rowan) berries; this year there were also quite a number of Starlings among them---maybe our campaign (I know, hard to understand to overseas people) to put out nestboxes for starlings, in order to try to stem their serious decrease in our region, has born some fruit. Day before yesterday I walked to the shop, down the hill from our house (which lies at c 45m a.s.l.), and was very much surprised to find a few trees chockfull of Bohemian Waxwings, there must have been at least 200. We have these tame, beautiful fruiteaters almost every autumn here in Tromsø, but this time there must have been a very large influx, as I have seen several large flocks fly over my house the last few days. Usually one finds these birds by their cheery trilling calls, but this flock was absolutely silent; I watched them quite some time, from very close, as they were as tame as they always are, but I didn't hear any sound at all! My walk through the Folkeparken, a very muddy affair these days, goes now through a silent and bare forest. I haven't even heard any Bullfinches for weeks. The only sounds one hears are the chattering of the magpies, and the calls of some Great Black-backed Gull flying over. Oddly enough I have not yet heard any Ravens here either. So this time a year is a good time to bring ones record up to date, and to follow the birding exploits of others. Most years my year list comes to a full stop somewhere in October, unless we'll have a late influx of Pine Grosbeaks, as happens some years. Wim Vader, Tromsø Museum 9037 Tromsø, Norway