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Wonder wondering the Wonders of Nature on the shore of the Mare Karelia and elsewhere

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Old Thursday 13th June 2019, 17:08   #26
Warixenjalka
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My diary runs badly overdue. (So much out there now)


Ruff and Jay were both just in my neighborhood and really daring. Normally Jays avoid to come close, but this was just a 5 meters away.

This Magic Moment happened one morning in my local marina on the way to work:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIO8...&index=11&t=0s

White Wagtail and Osprey were on Valkmusa, Pyhtaa (One of the best swamps in Southern Finland). Also I heard there Black-tailed Godwit and saw some Black Grouse lek.

Pied Avocet was Finish tick for me. It spend several days in Oivonoja, Kouvola.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nM7y-0NNidA
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Old Sunday 16th June 2019, 15:23   #27
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On 15th May I was cycling to work with "landscape route" and got six new eco-year-ticks, like these Arctic Terns and Wood Sandpipers. As you can see from that thin crust of ice, the night wasn't warm...

At Sunday 19th May was again time to Race. In Virolahti, Arctic Days are held every May when the Arctic waterfowl flocks migrate to the northern breeding areas along the Gulf of Finland. The event will include a 12-hour Arctic rally and our team has participated in it every year. This year there was only seven teams in (maybe the Sunday isn't such a good day for a race) and we came fourth place with 121 species. First and second team scored 132 species and the number of aces solved the winner. (Ace = species that only one team got)
Third pic is our team (I'm of course behind camera )

Painted Ladyes are massive migration this spring and early summer. I don't remember I'd ever seen them in such quantities.

I visited in Virolahti again May 23rd and photoing this just ringed Greenish Warbler. May mornings can be quite magical in Virolahti also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAQG...z1FNoa&index=9
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Old Sunday 16th June 2019, 15:34   #28
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Well done, maybe you'll win next year! I thought your team member standing on the track had an enormous telescope when I first looked at the photo (see what I mean?).

Cheers,

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Old Sunday 16th June 2019, 17:49   #29
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Yes, if you look fast (or your phone) it may look so.
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Old Tuesday 18th June 2019, 15:27   #30
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25th May

Traditionally our Birding Club has organized boat trip to Ulko-Tammio, which is one of the islands of National Park of Eastern Gulf of Finland. Every year we have done this trip on last Saturday of May.
This year's trip was very foggy and on the way back we got some rain on our neck. Although the weather didn't really favor us, the journey was once again fun and rewarding.
It seems that every year is little bit different. At this year we saw biggest flocks of Black and Velvet Scoters than ever - there was thousands of them swimming and resting. Also there was plenty of Brent and Barnacle Geese and Black-throated Divers and we got quite close view of them. Geese and Divers flew between water surface. Some of the Divers we surprised from swimming (like the bird on photo). Also Arctic Skuas we saw more than usually. - All this we can give thanks to fog.
The downside was that there wasn't much sense to scope to the sea from the shores of the island. Otherwise the island of Ulko-Tammio is a fantastic place with varied habitats: groves, dry pine forest, cliffs, and even a small sheltered sea bay with reeds. This year we saw - or heard - 3 Red-breasted Flycatcher and 5 Greenish Warblers plus many other nice birds.
Even I said that there wasn't much sense to scope to the sea, I got my trips only year tick in that way: Dunlin was on a small islet near shore.
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Old Tuesday 18th June 2019, 15:46   #31
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An overview of my year tick situation at the end of May.

Year ticks: 185 (last year: 193) - So not looking good...
Eco ticks: 120 (last year: 134) - Even more worst...
Garden ticks: 57 (last year: 61) -
Mammal ticks: 15 (last year: 10) - This look's little bit better.
Reptile and Amphibians: 5 (last year: 3) - And this.

But I don't sink in despair. There is still more than half of the year left.
And my last tick for May was quite nice - After many years dipping: Marsh Sandpiper, which is why I went out of work. However, twiching it didn't last more than an hour, after which I was more refreshed at work.
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Old Friday 21st June 2019, 12:24   #32
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Helsinki - 7th June

On that day I had a work gig in Helsinki and I planned to do some birding in Viikki/Vanhankaupunginlahti while I was there. In Arabianranta had been fair weekdays a Bar-headed Goose, which was lifer to me. Some kind of lifer anyway, because in Finland it's on category D. Even, in Kemijarvi (2008) had one successful breeding and one possible in Kainuu (2006). Before I found BhG I found these fearless Canadians (Photo 1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0qw...ature=youtu.be

After twitching that beautiful Goose I walked to Viikki's Lammassaari and tried to look out the Long-eared Owl and Golden Oriole, which had been seen there earlier in the morning - without success. But it's always pleasure to go Viikki. I manage to take short videos this Barn Swallow https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmBH...ature=youtu.be and this very showy Sedge Warbler https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhTI...ature=youtu.be

Hoodie (Photo 4) thought that Bird tower means that the tower belongs to birds.

When I left from Viikki, I had information that there is Booted Warbler in Malmi, Helsinki. I didn't have it on my lifelist - but now I have. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3Uo...ature=youtu.be (It's little bit frusrating when cobirder fire up with camera and you try to record birds sound BW didn't show up so well for another time, so that's my only video for it)
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Old Monday 24th June 2019, 17:02   #33
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Eco rally - 8th June

On 8th June was again time to race. This time with bike and alone. Rally time was 8 hours and I started at 03.15 am and stopped 11.15 am. I cycled a little over 62 km in Kotka and Pyhtaa counties and I get 82 species. With that score I came fourth place (from 4 competitors ), witch begin to come very familiar place to me (or my team).
Other competitors get 111 sp. (winner), 104 and 102. So I really sucked...
I can only say that I cycled too much on woods, when I should scoped more on shores. Good thing is that there is always next competition...

Weather was nicely sunny and the morning hours were pure enjoy, when birds were singing and species get coming: Corn Crake, Green Sandpiper, Wood Lark, Tree Pipit, Little Gull, Great Reed Warbler and Marsh Warbler were new eco ticks for me for this year. However, the best bird of the day was Lesser Gray Shrike, which I saw 15 minutes before the end of the rally. OK, it was a twitch, but nice rally species still. This was my second LGS ever and it was exactly same place than my first one on 6th July 2016 - Hovinsaari, Kotka.

In addition to the LGS, Roe Deer was photographed during the rally, and few days later I photoed Meadow Pipit and Spotted Redshanks (which are already on autumn migration) - both of course in Hovinsaari.
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Old Tuesday 25th June 2019, 07:35   #34
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Hey Wari, is the Red headed Bunting too far for a bike twitch for you?
Good luck if you get pedalling over there!
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Old Sunday 14th July 2019, 17:46   #35
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Red-headed was near Turku, so way too far away for biking trip. I didn't go even with car. Which I'm gonna be sorry someday for sure. (I wait it coming closer some day... )
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Old Tuesday 16th July 2019, 14:08   #36
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Nice to read some stuff from another biking birder

I do not drive but do have half a dozen to choose from including electric conversions. My tallies would not match yours around where i live but i do take one of our folding Bromptons abroad from time to time

Laurie -
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Old Thursday 18th July 2019, 13:15   #37
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Originally Posted by rollingthunder View Post
Nice to read some stuff from another biking birder

I do not drive but do have half a dozen to choose from including electric conversions. My tallies would not match yours around where i live but i do take one of our folding Bromptons abroad from time to time

Laurie -
I'm actually quite lazy biker. If there isn't competition, my biking trips are mostly short; 5 to 10 km only. I have planned that some day I take the tent and do two days biking trip in some good birding location.
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Old Thursday 18th July 2019, 13:57   #38
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Trip to Norway and Lapland 27.6. – 7.7.2019 with family, part 1

At a first day of my Summer holiday, we started to drive towards the North at 7.35 am. There was nothing amazing on the way to the Liminka – just the usual stuff; Magpies, Jackdaws, Crows, Wood Pigeons, Gulls, Cranes, Sparrows, Swallows, couple of dead Raccoon Dogs, etc… After 560 km and 8½ hours we were at the hotel.

Some of you might know that Liminka is one of the best birding hot spots of Finland and this was my first time there. Not the best time of a year, and only one evening and one morning to spend there but I decided to get most out of the short time. At evening (or afternoon if I’m absolutely correct) we drove to parking lot of Liminka Bay Visitor Centre (Liminganlahti: https://visitliminka.fi/en/liminka-bay/ ) and walked couple hundred meters to birdwatching tower of Virkkula. Which looked absolutely fantastic, it’s the finest watching tower what I have ever seen. But when I climbed to upper lever of tower, it soon became clear that the hard wind made it impossible to use the telescope… [couple of not so nice words]
There I was – on the ultimate hot spot of Finland and I could use only my binoculars and even that was unpleasant as the blowing North wind. Other family escaped soon from tower and so did I. I tried the lower level which is covered by the walls but the view from there was very limited. Soon my wife and son demanded that we return to the Visitor Centre. So my sightings from that visit was minor: Pied Flycatcher, Willow Warbler, Reed Bunting, Common Redshank (very showy), Hooded Crow, Marsh Harrier, Caspian Tern, Common Tern, Mallard, Wigeon (mother and ducklings) and Common Snipe. On the other side of Bay I saw lots of ducks and other waterfowl, but couldn’t ID them.
We make a short visit in the Visitor Centre and the exhibitions there and we all like it very much. On the hotels yard I saw couple of Rooks which is always nice to see, cos they don’t occur regularly on our neigborhood.

After good 5 hours sleep, I sneaked out and drove back to Liminka Bay. I thought that early in the morning the wind had calmed, but I was wrong. It still blew so that I soon pulled back to the lower level of the tower. It wasn’t pure joy, but I stayed there about an hour and saw in addition to the species seen last evening: Whooper Swan, Northern Shoveler, Common Teal, White-tailed Eagle, Common Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Black-headed and Common Gull, Great Tit, Fieldfare, Whinchat, White Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Yellowhammer.
At the next I drove half an hour to North-West to Sannanlahti’s tower in Lumijoki. I thought that it would be little bit more wind cover than Virkkula. I was right, but just a little. In my half an hour there I saw Wood Pigeon, Common Crane, Black-tailed Godwit (which is one of Liminka Bay specialities), Red-backed Shrike, Sedge Warbler, Redwing and briefly small Falcon (not sure was it Kestrel or Hobby). On way back to the hotel for breakfast I manage to see Lapwing, Magpie, Jackdaw, Blackbird and Spruce Siskin.

Then it was time to hit the road again. I had planned that the first stop would be made in Oritkari, Oulu. I was told that there might be Terek Sandpipers. – Actually, I had just got it for Lifer from Kouvola (which I think I haven’t told you yet) at the less than a week ago, but it was so distant that I didn’t get any photos it could have recognized. – So, this time I wanted more successful pictures.
When we get TS place, I noticed there was plenty of waders on a pool. Soon I found promising looking bird, but no – it was a Wood Sandpiper. There was at least four of them and also couple of Redshanks, Little Ringed Plover, Mallards, Teals and White Wagtails but no sign from Terek. Other family members get little bit nervous already, so I thought it’s better to put scope, binos, camera and myself in to the car. Anyway, I had still one other TS place in my notes. I started the little Skoda and lifted up the clutch, when I saw something small and pale waderish kind of thing landed on pool, I stopped the car and jump out with a camera. And indeed – there it was now – Terek Sandpiper looking for a lunch. I take my photos and short video and then we were ready to leave Oulu – and Finland - behind us.
https://youtu.be/WoC_NYaNUrw
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Old Sunday 21st July 2019, 08:44   #39
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Trip to Norway and Lapland 27.6. – 7.7.2019 with family, part 2

We were on Swedish border at 12.25 pm and I started to collect Swedish ticks: Jackdaw, Black-headed Gull and Common Tern and so on, nothing special. Our trip first (and only in Sweden) Reindeer we saw just before crossing the Polar Circle. Bull with massive antlers grazed on road side. Scenery started look like we aren’t home no more, mountains (or fjeld or tunturi if you prefer) get higher and trees smaller.
We spend next night in Kiiruna and we were there at 16.30 pm. After settling to hotel, we went pizzas and then we were ready to sleep.

Saturday mornings start was 8.30 am. We did our first stop in Abisko where we bought some supplies and fill up the tank, cos I had read beer, food and petrol is cheaper in Swede than in Norway. About petrol – it wasn’t – at least in Abisko it wasn't. (Here I must say; they say that Finland is expensive country, but all the petrol we bought during our trip, it was cheapest in Finland. Maybe the food is little cheaper in Sweden – in grocery stores – but more expensive in Norway and the alcohol prices in Norway… )
In Abisko has a nice Visitor Centre and we make a little walk there and noticed that it was beautiful place with plenty of paths to walk middle of nature. Now we were little bit annoyed at we didn’t choice this place to spend night instead of Kiiruna. Well, it’s always the next time. I saw my this years first Bramblings in Abisko, couple of very bright-coloured males. Nothing like those what I usually see in winter times in Southern Finland. Also there was singing Willow Warbler, Common Redpolls, Magpies, Hooded Crows, Fieldfares, some almost tailles Rodent (too quick to ID or taking photo) and on Visitor Centre House Sparrows. (I think that Tree Sparrows aren’t this north – yet – actually, I didn’t saw them anywhere on this trip.)
I was hoped to see Willow Grouse and/or Rock Ptarmigans in Abisko, but no luck with them. But just couple miles before Norwegian border I manage to saw Rough-legged Buzzard.

From Sweden, I got only 17 species from this trip and most of them was already on my Swede-list, so it stands on 33 now. What is quite sad number.
Maybe I have to do birding trip to Sweden at some point.
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Old Sunday 21st July 2019, 12:06   #40
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Those photos of the gorge at Abisko bring back some nice memories.
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Old Wednesday 24th July 2019, 06:44   #41
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Those photos of the gorge at Abisko bring back some nice memories.
It was wonderful place. Did you stay there how long?
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Old Wednesday 24th July 2019, 07:19   #42
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Trip to Norway and Lapland 27.6. – 7.7.2019 with family, part 3

At noon we crossed the border and I started to collect Norwegian ticks, which was totally new category for me. I had been in Norway once before, but it was somewhere late 70’s. You wouldn’t never guess what was my first Norwegian tick on those high mountains… so I tell you. It was little disappointingly a Common Gull. I was expecting Ptarmigan, Golden Eagle or Gyr Falcon.
There seemed to be very few birds in those mountains, but the weather wasn’t good either; rain more or less. I got my second tick when we landed down to sea shore; Oystercatcher, which eventually was one of the most usually seen birds during our visit in Norway.
We made little stop in Bjerkvik and during that I saw Magpies, Hooded Crows and Fieldfares.
When driving road E10 towards Tjeldsund Bridge, two Elks (Moose for Americans ) jumped to the road. I – and co drivers in other cars - had to stop for few minutes, cos the other Elk couldn’t decide whether she wanted to cross the road or not. Fortunately, all survived the incident without a scratch.
About 2 pm we crossed huge Tjelsund Bridge and arrived island of Hinnoya. Landscapes continued to improve – even though there was nothing to complain about those before. Although there was still water came from the sky, almost without a break, my Norwegian list continued improve as well – few to mention; Rough-legged Buzzard in Fortjord, White-tailed Eagles and Arctic Skua in Andoya.
With couple short stops we continued all the way up, until we were the most northern tip of Archipelago of Vesteralen, Andenes at 6.20 pm. We had a very nice apartment, which had a view of the breakwaters protected bay, whose shores and small islands were colonies of gulls and terns. Immediately I set up a telescope in front of one of the windows and started looking at the birds. Most of a gulls were Greater Black-backed Gulls and I think all the Terns were Arctic. But there was also my first lifer of the trip: Black-legged Kittiwake! On the bay was swimming Goosanders, Red-breasted Mergansers, Common Eiders and few fly by Great Cormorants. On our side of the bay was also White Wagtails, Northern Wheatears and of course Oystercatchers.
Meanwhile my wife cooked tuna pasta (that wonderful woman ) and we ate that days first proper meal after breakfast in Kiruna. Fortunately, the rain was taking a break, so we went for an evening stroll to explore the small town of Andenes. We admired Kittiwakes nests on building roofs and walls. They have quite different voice than other gulls, almost like kittens meow... (I wonder are they named after that: kittens – Kitti??? ) I managed to see a swimming Otter from the pier while watching the sea, but it disappeared as I began to cheer on my fellow travelers.
And then it was time to us disappeared too - to watch beautiful dreams. After first day my Norwegian list stood on 26 bird species and 2 mammals.

Next “morning” I wake up early, about 3.15 am. Sky was misty and rainy, but there wasn’t dark at all. I drove to Kleivodden view, where you can see island of Foroya, which is the best place to see Gannets from “mainland”, I had been told. When I get there it didn’t rain and I erect scope and started to watch birds. Indeed, there was Northern Gannets in island, and also Cormorants, Gulls, Black Guillemots and – Oystercatchers. I had been there only couple of minutes, when it started to rain. I escaped to the car and decided to drive further south towards Bleik and Stave, where I turn around and drove back. I saw and heard several Curlews and Common Snipes. Fieldfare seemed to be very common there and pretty common was also Redwing. Mornings nicest sight was Short-eared Owl who was sitting on rock by the road. Almost as nice was Ring Ouzel near Kleivodden when driving back. Another try at Kleivodden didn’t last much longer than first one – after 15 minutes it started rain again. There was a couple of Curlews on shore this time and few Pipits, which I didn’t recognized. I’d seen Meadow Pipit before on that morning in a few places – also on the shoreline - so I thought maybe these were also Mipits.
The clock was only half past five, but the rain bored me and I decided to go back to our accommodation.
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Old Wednesday 24th July 2019, 11:02   #43
Richard Prior
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Enjoying reading about the trip Wari - Kittiwake are called that in English because the call is “kikiwake”!
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Old Wednesday 24th July 2019, 11:30   #44
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Originally Posted by Warixenjalka View Post
It was wonderful place. Did you stay there how long?
Unfortunately I was only passing through like you so only had and afternoon / evening and a short bit of the next morning. But it still made an impression.
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Old Wednesday 24th July 2019, 16:43   #45
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Sounds like you have some great birding sites over there W. Really enjoying this thread.

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Old Sunday 28th July 2019, 15:41   #46
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Thanks to you. Nice to have someone read my stuff.
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Old Sunday 28th July 2019, 15:49   #47
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Trip to Norway and Lapland 27.6. – 7.7.2019 with family, part 4

On that Sunday was to be the absolute highlight of our journey. At least if Thor and the other gods of the weather would be favourable to us. We had booked tickets for the whale safari. None of us had never seen before any whales, not even dolphins or porpoises, so we were all very excited.
Tour in Andenes Whale museum started 9.30 am and it was nice, but we were already looking forward to getting on the safari at 11 am, as scheduled. The weather was not ideal and soon the captain announced that due to the strong wind we would not be able to leave on time. However, the wind was expected to calm down after noon, so the departure was delayed for a couple of hours, after which the situation would be looked at again.

So, we had a couple of hours to spend and after huge cinnamon rolls and cup of coffee, I took the family in Kleivodden view. Gannets were gone, but now I manage to take video from pipit and this time I nail it for Rock Pipit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vtvw...&index=18&t=0s

At 1 pm the captain of the whale safari announced that the voyage to sea would be realized – Yippee!
About 15 minutes after start I got lifer when Puffin swam beside the boat. After another 15 minutes I got another lifer - Northern Fulmar. But the main thing, whales we had to wait longer. We had told that in summertime the mostly seen whale is Sperm Whale and if we are very lucky we can see also Harbour Porpoises or/and Orcas. At 14.41 pm long and eagerly awaited whales were found, but they were not Sperm Whales but Orcas. Amazing moment. We watched the Orcas over an hour, but the bigger or smaller relatives did not appeared. Soon after first Orcas I got one lifer more – Great Skua.
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Old Tuesday 30th July 2019, 14:07   #48
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Trip to Norway and Lapland 27.6. – 7.7.2019 with family, part 5

Here’s some pics from Orcas and one short video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXJf...ature=youtu.be

We were back on shore at 4.30 pm and started to drive trough Lofoten side of archipelago. On the way to Kabelvåg, I didn’t saw anything special. Only that I make my only Norwegian observation from Wood Pigeon in Sigerfjord.
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Old Thursday 1st August 2019, 12:12   #49
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Trip to Norway and Lapland 27.6. – 7.7.2019 with family, part 6

On 1st July in Kabelvåg I slept long and woke up at 7-ish. Forecasts showed that the whole day would be gray, rainy and windy. So, after good breakfast (which would have served whale meat too - which of course we didn't even taste) we drove down smaller roads and explored some beaches – After all, we were on holiday. No matter what the weather was.
Soon we found ourselves from Unstad which is very popular beach among surfers. This time there was only two brave surfers. We put our rain clothes on, but soon I realized that the rain poncho didn't really protect from horizontally rain at all. The wind lifted my poncho in my ears and I fled into the car as a chicken. The wife and son were better equipped and enjoyed the beach for half an hour.
We went to a few other beaches where the wind was not so strong and even the rain took sometimes a break. Have I already mention that Lofoten Archipelago is absolutely amazing place? Steep mountains grow straight out of the turquoise sea, where you can see deep down several meters. And the beaches are white sand. If the sun was shining and it would have been about twenty to thirty degrees more warm you would have thought you were on an island in the Caribbean.
When we were hungry enough, we drove to city of Henningsvaer – Very beautiful, very good food -and very expensive.

Without actually looking for birds, I saw 23 species on that day. Best one was Lesser Black-backed Gull, which I first saw in Skifjorden (1st photo is from there). I’m not definite what subspecies the LBBG’s are in Lofoten, intermedius or graellsii. Maybe some of you can tell me that?
Later in the evening I take this video from Hotel rooms window (I think it’s a intermedius): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74rZ...ature=youtu.be
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Old Sunday 4th August 2019, 16:01   #50
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Next day we drove as South as it is possible to drive in Lofoten - small village of Å. There was nice cliffs where Kittiwakes and Shags were nesting. This was just a second time I saw the Shags, so naturally I was pretty excited. (First time was in Croatia couple of years ago). There was also Eiders and one Arctic Skua. I noticed that Painted Ladies were flown as far north also. This individual (2nd photo) had already seen hers/his best days…
At Ramberg beach I got couple of Norwegian ticks, Ringed Plover and Green-winged Teal, and somewhere in Island of Moskenoya Greylag Goose. In shallow bay near Leknes was Common Shelduck.

Next morning was our last in Norway, so I woke up early and went to the Kabelvåg’s breakwater to scope to the sea. There was nothing special to see. Just that Mipits behaved just like Rock Pipits (Ripits???) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rr5r...&index=21&t=0s
Anyway, the so-called sunrise was beautiful (third photo).

I decided to go walk on the woods at West side of the city and it really was worth it. On the forest edge were Pied Flycatchers, Siskins, Greenfinches, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and juvenile Twites, which were quite difficult to ID. Luckily, I got few messy photos of them.
I followed one path and saw Reed Buntings, Tree Pipits, Chaffinches, Redshanks and Common Snipes. Then I heard weird sound, but soon my gray brain cells started to work and I realized that somewhere nearby there was either a Red-necked Grebe or a Red-throated Diver. When one flew over me, I realized that it was the latter. Then I heard there was more of them - Somewhere near and they didn’t fly. I was thrilled. I had never seen them so close up. I proceeded on crouch through the bushes towards the sound source. After about hundred meter I came to the pool and there they were – 3 RtD’s! I landed on my knee behind bushes that they couldn’t see me. There was also couple of Common Gulls and they were seen me right – I could heard that. Divers looked pretty alarmed, but they calmed down soon. There was one Red-breasted Merganser too with the Divers. And I just admired those beautiful and primitive birds… and took hundred photos and few videos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfsE...1FNoa&index=21
After about half an hour I crouched quietly away. Sad but true - It was time to go breakfast.

At 9.20 am, we started long drive to the North. Before we left the archipelago I got two more ticks: Bullfinch sat on fence by the roadside and when we were on small coffee break, I heard familiar song nearby from bush middle of a field – It was Sedge Warbler!
On Continent we were 12.35 pm. In Hilleshamn I saw Cockoo (which is always nice) and at near Moen was one rest-stop, where I manage to see my last Norwegian ticks: Tufted Duck and Merlin.

At 19.00 pm (Norwegian time) we crossed the border in Kilpisjarvi, and we were back in homeland. At almost immediately we saw reindeers by the roadside, but none in Norway – which was little strange.
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