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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 14th May 2020, 11:14   #76
Warixenjalka
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More photos from boat trip.
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Old Thursday 14th May 2020, 11:15   #77
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...and the last ones.
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Old Sunday 31st May 2020, 14:47   #78
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May 1st to 5th

May 1st First of May (National holiday) I spend in Iitti with a friend. We made waterbird countings for Luomus (Finnish Museum of Natural History). But before countings we visited the old forest area owned jointly by the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation and our association. Neither of us had visited the forest before, so we were very interested to see what kind of place it was. Forest was mostly rugged youngish (or at least quite short) pine forest on top of a rock. At the foot of the cliff were older tall spruces and small areas of deciduous woodlands. From top of cliff had a nice view to nearby lake. There was typical pine forest birds like Crested Tits and Crossbills, but nothing very special. Red-necked Grebes shouts down on lake. Best bird from my point of view was Pied Flycatcher (year tick).
All the counting points were in different bays of the same lake. Three point of four were Red-necked Grebes and that other one got couple Great Crested Grebes. From one point we found three Coots, which is quite rare in Iitti. Good ones were also three Common Pochards, four Smews and two Wigeons. From two points we saw distant Black-throated Divers. Otherwise there was the usual things: Whoopers, Mallards, Goldeneyes, Tufted Ducks and Goosanders. From first point we heard Wryneck and from last place were couple Willow Warblers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuMSwYTICXk

3rd Morning walk produced year ticks from Wood Warbler and Common Redstart and last but not least I heard other side of our local bay a Spotted Crake! Site where I haven’t heard it never before. It stayed tickable about one week and many birders went to listen to its hwuits.
At afternoon we drove to Helsinki (Wife wanted to see mother of our coming family member ). I used the opportunity to benefit and I went to the tick Isabelline Wheatear on fields of Viikki. Fifth lifer for this year… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shticeFfGXk

4th I went to Hietanen by bike: Whinchat and Little Gull were best sightings. I dipped among other things Little Ringed Plover.

5th I made longer trip (20 km) all the way to the Heinlahti, Pyhtaa. Within 6,5 hours I manage to saw 72 species. I spend couple of hours just to scanning the fields – I tried to found that Lesser White-fronted Goose again. I count 400 Tundra Bean Geese, 250 Barnacles and 55 Greater White-fronted but no sign of LWfG. I only got one year tick - Lesser Whitethroat - but nice eco ticks were Hazel Grouse, Garganey, Great Egret, Ruff, Redshank and Wryneck. A total of 64 Chaffinches were seen / heard along the route. I also saw this year’s first Viviparous Lizard. I almost got year tick from Water mole too. But it was in the Fox's mouth, so probably dead. It seemed that the geese did not care much about the fox walking right next of them. Maybe they saw that Fox had it lunch already.
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Old Sunday 31st May 2020, 15:49   #79
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Sounds like May is good in your part of the world, too! Very envious of your Smews and Red-necked Grebes!
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Old Sunday 31st May 2020, 16:05   #80
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Just caught up with this thread from your posts on 3Italianbirders Coronavirus blog! Very impressive and makes me want to visit your beautiful country, a lot of birds there I would love to see! Keep up the good work Wari!

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Old Sunday 7th June 2020, 17:07   #81
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May 6th to 18th

Welcome Chris!


6th Morning in Lake Kirkkojarvi, Hamina where my main target was a Savi’s Warbler that had been “singing” there for a few days. Even couple of other birders in my side said that they can hear it – barely, but hear all the same, I couldn’t distinguish its chirping verse from all the “background noise” – Reed and Sedge Warblers, Chaffinches, Greylags and many others. My ears aren’t same as they use to be… In addition to the Warblers I got year ticks from Yellow Wagtail and Blackcap.
After the morning in Lake I drove couple miles to North to site which is one of the lasts Ortolan Bunting sites in Kymenlaakso. When I opened cars door, I heard it singing right away. I crab camera on my hands and I tried to found the singer, cos I hadn’t never before manage to photo it. Song stopped, Bunting flew little further and landed high on birch. I walked little closer, singing started again and I start to shoot. I even take a short video from it. It was still quite distant and carefully I walked closer to get better photos. Then the Bunting moved even further. I decided to leave it alone and left happily away from the new photographed species.
At home I loaded the Bunting photos on PC and it was a big surprise when I noticed I had photographed a Yellowhammer!

9th Because Corona this year’s “Fight of a Birding Towers” was cancelled. Instead, it had been decided to organize “Fight of Gardens”. I have already told about this on here: https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=384988 – so I mention only that I got one new garden lifer: Northern Wheatear.

10th The morning bike ride produced couple of eco ticks: Sedge Warbler and Blackcap and one great year tick when very early Greenish Warbler sang a few verses at the top of the spruce. What made the situation a little confusing was that the bird once took off in the middle of the song. To my understanding, the song flight is not known from GW’s. Unfortunately, the bird soon disappeared into the darkness of the forest. Luckily, a few other birders manage to heard it in the same and the very next day, but overall quite a few manage to enjoyed it.

11th I feel lazy in morning and decided to skip birding from this day. But after I got information that there is Dunlin and Temminck’s Stint in Hietanen, I hopped on back of my bike and hurried there. There was already one searcher and soon one more came. We saw two Little Ringed Plovers, heard Thrush Nightingale (both year ticks for me) plus got eco ticks from Arctic Tern and Yellow Wagtail. After searching for the Calidris’s for over an hour we found Dunlin and Temminck's Stint in a place we had passed already before. What an joy – especially Temminck’s is hard to get some years – and this time I got it even for eco tick. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IvK...&index=49&t=0s

12th Early in a morning (3 am) me and my birding-komrad started trip to Hamina and Virolahti (South-East corner of Finland). In Kirkkojarvi, Hamina I finally manage to hear Savi’s Warbler. In Virolahti, we first drove through fields and tried to find Corn Crakes, Quails and some Owls, but without result. I got first year ticks for a day from Vilkkilantura (which is lush sea bay just a couple km from Russian border): Whitethroat, Spotted Redshank and Eurasian Cuckoo. From Lerviikki (shore where many birders come to watch arctic migration) we saw Gadwall male and two local Black Scoters, but almost no migration at all. So, we decided to go North to looking for Raptors etc. Rest of the day best were Honey Buzzard and Common Swift.

15th It was time to do second waterbird counting in Iitti. This time we skipped the old forest and focused those four counting points. We noticed that there were fewer Waterfawl but more insectivores, which was obvious. Year ticks from Garden Warbler and Bluethroat. But mornings best observation was two Canadian Beavers – lifer! They almost steal the whole show and the bird counting could suffer a bit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Op5U...ature=youtu.be
After countings we drove to Elimaki, where in some fields had been seen for a few days resting Dotterels. Fortunately we found them after one hour searching – just when the sky breaks and cold rain started. This was just the second time I had seen Dotterels, the last time was 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zjj...ature=youtu.be

18th Local bike trip in a morning produce Common Rosefinch plus 3 eco ticks: Garden Warbler, Reed Warbler and Whitethroat. This very showy Yellow-necked Mouse was delight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_WD...ature=youtu.be
In the evening I drove to Kouvola where had been two Montagu’s Harrier and I manage to see the old male but quite far away. Me and four other birders were looking for it and the 2cy female couple of hours but we didn’t found them again.
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Old Monday 8th June 2020, 16:54   #82
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I didn't know that there were Canadian Beavers in Europe! That mouse is really sweet!
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Old Monday 8th June 2020, 17:34   #83
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I didn't know that there were Canadian Beavers in Europe!
Me neither, Jos has the European one just over in Lithuania though I think.
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Old Monday 15th June 2020, 09:43   #84
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Finnish fur hunters killed local beavers in the late 19th century. In the 1930s, the beaver was planted back in Finnish nature. At first they were imported from Canada - then it was thought that there would be only one species of beaver. Later they imported also Norwegian beavers, so here is nowadays two species of beavers. Europeans lives in Western part of Finland and Canadians lives in most of the rest of Finland.
When it came to talk now: more about the European Beaver in the near future...
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 08:11   #85
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May 20th to 27th

20th With a friend we decide to do the “twich-trip” to Helsinki. Our first target was on way, in Pernaja had been couple of Serins. We dipped them. But we didn’t leave Pernaja without nothing: Icterine Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher for year ticks. The next target species was Firecrest, which was supposed to be up to two in Helsinki (possible nesting couple). These we nailed! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAqJ...ature=youtu.be
Days last target was in Viikki – hiding Little Crake. And of course it was quietly and deep in hide for us. Instead we manage to saw/hear Great Reed warbler, Bearded Reedling, Corn Crake and Grasshopper warbler. All very nice species. I was home at next day 3 am. (Afterwards I read that the Little Crake had been briefly in the sound twice between 3 am and 5.30 am. We left too hastily away.)

22nd Succesful morning walk at local path, or what you say about Icterine and Tree-toed Woodpecker? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=498d...ature=youtu.be

25th Bike trip to Kyminlinna. Marsh (1) and Blyth’s Reed Warbler (atleast 3) for year ticks and Cuckoo for eco. I noticed that singing Rosefinces seemed to be almost everywhere.
But only one singing Wryneck. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MELY...ature=youtu.be

27th We drove to Virolahti again. One female Red-backed Shrike on Vilkkilantura. Also, we heard 4 Water Rails, saw very pale headed White-tailed Eagle (almost like a Bold Eagle) and a lots of other nice stuff, like this Cuckoo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7JTLTf7DN8 Only after watching the video I was filming did I realize that the Cuckoo was holding its beak shut in the second part of its cuckooing. Apparently the second sound is formed in his chest.
Six hours watch in Lerviikki produced five year ticks: couple of thousand Brent Geese, 1230 Grey Plovers, 49 Bar-tailed Godwits, 20 Red Knots and one Arctic Skua flew to their arctic nesting areas. Also, 50 Barnacles, about 300 Divers, 2200 un-ID’d bigger shorebirds and 14 smaller shorebirds.
Stop in Kolsinpohja give us a year tick from Red-breasted Flycatcher. But there was still one stop what I wanted to do before leaving Virolahti. In Riko had been couple of singing Ortolan Buntings – and there still was: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrP_IltAzvc Mission accomplished.
Totally we saw/heard 112 species in 12,5 hours in Virolahti.
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 08:33   #86
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Great stuff! Is Firecrest starting to colonise Finland or is it there for some time already?
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 13:32   #87
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I love reading your posts and watching your videos Wari, so entertaining! Good stuff. Keep it up. Speaking about Ortolan buntings, they used to breed not far from here until 4-5 years ago, but we haven't seen them since. Although I thought I heard one singing when I was out on our balcony this morning!
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 17:19   #88
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Great stuff! Is Firecrest starting to colonise Finland or is it there for some time already?
It's just starting. I think it was two years ago when there was - also in Helsinki - mixed nesting with female Goldcrest and male Firecrest. I will gladly welcome them.
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Old Wednesday 17th June 2020, 17:23   #89
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I love reading your posts and watching your videos Wari, so entertaining! Good stuff. Keep it up. Speaking about Ortolan buntings, they used to breed not far from here until 4-5 years ago, but we haven't seen them since. Although I thought I heard one singing when I was out on our balcony this morning!
Ortolan has the dubious honor of being our fastest declining bird.
I think it goes same way in whole Europe. What is the situation in Italy?
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Old Thursday 18th June 2020, 16:53   #90
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End of May

29th It was time to do this year second sea trip. This time me and two other birders headed the bow of the boat towards the East. I started to write down the species as soon as we left the pier:
- Common Gull
- Black-headed Gull
- Common Tern
- Arctic Tern
- Oystercatcher
- Hobby
- Great Crested Grebe
- Tufted Duck
- Thrush Nightingale
- Spruce Siskin
- Tree Sparrow
- Fieldfare
- Herring Gull
- Goosander
- Mallard
- Coot
- Mute Swan
- Whooper Swan
- Cormorant
- Common Sandpiper
- Common Eider – at this point we were already on archipelago
- Red-breasted Merganser
- Greater Black-backed Gull
- Black-throated Diver
- Chaffinch
- White Wagtail
- Ringed Plover
- Kestrel
- Ruddy Turnstone – year tick https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_7lbBLHSoE
- Green-winged Teal
- Greylag
- Redshank
- Brent Goose
- Red Knot - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0pi4J3tiqQ
- Razorbill
- Dunlin
- Lesser Black-backed Gull
- Black Guillemot
- Barnacle
- Velvet Scoter
- Lesser Whitethroat
- Whitethroat
- Willow Warbler
- Caspian Tern
- Long-tailed Duck
- Raven
- Northern Wheatear
- Wigeon
- Gadwall
- Starling
- Barn Swallow
- Grey Plover
- Canada Goose
- Rock Pipit – year tick
- Dunnock
- Pied Flycatcher – we spend couple of hours in Island of Ulko-Tammio
- Blackcap
- Blackbird
- Blue Tit
- Great Tit
- Red Crossbill
- Icterine Warbler
- Wren
- Spotted Flycatcher
- Greenish Warbler – last species from U-T was Grass Snake (year tick also)
- White-tailed Eagle – at last. We headed still to the East, almost along the Russian border
- Red-throated Diver – year tick
- Little Gull
- Northern Shoveler
- Red-necked Grebe
- King Eider – this fancy male was our main target (and just my second KE ever). It had been off shore of Virolahti about two weeks and seemed that it had been maited with a female Common Eider… or four. After ticking KE we drove full steam back to the starting point in Kotka. The waves came against us, so I had a full time staying on the bow seat of the boat. My arse became, to put it mildly, little tender…
- Osprey – these few species were only new ones on way back
- Black Scoter
- Swift
- Wood Pigeon – just before back on pier

30th After coming home from sea trip I had a six hours in home. I even slept few of them. Then I drove to Kouvola, cos it was time for couple of night singers. I would probably have heard the European Nightjar closer to home as well, but the Quail was tight this spring. But there were fresh observations of Kouvola from at least one who was loudly vocal. Maybe even more important to me was a tick from Golden Oriole. We only heard it flute couple of times, but it was my first Oriole in Finland. (I've seen it before Lithuania and Poland.)
My biggest shortcoming in this year is Tawny Owl. We drove all over Kouvola and stopped every now and then in suitable places (among other known territories) to listen it, but nothing. OK, end of May isn’t the best time to do this. I can only hope that they are more vocal at Autumn.
First time at this year, I noticed that there were enough at least one kind of creatures in the forests: Mosquitos.

In the end of May my year ticks were on 212 – It is four more than my last year total!
My eco ticks were 140 – Eight less than last year total, but 20 more than end of May in 2019.
On yard ticks I had also a new record: 77 – 2019 total was 76.
On Mammals, I was one away from last year total: 18.
My Reptile & Amphibian scored 5, which is my usual R&A tick total in past years.

Right at the beginning of June, there was a big change in my life ... but more on that next time.
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Old Thursday 18th June 2020, 17:04   #91
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Ortolan has the dubious honor of being our fastest declining bird.
I think it goes same way in whole Europe. What is the situation in Italy?
Actually I don't know about other places in Italy. Here its decline is a sure fact
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Old Sunday 21st June 2020, 11:52   #92
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June 1st to 3rd

Just before Christmas I dropped from treadwheel (that’s the main reason for my good year tick numbers). The Winter goes wondering what I wanna be when I’m big. On March it came very clear to me – I don’t wanna spend rest of my (working) years in office. So, I decided to totally change my vocation. I’d like to spend my time in outdoors and nature if possible. I was thinking about different education options, including Nature guide training, but I decided to go for a Field biologist training. It was supposed to start in early April, but the Corona…
I was very keen to start the school, and the Spring felt sooo long. But in…

June 1st It finally started. The “school” is about 400 km West from my home, so I live weeks there several months for now on. First “school morning” started at 1 pm and we headed straight away to Pori’s Yyteri, which is maybe the best wader beach in Finland. And waders there was: 15 Oystercatchers, 6 Grey Plovers, 4 Lapwings, 140 Ringed Plovers, 1 Whimbrel, 40 Bar-tailed Godwits, 58 Red Knots, 4 Ruffs, 20 Broad-billed Sandpipers, 2 Curlew Sandpipers, 50 Dunlins, 4 Temminck’s Stints, 12 Little Stints, 1 Greenshank, 8 Redshanks, 2 Arctic Skuas and 4 Shelducks. So – four new year ticks. Wonderful start for studies. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUzYIGvVCmA

2nd Tuesday morning at 5 am we headed to Toukari in Pori to watch the birds ringing. Ringer got Thrush Nightingales, Sedge and Blyth’s Reed Warblers, Lesser and Common Whitethroats, Garden Warblers, Blackcaps, one Great Tit and one Redwing. No new year ticks but very educational day.

3rd It was a time to do night trip and listen to night singers . At 0.00 am we headed South to Huittinen and Kokemaki. We were able to listen to among others: Nightjar, Bittern, Corn Crake, Water Rail, Spotted Crake, Golden Plover, Cuckoo, Thrush Nightingale, Icterine Warbler and River Warbler. Also, we saw hunting Brandt’s Bat (or Whiskered Bat, but it’s much rarer). But the best species was European Beaver, which was lifer (as was the Canadian too a month ago). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzI_LSjjvLs
I sleep few hours in morning. Afternoon I made a couple hours walk nearby and photographed mainly Dragonflies and Butterflies. (Photos from Downy Emerald and Four-spotted Chaser)
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Last lifer: Arctic Warbler #437, WP ticks: 327, Finnish ticks: 265 (AW), Eco ticks: 200 (Spotted Crake), Yard tics (alltime): 114 (Northern Wheatear), Photo ticks: 406 (Ortolan Bunting)
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Old Sunday 21st June 2020, 12:04   #93
Warixenjalka
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June 4th and 5th

4th Morning in Pinkjarvi forests in Eurajoki produced year tick from Common Toad and again new Mammal lifer: Eurasian Water Shrew. Sadly the Shrew was so quick that I didn’t got the pic.

5th Again morning in Pori’s bird paradise. We admired a White-tailed Deer mother with two very small calves. And lots of birds including couple of thunbergi Yellow Wagtails and Short-eared Owl.
The first week confirmed that I had made just the right choice. Studying outdoors in nature and with such a great gang. I wonder that why I haven’t previously applied for this kind of training but hanging in the treadwheel this long.
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Last lifer: Arctic Warbler #437, WP ticks: 327, Finnish ticks: 265 (AW), Eco ticks: 200 (Spotted Crake), Yard tics (alltime): 114 (Northern Wheatear), Photo ticks: 406 (Ortolan Bunting)
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Old Sunday 21st June 2020, 21:06   #94
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Wow, congratulations on having the nerve to follow a vocation - I hope it all goes well for you.
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Old Monday 22nd June 2020, 21:26   #95
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Great thread Warixenjalka, I was planning to bird Finland in May but fate had others plans. Still, I will come back to this thread for a wish list for next year!

I like your photos btw - so many are literally snapshots of birds and animals in mid-action which gives a very intimate look at nature. Good luck with the new career also - its never too late
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