From 15th to 17th of March I spend in Pori, Western coast of Finland. While driving there I departed from the route as much as I went to twitch the Little Grebe in Valkeakoski. It was one of my fastest twitches, I saw the Little one just in 5 minutes when arriving to site. Of course, I use there little more time when I watched and photographed the Grebe, but after 15 minutes I was road again.
I picked up a friend from Tampere and hit a road again. It was getting dark as we drove towards Pori. About 20 km before the destination, something big flew front of our car – “Eagle Owl!” – we shouted simultaneously. I stopped car on roadside and we looked at with a telescope for the owl witch was landed on electric pole, just to be sure. It cheered us for the rest of the journey. I have been sitting on my car over five hours at that point (excluding couple of small stops, the Grebe and one hamburger meal).
Next morning, after way too big and delicious breakfast, we headed to the fields south of Pori. If you want to see Rooks in Finland, Pori is The Place
. So before hopping in the car, we thought if nothing else, at least we see Rook today. Oh, we were so wrong…
From the Tiira
we had considered that in the fields should be at least a Rough-legged Buzzard, Merlin, Bean Geese, Whooper Swans, Lapwings and Skylarks. Fields were looking good – almost snowless (In South-East Finland the snow cover was still thick). What we saw there was about ten Whoopers and 44 Taiga Bean Geese (Year tick). Only “raptors” we saw were couple of Northern Great Grey Shrikes – one even sang nicely.
After (only little disappointing) fields we drove to the sea shore. Just to see that the Preiviikki bay was frozen as far as you can see. However, we did not leave without a new year tick, we heard Parrot Crossbills nearby Pines, but even we try to look very hard, we didn’t manage to see them.
Our next stop was on Teemuluoto, which is a protected leafy forest, with lots of dead Birch. In the tops of the trees, were a couple of hundred Redpolls with few Goldfinches and Yellowhammers. White-backed Woodpecker flew front of us and it was chased by Great Spotted Woody. Soon we saw 3 flyover Northern Lapwings - a year tick. We walked to the shoreline where stands bird watching tower, but we didn’t saw nothing special from there, just a few Gulls. Back to the car we decide to walk a little longer route. We found the White-backed Woody hammering fallen Birch and a huge flock of Great- and Blue Tits and Yellowhammers, also couple of Treecreepers. Weird sounds led us to the side path. The source of the voices was revealed by a Jay couple – what else it would been…
Also, this time we found WbW-couple too, and one more Treecreeper. My friend saw Long-tailed Tit but I missed it. There was also couple of GSW’s and one male Lesser Spotted Woody – Absolutely fantastic forest patch.
Next we drove more North-West to Hilskansaari and Reposaari, where sea was free from ice. On the edge of ice were sitting 3 White-tailed Eagles, one Greylag Goose, Gulls (mostly Herring and Common, but also couple of Great Black-backed) and Hooded Crows (still no Rooks). There was swimming Goosanders, Goldeneyes, Mallards and Tufted Ducks. From Reposaari’s breakwater we saw distant Common Eiders and Long-tailed Ducks and one Great Cormorant. Just when we were about to leave back to City of Pori, we noticed seven Grey Herons standing on the edge of ice – year tick. So – at a whole day no sign of a Rooks…
On Saturday evening was a time to celebrate 60 years old Pori’s birding club. I don’t want to torture you by telling how good food and drink was there
but it was nice to see familiar faces around Finland for a long time.
On Sunday morning – like morning before – too much delicious breakfast in stomach and then the main thing of whole weekend: BirdLife Finland Representative Council Meeting.
In the afternoon we were ready to start long drive to home. I had asked from local birder last night where the Rooks would be most sure to found and got the notes there. And there they were, last year tick of a trip.