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Wonder wondering the Wonders of Nature on the shore of the Mare Karelia and elsewhere (1 Viewer)

Warixenjalka

Well-known member
Finland
January 2020

At January 1st I did my traditionally eco trip. Usually I do it by foot but this year there was no snow and ice, so I did it on a bike. Almost 19 km and 5 hours trip I manage to see 27 species. (At last year: 12) Whole winter has been unusually warm and birds that are normally in warmer regions by now, have been left these Northern Latitudes. Sea is free from ice cover so there is lot of Swans and Ducks. My best observations were Velvet Scoter (female) and Coot (2cy). This was the first time I had seen a Coot before March!

Jan. 2nd I participated in the counting of winter birds with one “professional” and his girlfriend. We walked 11 km in 5 hours and observed 28 species. 11 of those were new Year ticks for me. The best ones were couple of Hazel Grouses, 3 White-tailed Eagles and small group of Long-tailed Tits.

Jan. 3rd I got one new Year tick. At the same it was also new eco and yard tick ‘cos the Greenfinch was in our garden.

At the next day I went to Kouvola with one friend. Mainly to looking for Asio-Owls and Hawk-Owl. We manage to see latter (actually 2 of them), but no sign from other Owls. But the day was quite successful otherwise – or what do you say about Grey Partridges, Kestrel (an other unusual species in Finish winter), European Nuthatch, Red and White-winged Crossbills? Here’s short video from WwC’s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bi_UKuBbERs&feature=youtu.be
In the bonus – I saw two Roe Deer (My second Mammal tick for 2020. Fist one had been Red Squirrel – of course)

Jan. 5th I was just observing in garden and the result was pretty nice: Hawfinch and Sparrow Hawk for Year ticks amongst other ticks.

Jan. 6th My friend from Kouvola came down here on shores of Mare Karelia. We had couple of target species which we manage to see Siberian Tit, Rook, Robin, Wood Pigeon and Cormorant in Kotka. We didn’t find Wren or Stock Dove. At the afternoon we drove to Hamina to twitch Great Egret and Rough-legged Buzzard. We also saw 10 Greater Scaup. In that day I got two Mammal tics more: Bank Vole and Brown Hare.

At this point I had 56 Year ticks (from birds) which is huge for me. Last year I had 30 species in January 6th and I saw my 56th species at February 27th.

Jan. 10th was time to do eco trip again. And there was no sign of real winter yet, so I did it by bike. (At the same trip I visited in bike shop ‘cos my bike brakes had practically been missing for a month. :eek!: 15 minutes and the brakes were repaired.) I scored 21 species in 4 hours and 13 km and got 6 new eco ticks: Jay, Crested, Willow and Siberian Tits, Red Crossbill and Dipper (which was also new Year tick).

Jan. 13th I did an other eco trip. This time little shorter but manage to saw three new eco ticks: W-t Eagle, Cormorant and Greater Black-backed Gull.

Jan. 16th I had an business meeting at 200 km to West from home. I went to see a few birds at the same time: Spotted Nutcracker in Lohja, Smew and White-backed Woodpecker in Espoo and Carrion Crow (not resident in Finland) in Helsinki. I also bought new binoculars – Zeiss (or do you pronounced it “Scheisse”? 3:)) Victory SF. Actually, they weren’t new new but used for a few years. Really big improvement compared to my old Opticrons.:t:

Jan. 17th was a time to do two days round trip in South-West Finland with a friend. Our first target was White-billed Diver in Helsinki but we dipped that – actually nobody has seen it after Jan. 16th (I should gone to see it day earlier instead Smew and WbW, but you never know… :-C). Instead of Diver I got Year tick from Long-tailed Duck, which was some kind of comfort…
From Helsinki we drove to Siuntio to twitch White-fronted Goose which we manage to found from Golf course where it had been few weeks already. Next target was Taiga Bean Goose in Lohja. We saw that and also Canada Geese, Whooper Swans, Mallards and on way there two Buzzards. Next bird on our list was Crane. In South-West had been two of them whole winter. We drove to Salo – no Crane – and then to Paimio – no Crane… You can’t win always. On that day, we still had two birds on our list. We drove to Piikkiö to look at the White Wagtail on one greenhouses yard – check, and then to Raisio to looking Pine Bunting. We saw the Yellowhammer flock where PB had been but couldn’t find it, but instead from field we scared Common Snipe to flight. That was surprise to us also.

The next morning we were already at dusk in the backyard of one farmhouse in Vesilahti where had been Eastern Turtle Dove. And we dipped that. But we didn’t have to leave there with empty hands – I got Grey-headed Woodpecker for Year tick. Well… next thing we do was driving back to the Raisio to try PB again. This time we find it! B :) It was my first Lifer of 2020 too. We were one big smile when we drove back to the previous days Crane place, Paimio. Bang! – There it was right away on scope, when my friend erected it and look through it. Sometimes it’s so easy… There we heard that nearby we could see Black-headed Gulls. It was missing from both of us Year lists, so that was our next target species. After half an hour we were on right place and got it. Then it was time to go home. On way home there was still little day light left and we stopped one river where are sometimes Dippers (my friend didn’t have it on his Year list). This time there was none.

Jan. 19th morning I and my previous days travelling companion go to looking for Three-toed Woodpecker from Sippola. No luck for that but we saw (and heard) one Parrot Crossbill with Reds, so it didn't become a pointless trip either.

Jan. 21st I go again in Sippola. This time I had a date with my Kouvolan friend. We walked that old forest about two hours but couldn’t find TtW. Pair of White-backed’s we find, which is also very nice. That day was very windy and we heard two old trees falling down. So, we thought it best to leave the forest and do a little car ride. We have Capercaillies or Black Grouses on mind, but we had no luck. Did I say no luck? Sorry, we had a luck, after all we manage to see Elk mother and a calf.

Jan. 24th me and couple of other birders went look for Three-toed from a new place (new for me anyway). We drove to village of Kuoppala in Kouvola where we meet one local birder who promised to show TtW to us. The previous night it had been snowing, so the forest was pretty and bright. We heard Black Woodpecker and saw several Great Spotted Woodies but the main star kept hiding. After hour and half we decided to change location and we drove couple kilometres to the other side of forest. There we walked just 15 minutes and we find what we were looking for – nice male Three-toed Woodie bark on a Spruce trunk and look for a beetle larva. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRWXQD0RGSA&feature=youtu.be
When we leave there we saw 11 Black Grouses on one field.

Jan. 25th I had few things in neighbour city Hamina and at the same time I went to get a Collared Dove from a traditional place for a year tick.

Jan. 26th was Big Garden Watch Day. Our association had three venues, one of which I cycled (so no snow still). Only a handful of people arrived there, but birds there were. I got just a one Year tick – Chaffinch – but 6 eco ticks plus one Mammal tick – Yellow-necked Mouse (which I see day later also on our own garden).

Jan. 28th it was again time to drive to Kouvola. My friend had find there a Little Grebe and I need to see that. When I left home it was raining, but in Kouvola it was snowing. The weather wasn’t as good as I had hoped, and at first we didn't see Grebe on the river at all. There was 24 Whoopers, 9 Mallards and female Goldeneye – and best of all: two Otters – but no sign from Little one! We thought it might be behind one island so we drove to the other side of river. On the way there we stopped to collect one Year tick for my friend (Hawfinch) and one Year tick for me (Goldfinch). We arrived on riverside from other direction and after 20 minutes scoping my friend find the Little Grebe. It was on the other side of river, near that place where we were just an hour ago! :clap:
After that my friend took me on one feeding station where had been seen Lesser Spotted Woody (amongs other), but it didn't want show him/herself to us. Instead we saw nice flock of Long-tailed Tits. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgBMc6TlClw&feature=youtu.be

Jan. 30th Last marking on my Observation notebook from January says: Fox. I got a glimpse of it when I was bringing food to the birds for one of the forest feeds I maintain.

The beginning of the year has been phenomenal. I have 79 Year ticks, 46 eco ticks, 22 garden ticks and 8 Mammal ticks. Last year at the end of January I was on 44, 22, 13 and 4. My 79th bird I saw March 27th.
Now I just hope I can keep up with the current pace for the rest of the year. (That means that I have 373 species at the end of 2020 – I think it would be Country record…) 3:)3:)3:)
 

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Richard Prior

Halfway up an Alp
Europe
A great start Wari, sounds like you’ve seen almost everything available before spring! Hope you don’t get bored during the next two months ;)
 

Warixenjalka

Well-known member
Finland
Not everything... For Example - Two days ago we went to twitch White-billed Diver about 100 km to North from here and we missed that. It had been there for 4 days and yesterday I heard it was seen in a morning and soon after that it left to S-SW (So keep your eyes open there)... :-C
But yes, I have had a great start. B :)
 

Warixenjalka

Well-known member
Finland
February 2020

February started quietly – and without real Winter. As I mention before, me and couple friends were looking for White-billed Diver but couldn’t find it. On the way home we stopped couple of times to listen to any sounds of owls and manage to heard Pygmy Owl.

Feb. 14th to 15th me and one co-birder visited in Hanko (the most Southern point of continental Finland) where we watch such a “winterbirds” as Eider (female), Grey Heron (25) and Chiffchaff. Also we saw one Grey Seal.

At Saturday evening February 15th someone put photo of Snowy Owl on Facebook and wrote that it was taken in Kouvola. She didn’t want to tell the exact location of the shooting, so couple of birders from Kouvola started detective work to find the bird. Based on the woman’s last name, they tracked the bird to a specific area and the next day, while driving in the area, they identified the tree where the owl was sitting in that photo! :eek!: But the owl wasn’t on that tree. They scattered in the area and as it happens, it was my friend who found the Big White! :t: After informing other seekers, he informed me of his discovery. I called other friend and we drove 100 km to North. I also informed other coastal birdwatchers about the discovery. When we got to the owl place, there were already several birders. Luckily, everyone kept a good distance to the owl, so it just sat there and turned its head lazily at times - and looked stunning, of course. More and more people from all over southern Finland came to the spot. After many years, this individual was the first twichable Snowy Owl in the South Finland. – Snowy Owl was Lifer to me and long time dream. B :):king:eek::) I have to say that these Kouvolan guys were real Sherlock Holmes. :clap:

Feb. 19th Friend had told me that if I’m scoping one morning in Moronvuori (high rock in Pyhtaa) I almost certainly see when the Golden Eagles rise up from the nearby swamp. I didn’t saw any. Instead I saw Ravens, Whooper Swans, Black Grouses, Greater Spotted Woodpeckers, Tits, Crossbills and one big female Goshawk, which was a Year tick.

Feb. 20th For a change, I made a bike trip and got one new Year/eco tick: Winter Wren.

Feb. 26th Just a regular afternoon walk with wife and little bit luck: Year/eco tick from Redwing and eco tick from Long-tailed Tit.

Feb. 28th I did an Owling trip at 8PM to 11PM. Result: 3 hooting Eagle Owls and one barking Ural Owl. All those during the first hour… :smoke:

Total score: 89 Year ticks, 53 eco ticks.

February mammals were (in addition to the Seal): Brown Rat, White-tailed Deer and Mountain Hare. Year total now 12 mammals.
 

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3Italianbirders

Well-known member
Italy
Well done! That Snowy Owl looks fantastic... We twitched it in the Netherlands in 2009, but I would give an arm (it's sore anyway) to see one again!
 

Warixenjalka

Well-known member
Finland
March

March 6th Months first birding trip I did with friend to Porvoo, where had been two Azure Tits in Ruskis for about a week. Also the place is famous for its Bearded Tits. I got year tick from Reed Bunting, Skylark and Lapwing but no sign of Azures. My friend heard Bearded, but I missed that (maybe too much rock gigs). We decided to go a short distance to visit a good Woodpecker site and then come back. There has usually been Grey-headed, White-backed and Lesser Spotted Woodies, but at this time – only Greater Spotted Woodies… Then back to Ruskis and other frustrating waiting without Azures. We decided to leave Porvoo, but first we went to look at local Nutcrackers, which were there where they should be. We drove about 15 minutes to North, when we received a notification on our phones that the Tits were now visible. U-turn and back to Ruskis once again. Luckily the Azure Tits had remained in control and I had the opportunity to admire those beautiful birds for the second time in my life.
Clock was ticking and we rejected the idea of a Northern route. Instead, we headed East toward the home, but along quiet country roads and it was worth it. On one field was Starlings (year tick), Lapwings and Whoopers and on other field Greylags.
We had still time for one stop and we did it on Loviisa, where my friend had seen 2cy Golden Eagle only couple week ago. We stand in middle of fields about half an hour. We saw Crows, Ravens and one Buzzard, but just before we decided to leave home, I saw in the distance a big BOP: Golden Eagle! :king: My friend recognized it as a different bird than he had seen before, cos this was 3cy Goldie.

14th I was on move on other things in Hamina, so I went to get lifer from Pink-footed Goose from Hamina’s Metsakyla. I just made the mistake of leaving the telescope at home, so I had great difficulty finding the right individual among hundreds of Bean and White-fronted Geese. Especially when that individual was very brown-backed. But I found it. B :)

17th I was again in Hamina and this time didn’t forgot the scope. Fields of Lelu was hundreds of Geese and Swans and the air was full of Skylarks song. Still – only year tick was Tundra Swan – two of them among the larger relatives.

19th I heard Eurasian Bittern booming in our bay as every spring. Since then I had heard it every time I visited there. It is just far enough that I can’t hear it to my yard, unless the conditions would be exceptionally good, like they have been in those couple of times in ten years we have lived here.
Also, I saw this year first wasp queen.

20th At this week first Corona restrictions was given by Finnish government. It didn’t made big difference when me and couple co-birders went to Haapasaari by ferry. The captain of the ferry ordered the passengers to sit far enough apart. Most of the 2,5 hours journey we were on deck anyway. From there I got Razorbill, which was the hundredth point in this year. Other nice ones were Eiders and Long-tailed Ducks. From Haapasaari Island I got another year tick: Black Guillemot.

21st After shortish night sleep at the islands old school we found our self from islands cliff at the time of sun rise. Chilly there was and pretty windy. Trembling from the cold we managed to find one new tick when Red-breasted Merganser couple swim past us. Little by little the air warmed and so did we.
At the noon we went to buy food and drink at the island store which was only open for an hour daily. When carrying supplies to school my friend noticed Long-eared Owl on one bush. I don’t understand how he managed to spot a motionless owl in a dense bushes 10 metres from the road, but there it was. I did my best to try to photograph bird who lurking among the branches. We tried to get around to a better place on the side of the bird and we succeeded. I took a few pictures of it, but then it flew left from us into the woods. Couple seconds afterwards, I noticed that another owl also flown in the footsteps (or is it wingsteps?) of the previous one, but my friends didn’t saw that one. When we got to our accommodation, I looked through the pictures and noticed that actually there had been two Long-eared Owls in that bush! :eek!:

22nd was our last day on island and only new tick for me was Snow Bunting, but we saw one of the LeO’s again in same bush. This time we stayed on the road and admired it from there.
Totally we manage to see about 50 species from our three days island trip. In general, the archipelago in the Gulf of Finland in March is a great place. Almost all of the summers boat traffic is gone and there are more birds than on the mainland. Among other things, we heard a few singing Chaffinches. First singing males on mainland I heard April 2nd.

27th Two pairs of Northern Pintails went to show up in a local bay. They circled the bay once and then flew North-East.

28th The government closed the borders of Uusimaa province due to the corona. Lucky me – I didn’t have anything to do there… at this point. |<| Instead I went to Pyhtaa (which is just next to Uusimaa border) and I saw this springs first Viper – sunbathing beautiful male – and one Golden Plover was in fields with couple hundred Lapwings. I also spotted the first butterflies: Orange Underwing (2) and Brimstone (5).

29th Green-winged Teal for year tick from Hietanen.

30th I made short walk in Langinkoski woods. I leave the path, cos nearby Ashes and Spruces looked like they might be good place to Flying Squirrel. Decades ago the species was also found in these forests, but now apparently the whole of Kotka’s area does not live FS’s. I looked at the roots of the trees to see is there any faeces of the Flying Squirrel, but to no avail. Instead, I frightened by the ditch the Woodcock. This "delusion" was not in vain either. :t:

In the end of the month I was in 108 year ticks, 69 eco ticks and 44 garden ticks. Mammal sightings were still on 12 but Reptiles sightings had grown to one. 3:)
 

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Warixenjalka

Well-known member
Finland
Well done, with the owls, perfectly camouflaged! No photos of the Azure Tits?

No, unfortunately. I saw them visit a couple of times in a hurry at the tops of the reeds, otherwise they remained hidden. :-C

But here's photo from my first Azure. :king:
 

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Warixenjalka

Well-known member
Finland
April - first half

April was colder than avarage. We got rain, snow and all thing between those you can imagine. But also nice sunny and clear days, but mostly cold. So, if nature was the first three months ahead of its usual schedule, it now took a back step.

2nd Now the Corona restrictions started to bite me also, cos just behind Uusimaa border had seen Red-breasted Goose. I try to look at it from fields of Pyhtaa but couldn’t find it. Instead I found couple of Barnacles and one handsome male Marsh Harrier for a year tick. Harrier was very peculiar looking with black wing coverts and arm pits. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBeTxIVNQ6U
Later I did found about 200 Geese from one field, but there was only Beans and White-fronted Geese and couple Barnacles more. (The corona was also a pity that I could not start training for a new profession. The school was to start on March 30th. but it has not yet begun to this day. Or we’ve had remote assignments, but it’s not the same thing.)

3rd to 5th Birding mainly on local bay. Year ticks (and eco’s also) from Great Crested Grebe and Oystercatcher. One biking trip to Kotkansaari with family produced one eco-tick (Barnacle) and the first images of a Woodcock in my life. All of my previous observations were about individuals taking off from foot. Now one Woodcock was eating in complete peace just ten meters from me. Badly behind the twigs, but with manual focusing I managed to take a few pictures of it.

6th Friend from Pyhtaa reported that there is a Capercaillie in a sandbox in his yard. I hopped to car and drove there. No Caper… On the way home, I stopped at a well-known Wood Lark place and after standing next to the car for a while I heard its song. :t:
At Late afternoon I got message that the Red-breasted Goose had moved to our side of Uusimaa border. I started car again and drove about 40 km to North-East. I didn’t see any other birders on site and the cooling evening lifted the mist from the nearby river. I just hoped that the Princess among the Geese would still be there. I noticed several hundred Geese on field, stopped car and started to scope. First from right to left and then back. No sign from RbG. Small Geese flocks flew over – no RbG with those – also 11 Cranes flew over. Skylarks were singing and Lapwings displaying. I continued scoping and somewhere in the middle of the flock was a smaller and darker goose – There it was – Red-breasted Goose! What a beautiful sight. B :)

7th It was time to do some biking. On local bay was Wigeons and one pair of Shovellers. I found two singing Chiffchaffs, which were pretty early. In old fortress of Kyminlinna I saw (and heard) Song Thrush and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26VXaNMI1uQ (Quite a Singer <- that sewing machine – not the… ohm… singer |^|).

8th I was on bike again. This time I cycled south by the sea and manage to get two new year tick: Lesser Black-backed Gull and Meadow Pipit. Also I got eco tick from Eider.

9th Early in the morning I went to local bay. No new year ticks, but I really enjoyed watching Otters play. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lwdJUiEklQ
After that I stand in my garden about an hour and saw Black-throated Diver amongst other things.

11th I spent the morning with a friend in Elimaki, Kouvola. My friend didn’t have a year tick for Red-breasted Goose yet, so we try to look it from fields where it had seen previous days. It wasn’t there, but there was a several hundreds Ansers and Barnacles. I got Curlew for a year tick. Next we drove to Lake Junkkari, whose floodplain has many waterfowl and waders every spring and so it was this time too. New ticks for me were Linnet, Greenshank and Redshank, but there was hundreds of Pintails, Teals, Wigeons and Mallards and few couple of Shovellers too. After Junkkari we drove to old paper factory of Myllykoski where had been singing Black Redstart male for a few days. We nailed it. Then we decided to go those fields where I had seen R-b Goose on Monday. On the way there we stopped to admire a singing Dunnock. On RbG site was indeed a flock of Geese: Bean, White-fronted and Barnacles and even one Pink-footed. Suddenly I noticed RbG from flock – tadaa! There was a lot of Lapwings, Curlews and Skylarks too and just before we leave the fields young male Goshawk grabbed himself a lunch from the Lapwing. But the day wasn’t over yet. From fields of Kiili I got year ticks from Mistle Thrush and Hen Harrier and from one water pond Green Sandpiper. Great day it was. :king:

15th Again short trip by bike on nearby wetlands. New year ticks were Common Pochard and (much more) Common(er) Sandpiper and new eco tick from Smew. Also I saw my first Muskrats for this year. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9l0Z3Uh1NA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzd82c1wvqY (Yes, we got some snow - again)

To be continued...
 

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Warixenjalka

Well-known member
Finland
April, 18th to 25th

18th was Big Spring Watch, which was little different this year (cos Covid). Max 2 person and the bird towers were forbidden. This wasn’t problem for me cos I had been my chosen site couple of times before in these observations. I even got one friend to joining me. Morning was freezing cold and there wasn’t much about migration. Couple hundred Chaffinch was most abundant species. Year ticks for me were Osprey, Caspian Tern and Stock Dove. We were on Hietanen and manage to collect 51 species between 6 am to 2 pm and with which we placed second to last in the "playful" race of our bird association. :smoke:

19th Family trip to Jaala, Northern Kymenlaakso, where a nice nature trail meanders in the midst of small lakes. On the way there my wife have to stop the car cos Woodcock walked cross the road and it didn’t hurried at all. I manage to take couple of photos and short video too. (You might remember I take my first shots of Woodcock just a 2 weeks ago.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PY6BE190wo&feature=youtu.be
We thought that there can be a few people in trails but when arrived there the parking lot was full of cars. We managed to find a small gap in our car. Fortunately, the people were fairly evenly distributed in the area, so there was not much harm from other people. Only the campfire site was more congested, but since we only had bread as a snack, it didn’t bother us. Funnily, each small lake had its own Black-throated Diver and a few of them already tuned in their characteristic shout.

20th I visited Lake Junkkari again. This time alone and there was even more waterbirds than earlier. The day before, there had been seen Black-tailed Godwit, but I missed that. Instead I saw one male Ruff. While there I got message from one (birding) fisherman, that the day before he has seen Kingfisher in its nest burrow in riverbank. I drove to that site and waited about an hour but didn’t see nothing… except that nest burrow. I decided to come again some other day.

21st Shortish bike ride in the morning resulted one eco tick: Common Snipe. Also, years first Camberwell Beauty. In the evening I received information about a Mandarin Duck found in the vicinity. Cos I feel lazy I drive there by car. Mandarin was as beautiful as I remembered from last time (year 2014). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxdXDo0M4J8&feature=youtu.be
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-wdsGnjXKI

22nd Little bit longer bike trip this time (about 30 km). I cycled the river arm upstream until I came the Kingfisher site. After a quarter of an hour “Flying Sapphire” came to my sight. Absolutely stunning! It sat on branch about 5 minutes, then it flew away and so did I… At least it felt like that when I cycled towards the next destination; the Mandarin Duck. Mandarin was gone, so no eco tick from it. Couple of kilometres before returning home I saw the first Barn Swallows of this summer.

23rd I cycled with a friend to a bird tower of Rantahaka located on the border of Kotka and Hamina about 15 km East of my home. There is nice flooded field (manmade) and in spring time there’s usually something to watch. And so was this time too: 5 Wood Sandpipers, 2 Green Sandpipers, 3 Greenshanks and few Curlews, tenths Lapwings. One Marsh Harrier circled over, Osprey stopped by to collect it’s lunch, and further on bay hundreds Tufted Ducks and other waterfowls plus my first Common Terns for this year. Also there was the usual Grey Herons (nearby island has breeding colony) and two Cranes. Over the tower flew Tree Pipit. Om the way back home we saw couple of Bramblings, which have been completely lost to me throughout the early part of the year.

24th On bike again, but this time I only visited two nearby watersheds; the local bay and Hietanen. Year ticks from Northern Wheatear and House Martin. There was also a lot of Barn Swallows.

25th Car trip to Hamina with friend. We visited in three wetlands. Kirkkojarvi was first one and there we heard Water Rail and saw Lesser Spotted and White-backed Woodies. https://youtu.be/WgMdFA_oexE Nearby was a place where Moorhen has breed past summers and I hoped we can find it there. Sometimes it can be very secretive, so it was a big surprise that it was a first bird what we saw there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7JZaOt3xBA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZKeR_VDcO0
In Lupinlahti we spend about an hour. No new ticks but it’s a very good site to watch waterfawl. My photo from there shows well the Common Pochard gender distribution, there are about ten times more males than females. Do anybody know why there is so much more males?
After breakfast (collected from gas station and enjoyed in car - cos Covid) we drove to countryside and tried to find Ring Ousel or waders from fields and farmlands. A lot of Thrushes but no Ousel. New year tick from Whimbrel was delightful. I showed my friend the flowering Mezeron, which isn’t familiar to him before. (Have to say although he does not recognize plants very well, he knows birds much better than me).
We ended our trip on old stone quarry, which bottom is small lake. Down there were Whooper Swan couple, Goldeneye couple, few Common Gulls and 6 couples of Slavonian Grebes! We wondered where they collect the nesting material, cos it looked like there wasn’t much of a plant material… :h?:

To be continued...
 

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Warixenjalka

Well-known member
Finland
April, 27th to 30th

Thank you for your kind words. :t:

27th On Monday evening I successfully went to twitching Black-tailed Godwit in Heinlahti, Pyhtaa. On a whim, I decided to drive home a "scenic route" through some fields and woods. I noticed couple of Geese in field near road and stopped the car at them, opened window and shoot few pics. Just because they were so near. There was a five White-fronted and couple Bean Geese. (Or that was my thought) I had binos at next to me, but some reason I didn’t use them. :brains: After photographing geese, I continued my journey home without doing a good look. At home I feel lazy (yes, again) and didn’t upload the photos in PC.|=o|

30th On the last day of April I went with friend to the archipelago of Gulf of Finland in his boat. We spend couple of hours in one small island in front of Pyhtaa. Cormorants flew back and forth in a continuous stream between rocky breeding islets and larger wooded islands, carrying twigs and branches as they flew back to the islets. Year ticks from Ringed Plover, Arctic Tern, Red-necked Grebe and Hobby. Always nice to see were Black Guillemots, Black-throated Divers, Eiders and Long-tailed Ducks.
When “sailing” back to shore we scared two pairs of Garganeys on flight. Crow teased Osprey until the latter became angry and the parts seemed to have changed. On one flat stone were insane 63 resting Caspian Terns! :king: (Photos on the way…)
Before the home coming time (set by the wife 3:)), we had time to visit another bird spot, Bay of Ahvenkoski. One new year tick from there: Little Gull. And always nice: Great White Egret and 8 local Black-throated Divers.

The Day has reserved one more huge surprise for me. While uploading the photos taken during the week in the evening, I noticed one different looking goose in those geese photos taken on Monday. I noticed a yellow eye ring on one of the geese. :eek!: I looked at other identification marks. The individual did not appear to be much smaller than the others, and the dark bars on belly did not differ from that of the Greater White-fronted Geese. The white forehead seemed to rise quite high, but so did some of the others. There were quite confused feelings in my mind. :brains: I couldn’t believe I had “seen” Lesser White-fronted Goose, but I hadn’t recognized it on the spot. In addition, the size and wide barred belly made me suspect the Hybrid. I sent the pictures to a few of my friends and received confirmation: Lesser White-fronted Goose!!!Lifer of course! :DB :):king::
I informed local birders the LWfG and apologized for the late announcement. (They haven’t shot me yet to date.) Luckily the bird was still near original site two days after I informed it and fistful of birders manage to see it before it was gone. Lesser White-fronted Geese is very rare in South-East Finland, especially the local birds. After year 2000 17 LWfG had seen in Kymenlaakso area and most of the observations had been migrating birds.

In the end of the month I’ve 157 year ticks, 106 eco ticks, 60 yard ticks and 13 Mammal ticks.

More photos keep coming...
 

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Warixenjalka

Well-known member
Finland
More photos from boat trip.
 

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Warixenjalka

Well-known member
Finland
...and the last ones.
 

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Warixenjalka

Well-known member
Finland
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! o:D 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 |:d|). I used the opportunity to benefit and I went to the tick Isabelline Wheatear on fields of Viikki. Fifth lifer for this year… :king: 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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Scridifer

Registered User
Supporter
Bulgaria
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!

Chris
 

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