17. tammikuuta 2021

Too much snow and freezing temperatures. 17.1.2021

 This week we had two days of blizzard and around half a meter of snow during that time. At the same time temperatures dropped to -18 degrees, so we are having real winter there in Helsinki. Most of the lingering birds took off, but some stayed and today I had time to try to see some of those. 

Again I went to Vuosaari and I started from Uutela where Redwing was spending winter on one feeder with some Blackbirds and other common birds. First 30 minutes didn´t gave me anything, so I went to check another feeder near by. This second one was little more in the forest so I was not surprised to hear Willow Tit near by, didn´t see the bird but hearing is almost a good as seeing it. Coal Tits, Great Tits and Blue Tits there too with lone Great-spotted Woodpecker. Soon Jouni Rytkönen walked to the feeder and together we went back to the first place. This time I had successful twitch and Redwing showed up in ten minutes. No change to get any good photos of the bird sitting on a branch up high, but record shot, like always. 

Redwing..

Bird did not move from that spot during the time I was there..

Blue Tit snack.

This Great Tit had ring.

Goldfinch feeder.


After the thrush I went to Porslahti where Pygmy Owl was seen just few moments earlier. First I drove to the wrong place so took me little bit more time to see the owl, but there it was and here is my poor picture of it. Maybe same bird which was seen in the area last autumn. 

Pygmy Owl.

Those eyes. What a awesome bird.

I was tying to capture Yellowhammer and view, but this was best I got. 


After the Owl I drove to other side of the gold course to another feeder. This time I had to wait almost 20 minutes before the star bird showed up. Song Thrush is wintering at this feeder and finally it came to have some snack. Not too often you got Redwing and Song Thrush at the same day in January! 

Song Thrush.


During the wait there was at least two Great-spotted Woodpeckers and distant calling Northern Raven. 

Along the day I had also two Northern Goshawks, many Greenfinches, Yellowhammers and lots of Goldfinches. 

34 species so far this year and there is easily about 20 more only if I have some time during next weeks. Let´s see what happens. 

-Tom 

12. tammikuuta 2021

New year new birds. 10.1.2020

 After busy start of the year at work and home I finally managed to have some time for birds last Sunday 10th of January. I Started from Vuosaari and more specific Meri-Rastila where Three-toed Woodpecker was seen that same morning. I arrived to the site and other birder showed me the tree where the bird was actively searching food. I have always liked the combination of black and white with that small yellow area in the head with male birds. Somehow exotic. I took several series of pictures, but nothing really good this time. Bird was always behind branch or in bad position. Great bird anyway and nice start for my day. 

First picture of the woodpecker. not too photogenic..

A bit better. Still hard. 

Almost the full bird here. 

Three-toed Woodpecker. 


I continued to Porslahti, where same Hawk Owl what I saw last year was still around. Little bit walking to the place. Loads of photographers around the poor thing, so I decided to take few pics and then I left. Also small flock of Yellowhammers during my walk. It is very quiet around these days. 

Northern Hawk Owl.

Yellowhammer. 


Just before I went back home I tried to twitch Common Kingfisher from the known site without any luck. I spend almost an hour there, but all I saw was Mallards, Blackbirds and other common birds. 

At this point I have seen 26 birds so far.. More to come for sure. Now we are having epic blizzard here in Helsinki and almost 25cm snow in one day! Let´s see what happens and when I´m able to do some proper birding again. 

Happy new year to everybody.


Tom 


27. joulukuuta 2020

December birding. 27.12.2020

 I´m late, but anyway Merry Christmas and happy holidays! 

Lately my birding has been close to zero. Weather during the December has been totally awful and not many days with out rain or fog or something which makes you stay at home rather than walk around empty fields. Also working all the hours of daylight does not help you at all! 

On 19th I made two hour visit to Kivinokka, which is a small cape other side of the vanhankaupunginlahti. Takes about 10 minutes to drive there from my home. When I arrived I noticed that it is raining a little and fog everywhere. Still I walked around the area for some time and checked the open water areas. Even some ice left after maybe three days of temperatures below zero earlier. Large flock, maybe 70 Mergansers around and later I found two Smews, lone White-tailed Eagle, four Great-spotted Woodpeckers, flock of Bullfinches and other common birds. I was hoping something like Glaugous Gull or even rarer, but no luck again this time. 

Here couple of poor images from that day.


Flock of Canada Geese in the fog.

Kivinokka

Kivinokka

Gulls on the ice.

Distant White-tailed Eagle.


On 25th I woke up with my kids pretty early. Both wanted to play with all new toys Santa brought them. It was still a bit dark when I noticed juvenile Sparrow Hawk sitting on our backyard. It tried to catch Domestic Sparrows from the bush and jumped, dived and tried everything there. I took my camera, but I had to put super high ISO to get anything. Here is some action and less action photos of the bird. It was great to see how it tried basically everything before Crows started to attack it and it took off. 


Sparrow Hawk on the ground.

Sparrow hawk on the truck.

Sparrow Hawk in the bush.

Sparrow Hawk on the bush.


Maybe some kind of review of the year later, but it seems that I don´t have time for any proper birding this year anymore. 

I wish all the people happy new year and stay safe. 


Tom 

10. joulukuuta 2020

Hat trick with kids. 6.12.2020

Last Sunday (6th) we had our independence day here in Finland. After breakfast I took my kids and we drove to Sastamala, pretty near Tampere to see Oriental Turtle Dove which was found two days ago. There was only one other guy searching the bird when we arrived, but soon more and more people arrived. It was nice to see Petteri, Mimosa and Matti Mäkelä from Pori there. People started to walk around and very soon few guys waived us that they spotted the bird in the field. I drove closer and went to take a look. Check. Then I took our stroller and Julius and very important stroller tick in the bag! Julius watched with my binoculars and I tried to take photos of the bird. Distance was some hundred meters and weather was very Grey and small rain, so I was lucky to get something. Bird was subspecies "meena" which is much more common here than "orientalis". 

From the distance like this photos are totally crap like this..

Oriental Turtle Dove.

Bird was walking in the back end of this field.


After fifteen minutes we continued towards Pori and very possible Cackling Goose! About an hour drive and we arrived Maaviiki. Large flock of Whooper Swans and small flock of Geese around. It took me some time to relocate the small Canada Goose from the flock, but finally I saw it. Vilma came to the stroller and another in the bag! Also lone Taiga Bean Goose in the flock. Distance was again hundreds of meters so photo is again like this..


Bird was in the flock which is the white stripe in the middle of the picture.. So very far away.

Cackling Goose in the middle watching right, I think! 


Better photos in Tarsiger.com. If this appears to be real Cackling Goose it is second record for Finland after bird in Lappeenranta back in 2014. So, we are talking about very rare bird!

Soon we left and I took kids to McDonald's to have some food and after that we still had time to twitch Caspian Gull from Konepajan ranta. Place was along the Kokemäki river and there was very large flock of large Gulls. I was fortunate to find the right individual from that flock before some reason all gulls took off and lost it. Almost all of the daylight I had left I used to find the bird. After the gulls came back to the roofs it started to be dark already, so we packed our stuff, I gave tablets to the kids and we had long drive back home ahead of us. 


Konepajan ranta, Kokemäki River. Bird was standing on the roof of the buildings other side of the river.. 


Back in Helsinki around 6 pm. Originally we had plans to go and have some good times outside with kids at Pori, but the weather was so poor that even Vilma said that she stays rather inside the car than outside in the darkness.. Thank god both behaved nicely the whole day and we had great time in the car asking questions and listening Christmas songs. 

I had three new stroller ticks in one day, three new winter month ticks (Dec-Feb) and one lifer if rarities committee some day accepts this Cackling Goose as a genuine vagrant. Features looks really good and I really think that it is a good bird. 

More birding hopefully next weekend. Days are so short now that no change to go out after work. I also started to do quite a lot of gym lately, so that takes major part of my "free" time four days a week.

-Tom