25. lokakuuta 2020

Twitching in Hanko with my kids. 25.10.2020

 Yesterday Kim Söderling found Black-throated Accentor from Hanko soil dump. I was pretty eager to go and twitch it, because I have seen only one bird before and this Accentor group really interests me. So today when the info came and the bird was still present I started to talk about the twitch with Sanni. It was OK, but Sanni had to go to work, so it was with kids or nothing. I decided to take the kids. 

We arrived to the place around 11 am and about twenty people around the place looking in different directions. We were lucky cause the Accentor was very near and cause I was carrying the stroller! In few minutes I got the bird with stroller and I let Vilma and Julius just play around and me trying to get some photos of the bird. It was really hard for my Sony RX10 to get any sharp pictures in the ruderate kind of vegetation. 

Bloody little bird was hiding all the time.

Here you can see some features ad head.


Same time there was also European Stonechat around and I needed that with the stroller too. The bird was found before people relocated the Accentor today! First I just went to see the bird, but after that I lured Julius to the stroller and took me five seconds and in the bag! 

Male European Stonechat.

And again.

Because Vilma and Julius just wanted to play, I had time to see if I can improve the photos of the Accentor, but it was not my day. All the photos are bird behind the branch or not sharp anything.. 

Great fun.

Julius at the soil dump.

Photographers at the soil dump.



Later we went to Hanko center and had nice lunch in local small restaurant. We also visited two different playgrounds and we had great time. It was already dark when we arrived back to Helsinki. I had flock of Waxwings, flock of Redpolls with one Arctic with them at the park, so not bad at all. Even that I always know the hardness to twitch with my kids, these days are very very fun. Those two are so full of joy and I just love to watch that. 

Kids at the smaller playground.


The Black-throated Accentor was only 13th record in Finland and if the Tarsiger database is updated, only 39th for the Western Palearctic. We are talking about real mega rarity. I have been very fortunate to see both, Siberian- and Black-throated Accentors this fall and I could not be happier! Congrats to the finder Kim and others too. Hopefully more of these mid blowing rarities appears in next coming weeks and it would be nicer if they could show up in Helsinki area! OK, that was too much, Southern-Finland is OK too! 


-Tom 

Dipping and Tawny Owl. 17.10.2020

 Only a week late this post, but who cares, right?

A Little Bunting was found from Vuosaari on 15th of October. I was working and busy all the time, so no change to twitch.. On Saturday I finally had an hour for birds and I went to check if the Bunting is still there. I arrived to Kallvik and I noticed a group of birders looking the spot where the bird was seen previous days. I join them and in 45 minutes all we had was Redpolls, three different species of Tits, Bullfinches, small flock of Waxwings and other common stuff. Before I left without Little Bunting I saw Tawny Owl roosting in a chimney of the house near the road, so I had to take some pictures of the bird. Smart looking brown Owl! 

Weather was nice.

Tawny Owl.


Sanni had made some plans with my cousin earlier and we visited them in Konala later. Nice day even without that bloody Bunting. 


-Tom


12. lokakuuta 2020

Säppi bird observatory 9.10-11.10.2020

 Last Friday I picked up my uncle Jände and together started our drive to Pori and after that to Säppi island bird observatory. From Helsinki it is about three hour drive and because we had some time to waste we visited our friend Juha in Kaanaa before we arrived to the small marina where the boat was waiting us. 

At the marina we met Janne, Hanna and Pirkka Aalto, Teo Ylätalo and Arto Aaltonen. Weather was totally horrible, windy and rainy, so you can imagine how wet was the ride to the island.. we all were wet after that and some of the stuff we had in boat was completely wet. 

When we arrived to the island our main target was Asian desert Warbler, which was found couple of days earlier. Jani Vastamäki kindly showed the bird for us and it was a real surprise that it was very tame and came very close to the people. Also showy Bean Goose was near by and it also caught our attention. Soon the people who was in the island before us left and we carried our stuff to the station. Because we arrived around half past four, there was only time to check places near by before the dark came. New lifer in Finland was amazing start to our trip and I thing the Desert Warbler was new species for almost all of us! 

Asian desert Warbler twitching.

Beautiful evening in the island.

Asian desert Warbler.

The bird was moving on a ground like mouse.

Even with the branch I like the background and the bird in this photo.

Warbler caught some kind of caterpillar.



Bean Goose.

Sunset was beautiful. 

At some point after dark Teo came with this! 


Saturday we were full of hope and eagerness to see something very rare. We started from the shore where we had some sea watch. Every morning there is mandatory sea watch for two hours. In that time we picked up some nice species like two Common Guillemots, four Purple Sandpipers, 60 Razorbills, about ten Black-throated Divers, some Red-throated Divers, two Red-necked Grebes, and lots of common stuff. Especially Rock Sandpipers and Guillemots were nice species for Helsinki city boy and here those are very rare. We also checked the Asian desert Warbler because some twitchers were waiting the info and the bird was still there! 

Säppi lighthouse in morning light.


Janne, Hanna and the company put some nets and Hanna was ringing during the sea watch. Quite soon we all were there and from that point we started to walk around the island and checking all the bushes and meadows for some rarities. 

Walking was slow, but some good birds were found. Juvenile Peregrine Falcon was flying over the island and just before that we had Merlin flying above us. Not too many birds, but mostly Meadow Pipits, Wrens, Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests, Treecreepers and other common stuff. At some point I checked my phone and there was a picture of Siberian Accentor from Hanna, who caught it from the net!! We were opposite side of the island and we had to start long walk back to the area where the nets are. Took us about 20 minutes to get there, but shit it was worth it! What a beauty it was. Here you can see. Bird was first calendar year male and almost only bird from that round. At this point we realized that we have to show the bird for the twitchers, because there was some in the island twitching the desert warbler! I send an alarm and told that the bird will be at the station in 15 minutes and Hanna will release it there. About 15 people in the island saw it and later it was seen in the field by some. 

Distant Merlin flying away.

One Highland Cattle from the bigger herd.

Juvenile Peregrine Falcon.

Small flock of Redpolls. 

Siberian Accentor.

Close-up.

Janne and the bird.

One of my all time favorites. What a bird! 


We continued walking around the island, this time we took another direction. At some point near cape Prakala Janne found some interesting small bird which was saying "tsak" or "check" and I also heard it once. Really sounded like Dusky Warbler, but bird this rare you must see and we did not see the bird. Great-grey Shrike came close, so that was maybe the reason the bird disappeared. Very few birds in windy side of the island. Only one Sky Lark, some Meadow Pipits, Grey Heron, Tits, Chiffchaffs and stuff. Hanna and Pirkka saw flying Pipit which they identified Olive-backed Pipit, but in Finland you really have to see those birds properly, so later we tried that without any luck. What a shame. 

Walking in Hanhisto area. 

Checking every bush in cape Kraveli


Soon the dark came and I went to put the sauna on. There is possibly one of the best saunas in the word in Säppi island and we enjoyed it very much. Can´t really complain about the day when you see Asian desert Warbler, Siberian Accentor, two Guillemots, four Purple Sandpipers and Peregrine Falcon in same day!! 

Sunday started with some rain and after little waiting we were at the net site. We spend most of the remaining time there, because me and Jände had to leave the island just after midday.. 

Nets were full of birds, but nothing really interesting this time. Huge numbers of Goldcrests, many Wrens and other common birds. At least the weather was nice. 

Station and lighthouse.

Goldcrest.

Goldcrest dancing.

And another one. 

Smallest bird in Europe.

Ringing team Hanna and Pirkka.

Dunnock close-up.

Dunnock.

Redpoll in my hand.


At 1.30 pm our boat left towards main land and our next target was Dusky Warbler in Pori, which was found by my friend Petteri Mäkelä earlier that day. We picked Juha Sjöholm from Kaanaa and together we went to twitch. Soon after we arrived we foudn a group of people and just after we arrived the bird showed very quickly and called few times! Nice! Later it was calling again few times, but we never saw it again. This species is pretty famous of this kind of behavior. It was nice to see Matti Rekilä and his family there too and Juha Kylänpää with his bicycle too. He is making the new Finnish record of eco-ticks in one year. Good luck with that Juha! Here is few pictures from the site. 

Dusky Warbler was calling from somewhere there! No change to get any photos..

Common Chiffchaff in same place.


Later we started our drive back home and we arrived around seven a clock back to Helsinki. 

What a trip. Desert Warbler was lifer and the Siberian Accentor was only 12th record in Finland outside of the record breaking influx year 2016 when there was 66 birds in Finland and many more in Europe. Desert warbler was 13th record for Finland, so both very rare birds! 

Thanks for the company Jände, Janne, Hanna, Pirkka, Teo and Arto. Without you this trip would have been much less fun. And good luck others for your period in the island. Let there be lots of rare birds! 


-Tom

8. lokakuuta 2020

Pallas´ Leaf Warbler 7.10.2020

 Yesterday I was working and during the day I noticed that Pallas´ Leaf Warbler was found from Tähtitorninmäki, Helsinki by Antti Salovaara. I really wanted to see the bird, but I had to run around the Helsinki. At some point I was very close to the place and I decided to give it 15 minutes. I walked in the park where the bird was seen and I met my friend Matti Rekilä there. We were talking and soon we heard a promising call. We walked towards the call and there was at least eight twitchers watching the bird! Bird was hiding in a large tree and I saw it first only shortly. After five minutes the bird moved to the smaller tree and it was very easy to watch. I even got these poor shots with my mobile phone! 


Pallas´ Leaf Warbler


The place. Some guy walked into my photo... 


Shame that I had only my mobile with me...


And one more.



Soon I had to leave back to work, but damn I was happy. This species is getting more and more rare every year and I checked our Tiira database and there is only 19 records of Pallas´ Leaf Warbler in Uusimaa county during the last decade. 

Here is Matti´s amazing picture of the bird.


This weekend I have high hopes for the birds, let´s see what is going to happen. 

-Tom