maanantai 17. marraskuuta 2014

November birding in Estonia and Finland.

Spend last weekend in Estonia with my uncle Jände, but i really don´t have much to tell about the birds there. We had two days and quickly we noticed that place is quite empty...
Little sea watch both mornings gave us few hundred Velvet Scoters, some Divers, Red-necked Grebe and huge numbers of local Long-tailed Ducks. About 15000 in one flock wintering in western Estonia.
Best bird this time was gull, like it is quite often these days. We were in Dirhami harbor and Jände noticed a gull with color ring. Code 42P2 in red ring did not tell much for us but also the bird looked interesting. After nice documentation photos we were quite sure that this bird must be Caspian Gull.
I checked internet little bit and found program in Poland which uses this kind of rings.
So i send our record to Poland and today i got e-mail that this bird is really Caspian Gull. It was ringed last May as a nestling and now it has moved over 1000km to Estonia. What a great find!

Under wing and ring showing nicely. 

Caspian Gull.

Wings and tail showing nicely. 

So this bird saved our trip. Thanks Jände for company. Always pleasure.

Today i went to my "local patch" Seurasaari with my girlfriend Sanni. I wanted to show her some Owls. Yesterday there was Tawny, Pygmy, Ural and Eagle Owl!
This time we saw Eagle Owl which was found by some other guy and we were just lucky to be right place in the right time.

Mighty Eagle Owl resting. 

Never get bored with these birds! Not much other birds today.. Black Woodpecker was calling few times, few Great-spotted Woodpeckers, Jay, Tufted Duck, Canada Geese etc..

Coal Tit.

Tufted Duck.
Shame that weather was so cloudy, but we had great fun.

Let´s hope more birds will show up and i have something to write here. I promise that next post will come sooner than next year.

-Tom-

maanantai 20. lokakuuta 2014

Säppi island 2014

Last Saturday i came back from Säppi island where we had our annual birding trip. We spend one week in the island with great birds, great company and great fun.
I´m too lazy to write every day separately so here i´m going to go trough the whole trip in same post.
If you are interested about Säppi island here is some information about the island.
I was travelling with my friends Markus Lampinen, Petteri Mäkelä, Teppo Lehtola, Tomas Swahn, Pasi Alanko and Sebastian Andrejeff and we had great plans to find something very rare and special.

Petteri, Tomas, Sebastian, booze and Markus in boat.

First morning did not offered us much but worth to mention were Ring Ouzel, two Rought-legged Buzzards, Lesser Black-backed Gull and few Tengmalm´s Owls in our yard.


First Owl what we caught. 

Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Later when i was having sea-watch with Petteri, Pasi and Teppo, Markus called that they just saw Nuthatch which was first record in the island since 2001! Petteri was nervous but we decided to stay.
Soon rest of the guys came from the nets and they had this kind of surprise for us.

Nuthatch! Race Asiatica from east. 
First full day and 78 species. Very nice start.
Basically most of the days were lost of same. We had sea-watch, ringing and later we walked around the island. First two days did not gave us any rarities except the Nuthatch but the something happened.
Third morning and we were in the harbor again when Petteri noticed "tick" sound and it was clearly some kind of Bunting.
There is basically three species what you can see in Finland and have that kind of call.
Those are Rustic, Little and Yellow-breasted Bunting and last one is super rarity these days.
Petteri went to look at the place where the bird landed and it was not big surprise that it was Little Bunting! Always good sighting and only my second ever, so i was very happy!
Before i got any pics, bird took off and flied far a way.
Same day boys who were ringing, had Yellow-browed Warbler somewhere and i did not saw it. Other good Phylloscopus warbler was Willow Warbler, which was quite late and oddly brown.

Great Grey Shrike.

Willow Warbler.
15th of October Lågskär bird observatory challenged all bird stations to playful competition and rules were simple. You just had to see as many species in one day as you can. Time was 24 hours.
I went to the nets with Teppo and finally had long waited and very needed ringing training. We spend few hours there and caught 167 birds. Most of the ringings were Goldcreasts but there was also few Chiffchaffs, one Bullfinch, some Long-tailed Tits etc. I also spotted Yellow-browed Warbler near the nets, but i moved a way very quickly.

Black Bird in Teppos hand.

Long-tailed Tit.

Chiffchaff. But what race?

First year male Bullfinch. 
Later we spread all around the island and it was really good idea. I was walking in Hanhisto which is one little cape in the island and i noticed Ring Ouzel, Blue Throat, Common Guillemot and some other good species for our team. Later evening we counted our species and number was 94! Only Sörve bird station in Estonia beat us and we were number one in Finland.

Goldcreast with ring. 
Next morning we had our normal sea-watch. Migration was poor so me and Teppo went to make some coffee. It did not took long when Petteri tried to call me. There was bad signal in the station area so run out. Soon Petteri walked fast towards us and told us about local Yellow-billed Diver near the harbor. I took only my telescope and started to run as fast as i can and after 400m and maybe 35 seconds i watched this majestic bird flying behind the kräveli. That was really close!! New tick for me in Finland. Bird was 1cy and also my first not Adult bird. I have seen this superb species in Estonia few times. Other nice species this morning were Snow Bunting flock and 1cy Peregrine Falcon!

Teppo and Petteri having sea-watch with their own style.

Later we walked to Hanhisto which is most famous place to see Olive-backed Pipit in Finland. It is big meadow and you have to walk it with many guys in one line.
This time about 30 Meadow Pipits jumped in to the air before something amazing happened.
With one or two Meadow Pipits there was totally different species. Call was immediately identified as Olive-backed! Sadly bird flied to the woods and we had to wait for a while. About 45 minutes later we were walking again one meadow and Petteri had recording in hes mobile phone. This time bird gave only two or three calls but that was enough. Petteri had one of the calls recorded in hes phone and we had document! Later evening we had sauna and we were little bit celebrating the Pipit. It goes without saying that Pipit was lifer for me!

Happy Markus with hes huge Swarovski binoculars. 

Next day was same stuff. Olive-backed Pipit and surprisingly also Yellow-billed Diver were still present. Guys saw two Shore Larks, we had four migrating Nuthatches! etc.

Tree Creeper.

Highland Cattle near the bird station.

Flock of migrating Cranes.

Black Woodpecker.

Rough-legged Buzzard

Chiffchaff with food.

Teppo and Pasi having good time in Hanhisto.

Bohemian Waxwing.

Last day was the worst.. Again me and Teppo went to make some coffee because zero migration and again Petteri called us. 1cy Pomarine Skua landed quite near.. I ran again but no luck this time. Still waiting my first Pomarine Skua in Finland. Olive-bakced Pipit was still present and this time Markus saw it well sitting in tree.
Just after midday we left and only Tomas stayed in the island.

What a trip we had... So much fun and great stories to tell and some stories which are not for public audience. :)
Thank you Petteri, Markus, Pasi, Teppo, Tomas, and Sebastian. Memorable trip. Can´t wait till next year. 

sunnuntai 21. syyskuuta 2014

Birding in Vanhankaupunginlahti. 21.9.2014

Had few hours time for birds today so i went to Vanhankaupunginlahti. I arrived to Arabianranta little after nine a clock. Yes, very late.. It is so hard to get my self up these days.
Almost first bird i heard was Migrating Lapland Bunting! Always nice bird here in Helsinki. I walked to Lammassaari tower and spend rest of my short day there.
Lots of people around because of weekend, including noisy children with their noisy parents.. Who brings four child in bird tower and have picnic there? Well, it is public place and i just have to take it.
Fortunately there was also lots of birds to look at. I counted 250 Ruffs, 350 Lapwings, 21 Grey Herons, three Dunlins, 23 Common Snipes, four Golden Plovers and lots of Ducks. Later we found one Garganey in big flock of Eurasian Teals. Also very nice bird.

Grey Heron in flight. 

Lots of Ruffs and other common birds.

Garganey. 

More Ruffs.

It´s always nice to count local birds, but my main target was raptors. Love to find and id long distance birds, and of course close ones too!
Today i had two different juvenile Goshawks, around 10 different ages and sexes Sparrow Hawks, one juvenile Hen Harrier, one juvenile Marsh Harrier, juvenile Merlin
and highlight of the day, hunting juvenile Peregrine Falcon. Peregrine is so fast that i had troubles to watch it.

One noisy Black Woodpecker flied over the tower.

Peregrine hunting. No luck this time.

Later the same bird landed top of the electric pylon. Distance about 400m or more.

1cy marsh Harrier.

Little over three hours in the tower went quite quickly and i had to leave. We had little birthday party for Aapo, who turned respectable four years. With Sanni we bought him nice set of Mustang cars and he seemed to like those.

Almost forget to mention. I made little try for the Rose-colored Starling earlier this week but dipped it with style. 35 kilometers with bike felt like little pain when i cycled back home with out tick. But shit happens like people says! Next time i´m ready.

-Tom-

sunnuntai 14. syyskuuta 2014

Dotterel. 14.9.2014

It really seems that autumn is here. Mornings are little colder, day is shorter and better birds comes up every moment. Today was first really good day in Finland. Lots of Pallid Harriers, two Rosy-colored Starlings, Short-toed Eagle and some Yellow-browed Warblers.

I was working of course, but i just proved that you must keep your eyes open all the time.
I wandered around our compound when i decided to walk up some stairs.
When i came up i saw small wader and immediately knew that it was 1cy Dotterel! Bird jumped in to the air and i also heard typical flight call. I was totally amazed. Place was totally wrong for this species and i always thought that my first Dotterel in Finland would be in large soil field.
In same place i saw also three Blue Throats and lost of other common stuff. I really hoped i could carry my camera at work that moment, but that is not possible.
Here is link if somebody wants to know how handsome bird Dotterel is.
Dotterels
This sighting also shows how good location Kaivopuisto is. Earlier this week i had two Turtle Doves and last autumn i had Palla´s and Yellow-browed Warblers there.
Tomorrow i´m going to Espoo with Jände.  Rosy-colored Starling was again this morning and evening in Suomenoja. Wish me luck.

-Tom-

maanantai 8. syyskuuta 2014

Weekend in Pori SW Finland. 5-7.9.2014

Last week i had plans to go Estonia with my uncle but those plans were cancelled. I was thinking what to do and i called my good friend Petteri who lives in Pori SW Finland. I asked if i could come and in five minutes we decided to do some birding around Pori area. Later i got text from Markus Lampinen and he had same plans, so we had nice group there.
My buss arrived at 3 pm and Petteri was there waiting with he´s wife Matleena. We dropped my stuff and quite soon we got alarm message of three Dotterels flying near Yyteri.
Dotterel is one of those Finnish breeding birds what i have not seen in Finland, so we went to check if the birds would show up in Yyteri area. We walked to the new bird tower and started to check around.
Lots of shorebirds around including two very nice species like Red Knot and Sanderling. Both very good species for Helsinki dude. We also counted 22 Dunlins, 57 Little Stints, 4 Curlew Sandpipers, 139 Ruffs, Merlin and long stayer escape Lesser White-fronted Goose.

Most of the birds are way too far for photographing. 

Part of the 2500 Barnacles.

Later we picked Markus from buss station and we had nice peaceful evening.
Next morning we started from Toukari but most of the time there was thick fog.. Red-throated Pipit was best bird there.
Because fog stayed we decided to pick Jaakko Esama and then drive to the Hallavaara dump to have some Gull watch. Last week Petteri and Jaakko had Yellow-legged Gull there, so we had some expectations.
Sadly this time there was only few hundreds big gulls and almost all of those were "normal" Herring Gulls. Few Greater Black-backed Gulls also around.

Herring Gulls.

More Herring Gulls. Bottom one had almost nice looking tertials. 

Few raptors migrated, 500 Starlings and Black Woodpecker were seen.
Our next stop was in Nakkila and more specifically in Leistilänjärvi. Place is famous because some dude found Isabelline Shrike from there.
This time we had three Common Swifts, Hobby, Whinchat and Stock Dove.

Leistilänjärvi view. 

Later we dropped Jaakko back to hes car and we went to have short coffee break in Petteris house. I photographed one Rook from Petteris backyard.

Rook is common in Pori.

After coffee we went to Fleiviiki to check if the Great Snipe would show up for us.
We walked huge area with Markus and after few Common Snipes we flushed one Great snipe! Great Snipe and great feeling. Three Red-throated Pipits and Black Woodpecker also there. Here is photo of the Fleiviiki meadow so you can have little idea how big the place is.

Fleiviiki meadow. 
Common Hawker.

After we walked the area we had little raptor watch. Nice numbers of White-tailed Eagles, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harriers, Hobbys, Ospreys and majestic male Peregrine Falcon.
Last but this time the best place was Yyteri. Markus wanted to see Sanderling because it was missing from his year-list.
Huge numbers of birds and this time we counted about everything. Here is some numbers.

Common Ringed Plover 99        Whooper Swan 81               Herring Gull 175
Little Stint 49                             Great Crested Grebe 186     Golden Eye 2050
Dunlin 27                                   Red-necked Grebe 3            White-tailed Eagle 5
Temminck´s Stint 1                    Slavonian Grebe 12               Lesser White-fronted Goose 1
Red Knot 2                               Barnacle Goose 3495
Curlew Sandpiper 10                Canada Goose 17
Sanderling 2                              Greylag Goose 154              
Ruff 209                                    Eurasian Wigeon 270
Spotted Redshank 1                  Eurasian Teal 280
Common Greenshank 1             Pintail 8
Common Snipe 25                     Common Tern 1
Bar-tailed Godwit 1                   Caspian Tern 2

Escaped Lesser White-fronted Goose.

Markus in Yyteri.

Petteri in Yyteri.

In last light Petteri found funny looking hybrid goose from the Barnacle flock. My opinion is hybrid between Barnacle and Canada Goose

What do you think about this? 
Our evening ended with beautiful sunset.

Sunset in Yyteri.

Next morning there was so much fog so we just woke up late and just before our buss we twitched local Grey Partridges from Pinomäki.

Two Grey Partridges in Pinomäki.

What a weekend with great company. Thanks Petteri, Markus, Matleena and others for company! Next month we have our annual Säppi island trip, so very soon back to SW Finland.

-Tom-

sunnuntai 31. elokuuta 2014

Short raptor-watch in Espoo. 31.8.2014

I woke up little late, at 10am. There was lost of discussion about yesterdays Short-toed Eagle and i decided to go Maari bird tower in Espoo. Very soon after i leave home i realized that Eagle is going West, not East like first alarm message told.
Anyway, i wanted to see some birds and i drove to the tower.
When i arrived there was lots of people and i just barely fit in. Lots of Sparrow Hawks flied around and very soon first Common and Honey Buzzards showed up. Hobby hunted some insects near by and soon there was four of them.
Meadow was quite boring to watch, mostly because almost every birds were either Barnacle Goose or Northern Lapwing. After watching the meadow enough i found three Little Stints, one Dunlin, one Common Ringed Plover, 12 Ruffs and lost of different Ducks.

Ducks.

Barnacle flock.

Later we got best bird of the day and it was stunning male Peregrine Falcon. Sadly it was flying really high so no pics this time. Other goodies were two Red-throated Divers and three Red-throated Pipits.

Weather was nice. 

Nice four hours. Got two new year ticks (Divers and Peregrine). Thanks for the company Jani, Asko and others. Maybe next week we have new chance to see the Short-toed Eagle when it goes back East.

-Tom-