25. toukokuuta 2016

Spain part two 15.5-20.5.2016

On 16th we had another day trip to another city. This time we choose Ronda, which looked super awesome from the pictures and some of my friends recommended the place.
From Torrox-Costa we had about two hour drive and during the drive I always watch birds anyway I can. Soon after we started our drive we had to stop and get some breakfast. Sanni and her sister went inside to get some and I had time to watch around. Fist bird I saw was a smart looking European Bee-Eater! I was just standing outside of the car and soon I noticed larger passerine in a tree close by. I raised my binos and wow, Western Orphean Warbler! What a place behind the gas station!
Also European Stonechats, Crested Larks, four different types of Swallows, Kestrel and Red-legged Partridge around!
During the drive I saw lots of Corn Buntings, lone Calandra Lark, lots of Crested Larks, some large unidentified raptor. Just before Ronda I noticed Green Woodpecker near the road, but this female bird disappeared before I even had a change to stop and look at it. According the birdlife internationa this is a full species nowadays!
In Ronda we had nice time watching the city, eating tapas food and looking the view. Lots of Red-billed Choughs around the cliffs and quite far away I noticed flock of Griffon Vultures circling high up in the sky.
Also Pallid Swif and Blue Rockthrush represented the interesting part of the birds in the city

Red-billed Chough.

Ronda view.

Famous bridge of Ronda.

I really recommend to visit Ronda if you are in the area. I have been in quite many impressive places and this was one of my favorite!

After nice day in Ronda we started our drive back to Torrox. I was driven maybe 15minutes and I noticed large raptor quite far, but not far for the telescope. I stopped the car quickly and when I saw the raptor, my mind was blown away! Adult Spanish Imperial Eagle! Did not really expected that species there! Happily I continued my drive until quite near the Malaga I found little river and I had to stop there. Because Sanni and Vilma were also in the car, I had about 5 minuted time. First bird I heard was Chaffinch. Second was little bit better and I was super happy to hear and see Melodius Warbler! Place looked super nice, but shame that I did not have anymore time there. Short-toed Lark was also good there with Black-winged Stilts.

Black-winged Stilt.



Next day I spend mostly near the house, but there was birds too. I found family of Blue Rockthrushes near by with Thekla Lark and some Turtle Doves sang behind the house! Later little sea watch and I got two Balearic Shearwaters, few Gannets and flock of Sandwich Terns.

Female Blue Rockthrush.

And Male too. Snack for the chick is lizard tail.

Torrox-Costa beach.

Turtle Dove.


Next morning I drove to Veléz-Malaga to check again the place where we visited with Antti.
Lots of birds singing, but nothing new.. I walked to the shore and checked the river, but also that was quite dead..
Little bit later flocks of Audouin´s Gulls started to fly near by and one flock landed on the beach.

Early morning at the beach.


Little bit younger bird. Maybe 2cy? 

Flock through my telescope. 


I also met a local guy who wanted to join me. We did not have same language or anything but god we had great time. Guy showed me lots of birds and I showed him a Penduline Tit nest and later one adult with three chicks! He was super happy. We walked little of road and suddenly Red-necked Nightjar jumped in to the air near my legs. Too fast for any photos, but awesome bird!

My best photo of Zitting Cisticola!

European Serin.

Adult and juvenile Penduline Tit.

Penduline Tit Nest.

During the walk I asked the guy about White-rumped Swift and he said Nerja which was the closest city of our house. I decided to visit there again next day. Together we continued for little while and lots of birds around. I counted about 10 singing Western Olivaceous Warblers, many Common Nightingales, Reed Warblers, Monk Parakeets, Red-rumped Swallows etc.
We shake hands and I continued to my car. I packed my stuff when I heard some yelling. I turned and same guy pointed straight to the sky. I looked and there was flock of four White-rumped Swifts! How cool was that! Muchas Gracias Juan!

Monk Parakeet.

Sardinian Warbler.

Sardinian Warbler.

I left Veléz-Malaga and my next destination was Sierras de Tejeda which is high mountain natural park. Area is big and I choose to take the western part of it. I stopped in many places and got some nice species on my list. Cirl Binting, three species of Tits, Booted Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Nuthatch, Common Crossbill, Firecreast and possibly Golden Eagle, but that was little bit too quick situation.

Sierras de Tejeda.

Firecreast.

Common Crossbill.

European Nuthatch.

Peregrine Falcon with prey!



I spend about 1,5 hours there and lots of nice birds with great views! After I drove back to our house, I had short sea watch which gave me nothing..
After this morning we had only one full day left and I spend that time with my family. We visited Nerja where I actually saw one White-rumped Swift later! and last day we spend in Malaga before I dropped our rental car back.
This was my first visit to mainland Spain and I was really positively surprised how great place it was for birding. I saw 94 species and got six lifers! I hope I can visit this area some day and do some real full time bird watching there!

-Tom

18. toukokuuta 2016

Spain part one. 9-14.5.2016

So, we arrived to Malaga over a week ago and I had some birding almost every day. At 9th we arrived to Torrox Costa were we have our house for the vacation. My wife´s sister and her family are also here, so lots of kids and never boring.

Vilma in the airplane. Sanni took this amazing photo.

Spain seems to be a very good place for birding. Birds are everywhere and there is lots of different species. With quick sea watch from the beach just other side of the road I had Balearic Shearwater, Gannets, some Audouin´s Gulls and lots of Yellow-legged Gulls. Behind the house is little bushy area where Spotless Starlings, Sardinian Warblers and especially Serins spend their time. Some Honey Buzzards migrated over the village and both species of Kestrels are quite common.

Flock of Audouin´s Gulls

Yellow-legged Gulls.

Documentary photo of the Balearic Shearwater.

Handsome European Stonechat near our house.

First few days were rainy and dark and there was actually quite cold too.. I did not care about the weather and I found Western Olivaceous Warbler near our house day before we arrived. My first lifer of the trip.
12th of May we made whole day visit to Granada which was super cool city. Firecreast, some Honey Buzzards were best in the city, but during the drive there I saw few Black Wheatears and Rock Sparrows to my life list. Wheatear was on my wish list!

Cathedral de Granada.


14th I took Antti with me and we had amazing morning in Velez-Malaga. Birds like Little Bittern, Little Egrets, Audouin´s Gulls, Western Olivaceous Warblers, Common Nightingales, Reed Warblers, Zitting Cisticolas, Squacco Heron and Booted Eagle, Iberian Chiffchaff and Woodchat Shrike were nice! Also the place was beautiful and really worth to visit even for non birder like Antti.

Western Olivaceous Warbler.

Audouin´s Gull.

Same bird. Shame the ring is just behind the other leg.

Iberian Yellow Wagtail.

Booted Eagle.

Squacco Heron.

Also later that night I had Cory´s Shearwater from the beach!

More later.

-Tom

17. toukokuuta 2016

Ross´s Gull twitch 7.5.2016

Not much happened after my Pori trip. I twitched long staying King Eider from Raasepori and during my normal days, migrant birds showed up one by one. My Summer vacation started at 6th of May and just day after I got alarm message of Ross´s Gull in Janakkala, which is quite close to Helsinki (about one hour drive). I took Sanni and Vilma with me and together we drove there. Lots of people came and when we arrived, there was about 100 twitchers around. Bird stayed whole day in same pool and was seen quite easily.
This was one of my dream come true species and I waited quite some time to see it. Four years a go there was one bird in Kuortane, but that was too far a way or something.

Possibly the worst record shot of the bird. 

Happy twitcher and new hope :)


What a great way to start vacation! After this twitch we started our Spain trip next monday.

-Tom

Day trip to Pori 24.4.2016

We had family weekend in Vääksy with Sanni and Vilma, but somehow I managed to take one full day at Pori at the same time.
I arrived Saturday evening to Petteri Mäkeläs house and with hes family we had nice dinner. Next morning we started very early from Yyteri and when we arrived to the first tower, we noticed alarm of Pied Avocet just 15 minutes earlier from there. Very soon Petteri noticed the bird feeding quite far away. We continued walking to the next and main bird tower and there we had very pleasant time with lots of birds.
About 60 Bar-tailed Godwits, Lapland Longspur, Spotted Redshank, Bearded Reedlings and lots of other good stuff!

Meadow Pipit.

Pied Avocet.

Singing Pied Wagtail.

After Yyteri we visited various places around Pori area and I picked year ticks from almost every place. Pied Avocet was certainly our best bird that day, but cant praise Pori too much for one of the best places in Finland. All kinds of biotope are represented there. Here is two more photos from different places.

Ring Ouzel. We had 4 birds that day!

Waxwing.



Thanks for everything Petteri, Matleena and Mimosa. It was great to see you guys after long time. Shame that I had only one day this time. Maybe next time we have more time to spend together.

-Tom