5. heinäkuuta 2020

Pied Bush Chat 5.7.2020

Happy July folks. Time is running and tomorrow I will start last week of my vacation, unfortunately..
Yesterday I got alarm message of real MEGA species from Eurajoki, Western Finland when Kalle Haapala found third Pied Bush Chat for Finland! I told it about Sanni and I mentioned that I am eager to go and twitch the bird next morning. Permission granted and I started to check what I need to pack.

At some point at the evening I noticed Kari Lindblom´s Facebook post that he would like to go there, but no car. I sent Kari a message and we agreed to pick him from Maunula after 3:00 at the morning.
I arrived there at 03:40 and we started our long drive. Distance between the bird and Maunula was about 250km, it was very easy drive cause there was no traffic and company was good.
At Eura we saw Black Grouse from the car and many different mammals during the drive. At least six Red Foxes, one Mountain Hare, several Roe Deer and quite a many European Hares.

When we arrived to the site the situation was not good. Bird was seen about 15 minutes before we came and it was moving in distance and showed only few times. More people came and it was nice to see my friend Pasi Alanko from Pori after long time. He came there with bicycle and distance from home was about 50km. Great job!
We had to wait about 45 minutes when somebody spotted the bird from some vegetation not too far from the place we were standing. Bird was feeding actively and moved slowly towards us. Finally after 15 minutes it was close enough to get any photos and see the feature much better. Here is few phone scoped pictures of the bird.

Long waited Pied Bush Chat. 

Shame that my phone is not ideal for scoping, because of the large camera module. 

Soon the bird was feeding in small piles of rotten sugar beets and dirt with Wagtails and some other common birds.
My opinion is that the bird is second calendar year male. Wing feathers were more brownish than black. 

Bad picture, but you can see the wing bar from here. 


Place where the bird was. 

We watched the bird about an hour and then we decided to start our journey back to Helsinki. At some point I got an idea to visit Karkkila river, cause I knew that there was records of Grey Wagtail from same week. We checked the place, but nothing in hour, so we were back on the road and pretty soon we were in Maunula. I dropped Kari and rove back home.

Grey Wagtail place, but it was empty. 


Thanks for the company Kari, it was a pleasure!

Pied Bush Chat is very very rare bird in Europe. This was only fifth record and surprisingly three of the records are from Finland. First was 2010, second 2017 and now this bird.

Other records in Europe are from Sweden 2018 and Italy 2017. From Israel there is nine records, three records from Kuwait,two from Cyprus and one record from Egypt. So totally 20 records from Western Palearctic area! I missed last two in Finland and especially last one because I saw one bird in Israel back in 2014. Great memories.
Pied Bush Chat was my lifer number 341 in Finland and I´m one step closer to reach 350. Maybe in two years? Who knows.
Next week more birding if the weather is good enough. Fingers crossed.

-Tom

2. heinäkuuta 2020

Quick trip to Loviisa again. 26.6-27.6.2020

After Hartola we spend only one night at home and again next day I was driving to our summerhouse in Loviisa. This time we had only my family and Oona, cousin of our children.
Mostly we just enjoyed warm weather and kids spend most of the day swimming in the ocean. Midsummer is not ideal for any bird watching here if you are not ringer or something like that, but there is always something to watch. I had two Black Woodpeckers, Hobby, many Little Gulls, Grey Herons, many forest birds etc. Common stuff, but at least something.

Mute Swan family. Very common in this area. 

Four-spotted Chaser, Libellula Quadrimaculata. Also very common there. 

Black-tailed Skimmer, Orthetrum Cansellatum. Older female in this picture. This yeas very common, some years only few around our place. 

For now I think most of the summerhouse trips are behind. I still have my vacation going till 13th, so I just hope that someone will find the real rarity and next week I will check the Viikki area more often, cause my kids are back in daycare and I have time of my own.

-Tom 

29. kesäkuuta 2020

Few days in Hartola 22.6-26.6.2020

After Loviisa we had only one night at home and next day we started our second trip towards Hartola. On our way we stopped at Vääksy, where Sanni´s mother is living and because Covid-19 we visited her place first time since the virus started to spread. Kids were so happy to see their grandmother and we went to swim near by. Very pleasant few hours there were a variety of different delicacies on the table, of course.

Beach. 

White Wagtail. 


From Vääksy we drove about an hour to Hartola and when we arrived my mother was there waiting for us. I have many good childhood memories from this place and always a pleasure to arrived there.

My first Common Clubtail. Gomphus Vulgatissimus.

Calm lake and sunset. 

Black-throated Diver in our lake, light was a bit harsh for any good photos.. 

Next few days we had great time, food, swimming and fun. I also twitched Common Quail from Sysmä, quite near by. Other nice birds during the time there were two singing Eurasian Nightjahrs, Hazel Grouse which I got with stroller! and colony of Sand Martins close to our place.

Red-eyed Damselfly couple, Erythromma Najas.

Vilma and Julius. 

Broad-bodied Chaser, Libellula Depressa.

Sand Martin colony. 

I counted 36 bird from this site. 

Very hard to photo these fast birds... 

Vilma fishing from our platform.

Normally I don´t see any good birds there, but for butterflies this place is good. This year it seems that there i not too much of those too, but still I was able to see some good species. I even got a lifer when Oak Eggar moth, Lasiocampa Quercus went trough our yard. I tried to follow it, but no chance.. Also Poplar Admiral, Limenitis Populi was seen only in flight. Here is few pictures.

Amanda´s Bluet, Polyommatu Amandus.

Large Wall Brown, Lasiommatta Maera.

Small Tortoiseshell, Aglais Urticae.

Apamea Sordens. 

Old World Swallowtail, Papilio Machaon.

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Boloria Selene. 

Ringlet, Aphantopus Hyperantus. 

Wood White, Leptidea Sinapis. 

After four nights we left towards home, but we stayed there only one night, cause Loviisa was calling again. More of that later.
We had amazing week and I still have two weeks left of my summer vacation.

-Tom 

27. kesäkuuta 2020

Midsummer in Loviisa 18.6-21.6.2020

Last weekend we had very pleasant visit to our summerhouse in Loviisa. That place is so near our home (less than hour from door to door), so we have visited there quite a lot lately.
This weekend was mostly enjoying the weather, food and time with the family. I always keep my eyes open for birds and other flying creatures like dragonflies and butterflies, but this time nothing special around.
Small colony of Little Gulls near our beach and daily some birds passed our yard, but no pictures this time.. Those bastards are quick and they always surprised me when I saw them. Anyway around 15 birds in the area.
Garden Warblers were still singing, Pied Flycatcher had busy time with chicks and male carried food constantly. Also some Spotted Flycatchers around with two singing Rose finches and Black Woodpecker.

Passing Grey Heron.

One of three local male Pied Flycatchers from our backyard. 

From the dragonflies Black-tailed Skimmer were very common and I had tens of those during the weekend. Also some Four-spotted Chasers and many Variable Damselflies around. I also had one or two bigger ones, but no ID for those.

Male Black-tailed Skimmer, orthetrum cancellatum.

Female Black-tailed Skimmer. 

Female Four-spotted Chaser, libellula quadrimaculata.

Variable Damselfl, coenagrion pulchellum. couple mating. 

Butterflies were totally gone and I had probably one Small Tortoiseshell, one large skipper and and one moth from the light.

Small Clouded Brindle, apamea unanimis.

Large Skipper, ochlodes sylvanus.

Finally this fun little bug, which I found from my baby boys diaper!

Snakefly species, raphidioptera sp. 

What a great weekend and from Loviisa we went back home for one night and then continued to the next summerhouse, but more of that later.

-Tom