4. huhtikuuta 2020

Firecrest with Vilma and walk with the kids. 2.4.2020

Finally time to write about our nice twitch on 2nd of April.

I have had many night shifts lately and that has effected my birding of course cause you have to sleep after your shift.
On second I woke up quite early and when Julius went to have his daily nap I took Vilma with me cause the alarm of Firecrest came about half an hour before. Drive to Espoo took us about 25 minutes and we arrived to the full parking lot. First Firecrest for the year in Finland attracted quite many twitchers and we had to take care of the distances because of the Covid-19 virus.

After walking about 200m we were at the place where the bird was seen last time but it was lost. About 10 people were looking at it and I said to Vilma that let´s walk a bit around the small area. Took me like two minutes to find the bird! I noticed a small bird moving in a bush and it was easy to identify it. I told others to come closer and the bird moved a bit higher so all saw it quite well. Photographing it was real pain in the ass and my Sony RX10 had troubles to focus behind the branches. I managed to get few pictures and soon we left to check the Spools near by. More and more people gathered so it was good time to move on.
Moment when I found the bird. Can you spot it? 

There is not too many flying photos of Firecrest. 

Cute bird. 

Vilma had raisins and her own camera with her. 


Quite much wildfowl at the pools. Pochards, Tufted Ducks, Gadwalls, Mallards, Coots and Goldeneyes. Later spring this place is full of birds and one of the places where Slavonian Grebe nests in capital area.
We walked around the pools, and at some point Vilma started to vine about going to the car and home, so we left. It was good hour we spend there and nice birds to my year list.

Mixed flock of ducks. Female Pochard, Tufted Ducks, Coots and Gadwalls.

Gadwall pair. 

Female Goldeneye



After we came back home we had some food and then I took both kids with me to have a walk where we spot teddy bears from the windows. This has been an international Facebook challenge or something.
We walked around the neighborhood and we had quite many bears. At some point we decided to have a small adventure at the woods and we ended up walking around the whole Hallainvuori area! It took us about an hour to do all that. I had my camera with me but not too many birds around. Great-spotted Woodpecker, Siskins, Parrot- and Common Crossbills and other common stuff.
Here is a picture of Common Crossbills.

Male Common Crossbill. 


What a day. Good rarity, some other common, but always good species. Now my year list is 99 species, so soon I hit the one hundred mark.
More birding later.
Stay healthy!

-Tom

30. maaliskuuta 2020

Sunny Viikki birding. 29.3.2020

Yesterday I went to check the Viikki fields and Vanhankaupunginlahti bay with my bicycle. It was nice crispy weather with one degrees and clear sky. First I went though fields and my first stop was in Hakalanniemi tower. Fields were empty, just a handful of Geese and lots of Lapwings. Skylarks were singing and it felt a bit like spring.
I saw that there is just one guy in the tower so good to go. Cause this Covid-19 virus is running in Helsinki area you must be careful with that.
It was nice to noticed that the guy was Aleksi Mikola. Together we scanned the sky and the water area, but nothing really interesting came up. Common Snipe, some Eurasian Teals, flock of Smews, White-tailed Eagle etc. Nice morning anyway.
Soon more and more people started to visit the tower and we decided to leave. We checked a field near by before Aleksi left and I found two White Wagtails from there. Nice spring birds! It was nice to have some company, even for a short period of time.

Whooper Swans and Canada Geese in Vanhankaupunginlahti.

Fields were surprisingly empty.

My trusted companion, Kona Unit. 




Soon after that I went back to the fields and stayed there about two hours. At some point I got alarm message of Redkite heading east from Kirkkonummi. Wind was blowing from North and I was quite sure that if the bird continues same route, it can be seen from the spot I was standing.
I also talked with my uncle Jände and he came little later. I was freezing after that two hours and because there was no sign of the Kite we left. Best birds during my watch were Lapland Longspur, flock of 48 Lapwings, Common Buzzard and two Meadow Pipits...

Distant Common Buzzard. 


I came home and after some food I took my kids and we went to play outside. We walked around the Viikki area and kids had good time. During the time we were out I had Great-spotted Woodpecker, Robin, Stock Does, Woodpigeons, big flock of Linnets etc.

European Robin.

House Sparrow having a sand bath. 



Nice day with few new species for the year. Next week should be little bit warmer, so maybe more and more birds will arrive.
More later.

-Tom 

23. maaliskuuta 2020

Sunny day at Viikki and lots of dipped birds.. 22.3.2020

I had nice bike ride around the Viikki and Vanhankaupunginlahti today. I started from Taka-Viikki where I tried to see Dipper, but no luck and then I headed to the fields. I had 13 Snow Buntings, Wood lark, Great-grey Shrike, loads of Geese and many singing Skylarks.

Distant flock of Snow Buntings. 

Same birds in flight. 

Yellowhammer was singing its heart out. 


From the Fields I ride to Fastholma where I watched the feeder for some time. Two Bramblings, Great-spotted Woodpecker and singing Robin were something to mention.
After Fastholma I slowly went back to home. I stopped few times, for example at Majavakallio where I checked the White-tailed Eagle nest and Grey Heron colony. Six Smews at the bay.

Grey Heron.

White-tailed Eagle and Crows.

Robin was singing in Fastholma.

Male Brambling.

Female Brambling.


Later I got an alarm message of Red Kite heading East from Kirkkonummi. I took Vilma and we tried to see the bird from Viikki fields. No luck, but few Snow Buntings, Rook and few flocks of migrating Geese were nice.
After this we went back home to pick up Julius and we drove to Vihti where we tried to twitch a local celebrity Western Capercaillie. Again I had no luck today, but kids had fun in the park and I saw a lone Common Buzzard.. We spend an hour there and checked few places near by, but no bird.


So, three targets, zero success.. I guess it will pay back some day, but I must say that I was a little bit pissed today. Maybe next time.

-Tom

8. maaliskuuta 2020

Few birds from the weekend. 8.3.2020

This weekend has been running around the capital area to some birthday parties with my family and just relaxing at home when possible.
On Saturday we had Sanni´s god daughter´s birthday in Espoo and most of the afternoon was spent there. Today we visited in Pakila, where we had our friends son´s party. Lots of cake and stuff this weekend! I had first Woodpigeon of the year while driving back home from there!

Later today I had my mother visiting us and we decided to take the kids outside. We had good time in playground and we also visited Viikki staples to see some horses. Vilma was so excited about those! Julius was sitting in a stroller and he just wanted to play some ball. I was hoping to see some spring birds, but nothing really in the area... Loads of Crows, pair of Ravens, Jackdaws, House Sparrows, Green Finches etc.
Sun was shining and it was really nice spring weather.

First Coltsfoot (tussilago farfara) for the year.

Jackdaw with only a little white collar.

This bird had much more and it was the "blondie" of the flock. Great looking bird. 

Rather odd looking male Mallard with almost bluish peak.

One of many Hooded Crows.

What a weather. 

We also gave some bread to the Mallards and kids had fun.

Hopefully more birds next week!

-Tom