maanantai 18. elokuuta 2014

Estonian Open 16.8.2014

Last weekend me and my good friends Teppo, Jarkko, Roni and Petteri took part of the annual Estonian Open bird race.
Friday we started from Helsinki at 10.30 ferry and after two hours we were in Tallinn. Some waiting with our rental car but finally it came. Petteri was our driver this weekend so we others only  enjoyed very good driving and some beverages along the drive.
Our secret plan was to start the race from Hiiumaa island, which is second biggest island in Estonia little north from Saaremaa. I booked little cottage for us earlier and we found it quite easily.

Boys are enjoying good weather in Hiiumaa ferry. 
Great Egret is common in Hiiumaa.

Race started at 03:00 and our first species were calling Long Eared Owl just after we walked out of our Cottage. Nice start.
After leaving we went to southern part of the island hoping some night species and we had nice dark time there. Some Nightjahrs, few species of waders, thrushes and etc.
In first light we went to Cape Ristna to have some sea watch. Not much migration there but good species like Woodlark were there. Soon boys noticed that place called Surfparadiis little north would be better place for migration and there was also huge flock of local gulls, so we went there.
On our way we stopped in forest near the cape and we had nice birds like Wood Warbler, Common Cuckoo, Hobby, Willow Tit, Bullfinch and etc.
After this little movement to the surfparadiis we enjoyed semi good migration and lots of Gulls. Biggest highlight was SEVEN Caspian Gulls found in the big flock of Gulls!
Caspian Gull is not common bird in Estonia and i even got Estonian tick (282)! Six of the birds were 1cy and one 2cy. We were laughing that we have to do seven rarities committee reports because of the gulls.

1cy bird. 

Another 1cy bird.

2cy bird flying and showing underwing.

Same 2cy bird showing another side of the wing.
Boys in Surfparadiis. 

Teppo doing sea watch.

Other birds worth of mentioning were some Curlew Sandpipers, two Sanderlings, one Bar-tailed Godwit, Black Tern, Red-necked Phalarope and 20 Arctic Skuas.
Later we continued to Luidja which is maybe best wader place in whole Estonia. So much birds around there and i can mention some Broad-billed Sandpipers, Curlew Sands, huge numbers of Dunlins, few Little Stints and some Arctic Skuas.


Next stop was in Tahkuna, which is north point of the island. Not much birds there but boys found two Caspian Gulls more there! So our total was nine birds now! Amazing.
After Tahkuna we noticed that if we don´t go with the next ferry back to mainland we are doomed.
Thanks to Petteris god like driving skills we made it and we drove to the ferry just few minutes before it leaved.
Two Sandwich Terns.

From the ferry we ticked six more species and our dream to win or even have good position was alive. Best birds were Greater Scaup, Montagu´s Harrier, Little Tern and Little Gull.
In the mainland we visited in Haeska Tower, Keemu Tower and some other places before the race ended. Best species were Goshawk, Black-tailed Godwit and Greater White-fronted Goose.
Race stopped at 17:00 and we were so happy. 152 species was very satisfying number and we had good feeling about the race. We gathered in Pivarootsi and after long hours we found winner.
Here is full result list:

1. 167 Spithamn (Aki Aintila, Margus Ellermaa, Juho Könönen, Markus Lampinen, Tarvo Valker)

2. 152 MuoviLabaJengi (Teppo Lehtola, Petteri Mäkelä, Tom Nordblad, Jarkko Santaharju, Roni Väisänen)

3. 150 Takaveto (Vesa Jouhki, Andreas Linden, Jukka Salokangas, Andreas Uppstu, Peter Uppstu)

4. 148 Team Ristisaari (Petri Ripatti, Kari Soilevaara, Petteri Tolvanen, Ari Vuorio)

5. 146 Himantopus Himantopus (Ivars Brediks, Andris Klepers, Ieva Mārdega, Mārcis Tīrums)

6. 143 Sylvia (Mika Bruun, Asko Rokala, Roland Sundström, Ari Veijalainen)

7. 141 Nahkhiirmees (Jan Nordblad, Timo Pettay, Matti Rekilä, Juha Sjöholm, Erkki Valsta)

8. 139 Bad Company (Kuido Kõiv, Mati Salumäe, Tiit Vohta)

9. 138 Länemaa Linnuklubi (Trinus Haitjema, Mati Kose, Renno Nellis, Hannes Pehlak)

10. 137 Eesti Naised (Mariliis Märtson, Marju Erit, Triin Kaasiku, Aire Orula, Reet Rannik)

11.-12. 136 FC Fallos (Heikki Eriksson, Jukka Hatva, Juha Laaksonen, Pasi Pirinen, Tuomas Seimola)

11.-12. 136 V5 (Madis Karu, Raul Vilk, Kris Voog, Kaarel Võhandu)

13. 133 RC&Co (Margus Ots, Uku Paal, Ranno Puumets, Peeter Raudsepp)

14. 132 Vantaa (Heikki Luoto, Leena Luoto, Biti Ojala, Markku Ojala)

15. 132 Kõrvemaa Suusaklubi (Aki Arkiomaa, Johan Hassel, Jari Kårlund, Timo Nuoranen)

16.-17. 124 Kuldkihar ja kolm Karu (Tiina Mäkelä, Henry Tennberg, Jyrki Tolvanen, Juha Tuomaala)

16.-17. 124 Bilia (Christer Casagrande, Seppo Grönlund, Jaakko Hynninen, Istvan Kecskemeti)

18. 122 FC Pullus (Ilpo Hanski, Ilpo Huolman, Martti Vattulainen, Erkki Virolainen)

19. 120 Buteo (Eedi Lelov, Heikki Luhamaa, Riho Männik, Kalle Muru)

20. 115 Unioni (Risto Lammin-Soila, Tuomas Lukkarinen, Petteri Uusivouri)

21. 101 Sunset ökoriders (Timo Böhme, Lauri Mäenpää, Minna Mäenpää, Leena Törnqvist)

22. 99 Male&Female (Ave Huugen, Sander Sirelbu)

23. 97 Qkakk (Martin Piispea, Rene Ottesson, Meelis Suurkaev)

As you can see, we were second team this year! There were two teams with the bicycles so thumbs up for that also! Totally 206 were seen.

Winners Tarvo, Aki, Margus, Juho and Markus.

Finally i must thank Uku Paal, Mariliis Märtson, Margus Ots and other Estonian Open people for making this great race again. We had great fun.
Biggest thanks goes anyway to my team members Jarkko, Teppo, Petteri and Roni. With you guys there is always fun and we don´t take things too seriously. Can´t wait next year!

MuoviLabaJengi after the race. (c) Roni Väisänen.


sunnuntai 27. heinäkuuta 2014

Western Finland twitch 26.7.2014

Finally some birding activity! Recently i have used all of my time in the gym and working, so not much time for the birds.
Last week we got great news that pair of Paddyfield Warblers has bred successfully in Kristiinankaupunki.
Birds were already found in June and founders wanted to secure the nesting, so info came up much later.
Last weekend i did not have change to go there but today me and Markus Lampinen decided to go there.
We started before midnight from Helsinki and we had about four hours drive ahead.
With two stops and some coffee we arrived very early to Kristiinankaupunki. Later we noticed that we were about 2 hours too early there so little nap before boat came to pic us up.
I had some troubles with sleeping while Markus slept like a baby.
I have this new application in my phone and i can take very dramatic photos so here is one witch i took when we waited our boat ride.

Barn Swallows on a wire. 

Later we arrived to Trutklobbarna and there was already lots of people. Kari Korhonen had few mist-nets for the Warblers and first we waited if Kari could capture one or more birds.
While waiting we noticed a flock of Arctic Skuas flying around the island and i god some decent photos of this nice species finally. Also some Razorbills went North, 70 Great-crested Grebes were swimming near the island and some shore birds showed to us.

Golden Plover.

Dark morph Arctic Skua

Three Skuas.

One rested on a rock. 

Little later Kari informed that he heard juveniles begging sounds and we continued to the place where people saw the birds week ago. It was only little reeds where the birds moved and it was quite hard to see these little birds. Birds moved very quickly and stopped only for few times when we saw enough to id birds to Paddifield Warblers. First we saw only adult bird/birds. I got distant picture where you can see supercilium but not much more.. Kari captured two Blyth´s Reed Warblers and showed one to us while we watched Paddyfields.
Kari and Blyth´s Reed Warbler.

Adult Paddyfield Warbler.

Warbler place. You can see two rocks far a way, there birds moved around the reeds.

Later we had seen birds about five times very well so we went back to the place where we started. After having some beverages Kari, Markus and some others wanted to try if they can chase the birds to the net.
I continued my Skua photographing but it did not took so long when Markus called that they got two juvenile birds from the net! We walked there and behind huge group of people i managed to take only few crappy shots of the birds. Luckily Matti Pajunen loaned hes 105mm lens so i got even those few.

Juvenile Paddyfield Warbler. Awesome! 
Soon Kari had ringed both juniors and he released them near the place where the nest is. I really hope these youngsters will survive!
After this we gathered back to the cottage and had some good time. Weather was incredible, 30 degrees and no single cloud in the sky. I was sweating like big!
Me and Markus were in the last boat ride so we enjoyed nice time in this great island. Just before midday we arrived back to the harbor. We were so happy of all this and seeing those amazing birds so near was really worth of all driving and even Markus got lifer this time! (My tick number 302)
Later we start our long drive back to Helsinki but i was so tired that we had to stop and have some energy drink with food. We made also stop in Karkkila, about 60km from Helsinki to check if Grey Wagtails would show us. Not this time but place was super beautiful and i had to use my application camera also here!

Little river. 

Power of water.

When we were walking back to the car, Markus noticed small butterfly and it turned to be the Map. This beauty is second generation and that´s why it is more black.

Little beauty. This butterfly is really called Map.

Later i drove Markus back home and when i arrived back home i had to go to bed to have some nap. So tired.

So, what a great day we had. Markus, it´s always so much pleasure twitch and hang out with you! Thanks for the company. Also big thanks to Kari Korhonen and Veikko Forsberg for organizing everything! You guys do really good job there. Thanks also to Jorma Knaapi, Pertti Uusuvuori and other guys for company! I can´t remember all of your names, so sorry about that.
For the future, i might put more about butterflies in my blog. My old interests is waking up. But yeah, birds are still number one i promise!


maanantai 7. heinäkuuta 2014

Last day. 6.7.2014

Woke up very early and our first target was Pösaspea where we had very pleasant sea-watch.
Margus and Jukka were there already because of whole autumn sea-watch project.
In three hours we had nice numbers of migrants and Margus told that this was clearly best day so far this "autumn".  Especially Black-headed Gulls had massive migration.


Here is some numbers i counted before we leave.

Black-throated Diver 12
Galwall 7
Common Teal 30
Garganey 1
Tufted Duck 120
Greater Scaup 40
Black Scoter 800
Velvet Scoter 3
Great-crested Grebe 10
Red-necked Grebe 3
Honey Buzzard 1
Hobby 2
Dunlin 3
Whimbler 1
Greenshank 1
Black-headed Gull 3000
Little Gull 50

Black-throated Diver

Mute Swan train.

Tufted Ducks.

Common Ringes Plover.

After sea-watch we took little nap and then we went to check shorebird place called Haverssi. Normally this place is best for shorebirds in whole Western-Estonia, but it has seen better days.
This time we had huge flock of 120! Grey Herons and few Common Ringed Plovers, few Greenshanks and two Ruffs.

Part of the big flock.

Risto in Haverssi.

Next place where we visited was Pögari. Lots of birds there but most of them was Black-headed Gulls. Worth to mention was two Great-white Egrets, two Pied Avocets, Common Cuckoo and over 500 Black-headed Gulls.

Common Cuckoo in flight.

After Pögari we went to Puise very near by. Not much birds there and midday heat (28c) was maybe to much for birds and for us. We tried to photo some Common Swifts and lone Ichterine Warbler.

Common Swift.

Ichterine Warbler.

Because huge singing festival in Tallin we had to take some time to get there and we had some warnings about huge traffic etc.. So we after Puise we started to drive towards Tallinn.
Surprisingly or not there was not any traffic and we had more than enough time in harbor..

Thanks Risto and Jände for company again. We had great fun and can´t wait to get back to Estonia again very soon. Next moth there is annual bird race and we have strong? team going there.
Hear you soon.


lauantai 5. heinäkuuta 2014

Hiiumaa and back 5.7.2014

We started this morning in Tahkuna, North point of the island. Weather was foggy and rather cold, so not much changes to photo. Soon after we arrived to Tahkuna i spotted nice looking Lesser Black-backed Gull sitting with big flock of Common Gulls. Clearly the Bach of the Gull was more like dark gray than black, so i thought that this bird must be Siberian Gull or something like that. This Lesser Black-backed Gull problem is not so easy so this bird goes with Graelsii/Heuglini/Intermedius title.
Lots of Common Eiders, one Brent Geese, Greenshank and some other wildfowl around.

Putative Siberian Gull.

Tahkuna lighthouse and Risto.
Barn Swallow waiting better weather.

After Tahkuna we checked on of the best shorebird places in whole Estonia when we arrived to Luidjalaht.
Even thought it is midsummer and shorebirds are just starting their migration, we had 11 species and about 200 individuals.
Dunlin 16, Pied Avocet 2, Common Ringed Plover 70, Common Curlew 1, Oystercatcher 5, Ruff 12, Greenshank 3, Wood Sandpiper 4, Redshank 30, Golden Plover 1, Lapwing 20. Other goodies were Little Tern, five Caspian Terns and 20 Common Shelducks.

All the birds were quite far, so here is only panorama from Luidjalaht.
Soon after we visited famous Cape Ristna, it was completely covered in fog and looked like that.

Cape Ristna.

Körgessaare harbor was next destination but it was quite empty.. Lots of Mute Swans and some anas-ducks. Best was two Little Terns..

Divorced? Herring and Greater Black-backed Gulls.

Distant Little Tern.
After Körgessaare we went back to our hotel to check out and took rest of our stuff. We had also quick coffee before we went to Nömmerga field area to check if there would be any raptors or maybe Lesser-grey Shrike. We counted 10 Winchats, 9 Red-backed Shrikes, three White-tailed Eagles and one Wryneck. From Nömmerga we drove to Söru but best bird was lonely White Stork.
Our last place in Hiiumaa was Käina bay. There is huge colony of Great Cormorants and place was also full of Swans and Greylag Geese.
While searching some better i saw adult Barred Warbler flying near the bird tower, best bird there.
About 2500 Great Cormorants, 400 Greylag Geese, three White-tailed Eagles, lone Garganey male and that Barred Warbler.

Käina bay panorama.

Great Cormorant.

Awesome colony of Cormorants.

Small Copper butterfly. 

After Käina we were driving to the ferry when suddenly our exhaust pipe felt and car started to sound quite noisy. We stopped and Risto made quick repair with Jändes key chain and we managed just in time to the ferry. Later when we came back to mainland and same cottage village where we were earlier place owner made better repair for the pipe but Risto need to by new one when we get back to Helsinki.
Evening was ruined because Argentina won Belgium. I hope Netherlands will win later tonight.
More birding tomorrow.


perjantai 4. heinäkuuta 2014

Midsummer birding in Estonia. 4.7.2014

Yesterday me, Jände and Risto arrived to Estonia. Quite late we get key to our cottage in Bergsby willage in Western Estonia. Place is nice and very near of all the good birding spots in the area. Into the bargain Margus Ellermaa, Tarvo Valker and Jukka Salokangas were in the next cottage, so familiar faces around.
Our target this time is Ruddy Shelduck and because this species have some movement going, there is quite good change to see it.
Today we woke up way too late and after long breakfast we went to Dirhami harbor. Nothing special there and when i was photographing Common White-Throats we got message that Peep Lassman had two Ruddy Shelducks in Tallinn!
Quickly we moved back to the car and started to drive.
Adult Common White-Throat.

Juvenile same species.

About 100km later we arrived to Paljassaare where the birds were seen earlier. We scanned the beaches and all places for two hours. Lots of other birds around but not those what we want so we dipped this time..
Maybe we will found our own bird later this trip, but this was little depressing. Nice birds around Paljassaare was about 20 Sand Martins, some Little Ringed Plovers, Red-breasted Mergansers etc. Here is some photos from Tallinn.


Cute juvenile Northern Wheatear.


More Mute Swans coming soon.

One of many Sand Martins.
After disappointment food is always good first aid, so we tested some local food bar. Average food.

Local food bar in Kopli area.
After food we drove back to Western part of the country, saw Hazel Grouse family who faced horrible destiny.. Female was escorting chicks other side of the road, first chicks were run over by car and little later female had same misfortune..
If our day was not ruined after dipping the Shelduck, it was now..

Female Hazel Grouse.

After this horrible incident Risto noticed that we had only little bit over 30 minutes time to get our asses to ferry, we drove like a maniacs, but by the book of course. :)
Ferry to Hiiumaa took about 80 minutes. Later when we arrived we checked Suursadam if the Alpine Accentor would be around after two months. Last sighting was over a month a go.
Was not big surprise that it was not there today.

Common Gull from the ferry.
Suursadam summer.

After Suursadam we checked in to Padu Hotel and now we are enjoying football and some beverages.
More birding tomorrow.