9. helmikuuta 2018

Slow winter birding in Maunula. 8.2.2018

Yesterday I had some time to go out and looks what kind of birds are wintering near our house. I went to Maunulanpuro, which normally holds some Dippers this time of the year. No dippers this time, but I had nice flock of birds feeding near the Dipper stream.
At least eleven Common Chaffinches, three Bramblings, some Green Finches, pair of Eurasian Siskins, loads of Bullfinches, three Great-spotted Woodpeckers and three species of Tits.
I walked along the stream looking for the Dippers, but all I had was Goshawk and Eurasian Treecreeper. Before I left I most likely heard Grey-headed Woodpecker, but it was quite far a way and there was some other noise so I wasn´t 100% sure.. Shame, Grey-headed is  good species here in my area. Recently we had so much snow here in Helsinki that the dipper stream was almost covered with it and I think that ´s why there wasn´t any birds.
Here is few photos I took there.


Chaffinch flock.

Male Black Bird.

Normally this amount of Bramblings and Chaffinches would be awesome, but for some reason this winter there are big flocks of both species around Southern Finland.
Next week is full of work, so let´s see when I have time for birds next time.


22. tammikuuta 2018

Pine Bunting in Kirkkonummi 21.1.2018

On 21st of January Owen Foley, an Irish bird watcher who lives here in Finland found interesting looking Bunting hanging around with big flock of Yellowhammers. Bird was looking very good for male Pine Bunting. Information moved quickly and that same day some dozens of twitchers saw the bird. I was at home but had some other things to do, of course and same time I tried to find a way to go and see this bird, which is on my list of those "must see" kind of things. I was talking with Jände on a phone and together we decided that we are going next morning. Sanni was not happy with that decision, but I risked my marriage and went there anyway.
On 22nd we arrived to the site around 10 a clock and just before we started to walk to the pointwhere it was seen yesterday we got info that bird was showing about 1km further in a Yellowhammer flock.
We drove there and from the car we had about 200m walk. Lots of Yellowhammers in the area and situation was messy, I´d say. Lots of people everybody watching in different direction.
At some point someone saw the bird, but no one else did... Better guidance guys, please!!!
First better bird was Lapland Longspur in Yellowhammer flock. It was a wintertime tick for me (Dec-Feb).

Can you find the Longspur? 

From here you can see some details if you have imagination good enough. 

These photos are taken trough my telescope and distance was around 100m.
Finally after 40 minutes a big flock of Yellowhammers landed on a field and they were easier to watch. Soon Owen, the same guy who found the bird in a first place, found it again!
I was feeling something between happines and sorrow (and both at the same time) when I realized that I can´t find the bird. I was looking and looking and looking, but all the birds were Yellowhammers and of course I found the Longspur... Finally I heard the exact spot where the bird was and BOOM there is was. What a relief. It was looking very good, handsome and a real deal Pine Bunting male. Shame that after few seconds the flock took of and I never saw the bird again. Jände saw the bird when it took off, so after 20 minutes we called it a day.

Pine Bunting is very rare in Finland and when the bird is close to Helsinki area, there is always lots of twitchers around.

So, we went to have some coffee and same time we talked about the bird and about some other birds. With Jände there is no boring day or moment, thank you for that.

These days rarities committees does not accept female Pine Buntings from Finland and other Northern countries. Male bird is the only way to get this species on your list. After we left there has been some discussion about some yellowish feathers with this bird, but I think the only thing you can do now is just wait the decision from the RC.
Everybody knows that I´m not any kid of expert with birds, but for me it looked a real deal.
Some photos and story from Owen Foley HERE.
It was also good to see some old friends there.


10. tammikuuta 2018

Winter birding in Helsinki 9.1.2018

Year 2017 is behind and what a year it was. Many new species and good memories.
I was working on 1st of January and because I´m working near the sea I have change to see birds almost every day. I also cycle to work so that gives me some opportunity to see birds.
While I was cycling I had all kind of common stuff like Blackbirds, Domestic Sparrows, Barnacle Goose, Canada Goose and Mallard.
During my day at work I had Back-headed Gull, Common Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls, Whoopers Swans and flock of Long-tailed Ducks.
When I went back home, I took a detour and twitched our famous long staying phoenicuroides-race Black Redstart. Sadly bird was found dead later..

Yesterday I had my first day when I had time for birds. I chose Viikki and Vanhankaupunginlahti, because of many good winter birds like Greylag Goose and Great Grey Owl.
When I arrived to Viikki I noticed a flock of Canada Geese resting on a meadow.

With the flock there was this funny looking C-Goose. 

I continued my walking and then I heard Reed Bunting flying above me. Nice start. After some walk I came to Purolahti and there we have nice small birdtower. From there I had Whooper Swans and lone Greylag Goose with bad wing. It will die soon...

My next target was long staying Great Grey Owl from Mölylä area near by. I walked around there, but like for many others, no bird for me. After an hour I kept going towards Fastholma to see wintering Chiffchaff and Nuthatch.


Common Chiffchaff.

And again.

As you can see, these photos are horrible.. I have a story for you about these, but that later.
Nice winter birds and actually my first wintertime (Dec-Feb) Chiffchaff ever.
Also lots of Great-spotted Woodpeckers and Goldfinches around. When I was leaving I also heard Winter Wren. I started to walk back to Mölylä when I noticed an alarm message about the Great-Grey Owl from there. I think I was faster after this info.
During my walk I saw a pack of photographers and they had some interesting bird. I saw that they were photographing something and when I raised my binos I saw this.

Pygmy Owl! 
Great bird, but I was in hurry to see the bigger cousin of this furry little ball. I almost ran. I was excited. I was moving like going to have a lifer or something. It was actually quite long way, but finally I aw the bird sitting on a branch.

Great Grey Owl.

It was sitting like this for quite long time and then it found something to eat. I managed to see when it swallowed a small black thing and flew back to another branch.

Great Grey Owl.

I spend about 30 minutes with this amazing Owl and got some awesome footage with my phone and telescope. Taking video through it was surprisingly easy.

What a bird.

When I walked back to bus stop I had another Greylag Goose and 131 Canada Geese in one big flock. It felt like April!


Many new year ticks, two new winter time ticks and lots of fun. I met Kari Haataja, Hannu Palojärvi and some other familiar faces during the day and I hope your day was at least as good as mine was.

About my camera and pictures. I was worried that my camera finally came to it´s end, but NONSENSE! When I took photos of that famous Black Redstart I had to use all in with ISO number and that was still all in yesterday with sunshine and daylight... Fun.


28. joulukuuta 2017

Eastern Black Redstart. 28.12.2017

Something happened after Estonian Open bird race. I had troubles to go out and do any kind of bird watching. Few mega rarities were quite near, but soon I noticed that I had no energy to go.. I diagnosed  that I was going trough some kind of burnout. Birdwatching was not fun or interesting anymore. For example 20th of October Puff-bellied Pipit was introduced from Western Norrskär island. All I did was hoping that I don´t have to go there and twitch. It was first for Finland!

Anyway, today I took my binoculars (first time since August) with me to work and I had plans to go and twitch an interesting bird from Viikki. Two days a go some guy found putative Eastern Black Redstart from there. It was seen by many yesterday and idea of seeing this interesting bird would be  enough for me to go there.

I released from work at 2pm and I cycled straight to Viikki. I met few old buds there and together we waited the bird. This time it took about 30 minutes to see it. Amazing looking bird. It was already little dusky and my camera was in trouble. I set all in with ISO numbers and hoped for the best.
Results were something between bad and very bad.

Possibly the worst set of pictures of Eastern Black Redstart.

Eastern Black Redstart.

Eastern Black Redstart.

Very interesting bird and clearly it belongs to Phoenicuroides-group, if it is not an hybrid between Black Redstart and Common Redstart.

Anyway I had great time and maybe this was a new start for me. Still hoping that I have energy to write here. Actually writing here feels good again.
One thing I have to mention. It was so great to see Olavi Kemppainen again. So warm and kind personality, thanks for the company! And others, it was good to see you.