25. tammikuuta 2016

Tenerife 14.1.- 21.1.2016

Long waited vacation started few days earlier and finally 14th our family trip to Canary Islands started. The destination was Puerto De La Cruz, Teneriffe.
This was first trip to these beautiful macaronesian islands for both of us, so lots of new experiences ahead. Also travelling with 3,5 months old baby girl was new for us.
Flights went very well and after 6.5 hours we landed to Teneriffe. After getting our luggage etc. we had to took bus to Puerto de la Cruz and it took another 1,5 hours. At this point Vilma started to be super tired with a full diaper and we were happy to finally arrive to our hotel. From bus windows I had my first lifer for this trip, Berthelot´s Pipit!

Beautiful view from our hotel room balcony. 

Later we had nice walk in the park just behind our hotel. Park was full of birds like Atlantic Canary, Tenerife Blue Tit, Canary Island Chiffchaff, Ringed Parakeet, Collared Dove etc. I also found odd looking parrot which turned to be Scaly-headed Parrot. Luckily I took some pictures of it. Also some amazing looking Monarch Butterflies in the park.


Monarch Butterfly.

Blackbird race "cabrarea"

All my Canary Island Chiffchaff pictures looked like this... 

Scaly-headed Parrot.

Ringed Parakeet.


The next few days I rented a car and we visited some neighboring areas like Santa Cruz and Mount Teide, which is highest mountain in whole Spain! Sadly they don´t take babies to the lift which goes up to 3000m above sea level.
Not much birds in Teide area, but along the drive we stopped in Canary Island Pine forest which is only place with Gran Canaria where you can find Blue Chaffinch! Luckily it took only one stop to find these amazing birds. Place is about 1700m above sea level and stop had sign "Emilio Munoz" Sadly I didn´t find Great-spotted Woodpecker or Tenerife Goldcrest from here.

Blue Chaffinch habitat.


Blue Chaffinch male.

Same bird again.

Little bit later I found this female from same spot.


Also lots of Tenerife Blue Tits and Plain Swifts in the area and I counted a flock of 74 Swifts!

Plain Swifts!

One birds little bit closer.

Singing Tenerife Blue Tit.

Me and Vilma just before I found the Blu Chaffinches. 

Little bit lover, maybe several hundred meters above sea level was little village where I had huge flock of Atlantic Canaries.

This is only part of the flock and I think the whole flock was about 120 birds.


Next few days we drove around closer places and I finally had change to visit the place which holds Bolle´s and Laurel´s Pigeons.
Place is only 30 minute drive from Puerto De La Cruz and very easy to find. It took me about 2 minutes to find first Bolle´s Pigeon and moment later I had both important species. Shame the is not for photographers. Only way to take photos there is scoping through your telescope.

Bolle´s Pigeons!

Laurel Pigeon!
Atlantic Canary.


Place was great and I had some other goodies around there too. Two Berthelot´s Pipits, lots of Atlantic Canaries, some local Chiffchaffs, Common Buzzard, Sparrow Hawk and lots of Kestrels.
After Pigeon day, I had to return my car and act like a normal tourist. Travelling with you family means not so much full time birding :)
Rest of the days I spend in the park near by and doing few morning runs in the same place and I had many sea watch sessions from our hotel balcony. Sea watch produced Bulwer´s Petrel, Cory´s Shearwater, Pomarine Skua and lots of Yellow-legged Gulls.

Lots of these guys in the park.

Kestrel from our balcony.

Last species to my list was from bus when we were leaving. I was watching outside and noticed Barbary Partridge standing on a fence near the road! Lifer again and super ending for my trip.

I have to thank Eduardo Garcia Del Rey for hes advice for the Pigeon place. Trying to find good place without guidance is impossible. I also have to thank my wonderful wife Sanni for giving me the time and opportunity to see all the birds I wanted and taking care of our little baby girl.
Bird watching is not the easiest hobby to tolerate, because birder always wants to see more and more and every time it takes more time. I hope she will stand my passion forever.

Totally I saw 29 species this trip and lifers for me were of course all the endemic species. Not sure of my total western palearctic list but I´m guessing the number could be around 550 these days.

If you want more specific information of the places I visited, don´t hesitate to contact me via E-mail.

best.


Tom


2. tammikuuta 2016

Awesome start for the year. 1.1.2016

Happy new year folks! Year 2015 was little bit slow for birding, but in the other hand I can easily say that this was best year in my short life. I got married with amazing woman and we had the most beautiful baby girl. Not bad, right?

Year 2016 started with common birds like Great Tit, Blue Tit and Black Bird. Just before I got my car doors open, I heard familiar, but not so common bird calls. Little flock (5) of Pine Grosbeaks stopped quite near me in top of the tree. Just had time to check the flock with binoculars before all the birds took of and continued behind the nearest house.
Later I arrived to Fastholma and successfully twitched Azure Tit, White-backed Woodpecker and Pygmy Owl. Fastholma is great area with lost of bird feeders. Same time you can watch Great-spotted and White-backed Woodpeckers in one tree, and walk 50m to see Pygmy Owl in another. Also, because date was first of January, there was many familiar faces starting their year with these goodies.
Poor record shot of White-backed Woodpecker. I got two photos before I had to run and see Azure Tit.

Main target. Azure Tit.

Bird is easy to see when it comes to the feeders.



After Fastholma I went to check Töölönlahti where two very late Barnacle Geese and Eurasian Wigeon spend their time. Also there I met some other birders and after quick chat and all the birds I wanted to see, I left back home.
After all my day was very good. I saw 22 species, which is poor number, but I really didn't put much effort there. There is rest of the year for other species!

Hope you all had a good start for you year!



-Tom

14. joulukuuta 2015

December birding. 13.12.2015

It has been very good first half of December in Finland so far. Lots of rarities around and even I had some time to go and watch those birds.
Early December I twitched Azure Tit from Fastholma, Helsinki and Pallas´s Leaf Warbler from Tahtitorninmaki, Helsinki. Warbler was only 3rd winter record from Finland and Azure Tit was 30th for Finland. Good stuff!
Azure Tit was not so easy to twitch and I had to take two times before I saw the bird. And finally when I saw the bird, it was just few seconds before it flew back to reeds where it spends its time.
Pallas´s Leaf Warbler was totally different. First twitch was with bicycle and then I had to go again with my camera. Second time I got some decent photos.

Angry bird!

Pallas´s Leaf Warbler.


Azure Tit was lifer for me and after our upcoming trip to Tenerife I have finally seen every species of Tits in Western Palearctic.

At the moment there is also one very interesting Lesser Whitethroat in Tuusula which sounds and looks? like a Siberian Lesser Whitethroat.
Let´s see what else will show up before new year. I hope I can manage some time and go to look Azure Tit again with my camera and get some photos!


-Tom-


14. marraskuuta 2015

Slow birding and one twitch. 14.11.2015

Like the topic says, my birding activity has been very slow recently. In last two weeks I have been out with Vilma and my binoculars only once or twice. 5th of November I found Pygmy Owl very near our house, which was very nice. Bird was very tame and allowed me to take some photos with my mobile phone through my binoculars. Here is the results..

Smallest Owl in Europe. 

Sharp eyes.


Before today I have been most of my time at work without any interesting sightings, so I was full of energy when I got change to use my mothers car.
I knew that Hoopoe was found in Kirkkonummi, quite near Helsinki about week earlier. I was little late and when I was driving towards the place, I got info that bird flew away.
I arrived to Kirkkonummi at 10.35 and only 10 minutes earlier the bird was seen by many birders.
After all, I spend there about two hours and finally we found the bird from different place. What a relief!

Hoopoe! 

Bird was hard to see first when it walked in vegetation.


Only my second Hoopoe ever in Finland and first after 2008. Obviously I have seen lots of these in Israel and other southern countries, but here in Finland it is very good bird.
Great way to start weekend. Also it was very nice to see my old friend Petteri Hytönen after long time.
Hopefully more rare and interesting birds will show up later this year.

-Tom