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.


keskiviikko 25. kesäkuuta 2014

Common Nightingale twitch with Jari and Markus 23.6.2014

Day before yesterday me Jari and Markus decided to twitch Common Nightingale candidate from Orivesi.
Orivesi is about 2 hours drive from Helsinki so not too far this time.
I got my mothers car before eight a clock and Markus came also there. Soon we picked up Jari and started our drive to Orivesi.
We arrived there about at ten a clock and bird was quiet that time. Few twitchers told that bird had sung few verses little bit earlier.

Place was near railway so lots of extra noise around.

It didn´t took long after bird started to sing very actively and in my ears, it sounded very good for Common Nightingale. Soon we had idea that because earlier catching attempt was unsuccessful, we try to catch the bird. We had only one 9m net with us so we tried to put it in one good place and play some tape.

Jari with the beautiful sky.

Me and Markus holding the net.

After 1,5 hours and several different tries we had to quit. Bird had very same route every time but i guess it was just laughing for us from the bush. Anyway, we had great time.
Later we tried to twitch Savi´s Warbler from Valkeakoski but not any sound from the reeds.. Only Sedge and Reed Warblers around, with some Woodcocks and Little Gulls.

Jari trying to hear Savi´s Warbler.

We arrived back to Helsinki very late or should i say early, clock was about four in the morning.
I returned the car near my mothers house and had to cycle back home.

Great night indeed. Nightingale was captured night before and it really is Common Nightingale. My Finnish tick number 301 and only 34th record for Finland. Jari and Markus already got this one but it´s always good to hear and see these kind of challenging birds i guess. Here is short video where you can hear little bit of birds singing.



perjantai 20. kesäkuuta 2014

Little Bittern twitch in SE-Estonia 18-19.6.2014

Raul Vilk found fifteenth Little Bittern for Estonia few days ago near Tartu, and it meant that we had to go there and found it again!
Good new only day before our trip when Uku, Mari and others heard the bird again around midnight.
Risto picked me up and after we took Jände from city-center we drove to earliest Tallink ferry to Tallinn.
Tartu is about 180km from Tallinn so we had some driving ahead. During our drive we decided to go there already at day time.
Not much birds along the drive, but i can mention some Marsh Harriers, lots of White Storks, Common Buzzard and other usual stuff.
We arrived to the Võnjärvi at 2pm after long and frustrating walk trough the woods, and very soon after that the bird called first time! Amazing! Few minutes later i heard the call again, but maybe little bit further this time.
Most of the time Great-reed Warbler was annoyingly loud! We spend two hours there and after those first calls, we did not hear it again. Few Savi´s Warblers, one Honey Buzzard, White-tailed Eagle near the lake during our wait.

Easiest part of our "road" to the lake.

Risto surpassing one of many obstacles.

Võnjärv, best place to hear Little Bittern in Estonia.

Big Water Spider.

After we passed the woods again we went to have some dinner and then we took room from Rehe Hotel near Tartu
Later evening we were watching football from TV we talked about the Bittern and we wanted to hear it little better and maybe get some recording this time. Risto stayed at the hotel but me and Jände went back and this time, middle of the night.
This time we found super easy road and it was almost pleasure to walk there! After spending almost two hours there, we heard nothing.. But at least we tried!

Next morning after short sleep and breakfast we tried to twitch Booted Warbler but too much traffic near the road so we did not hear a thing.. Maybe next time.
Later we had another breakfast and we make some plans to drive to Pärnu and especially Audru. Few stops during the drive and best place was Helme where we had Middle-spotted Woodpecker, four European Nuthatches, Red-backed Shrike, and some other common stuff.
Distant Red-backed Shrike.

European Nuthatch.

Before Audru we checked also Pikla, but nothing there.. In Audru we had one Great-white Egret and some Great-reed Warblers.

Barn Swallow in Pikla.

Later we had to drove back to Tallin because our ferry left at 4.30pm and later we arrived to Helsinki.
Great two days with great guys. Little Bittern was my Estonian tick number 281 so there is little change to get that 300 before i turn 30!
Next trip to Estonia maybe early July. Thanks guys for the company!


lauantai 7. kesäkuuta 2014

Rhodes summary 7.6.2014

So this is my last night here in island of the sun. If i´m honest, there is not much for birders.
I was amazed when i was driving some small roads few days a go and there was only few Jays and that´s it. Normally when driving somewhere there is at least some species so common that you just face them everywhere. Not here. Except Sparrows.
I mostly came here because my mother and sister were here already and now almost week after i´m very pleased that i came here. Two lifers in place like this is more than you can expect and excluding the tourism, this is very beautiful island with varied nature. I must also understand that now birds are breeding already and they are hiding very effectively. Only good way to watch birds in the island is rental car and full day trips around the island.

Here is my species list.

Cory´s Shearwater
Yelkouan Sheawater
Long-legged Buzzard
Common Buzzard
Red-footed Falcon
Eleonora´s Falcon
Peregrine Falcon
Yellow-legged Gull
Audouin´s Gull
Feral Pigeon
Collared Dove
European Turtle Dove
Common Swift
Pallid Swift
Alpine Swift
European Bee-Eater
Crested Lark
European Sand Martin
Craig Martin
Barn Swallow
Red-rumped Swallow
House Martin
Tawny Pipit
White Wagtail
Citrine Wagtail
Common Nightingale
Black Bird
Blue Rock Thrush
Sardinian Warbler
Eastern Olivaceous Wabler
Great Tit
Woodchat Shrike
European Jay
Hooted Crow
Domestic Sparrow
Ortolan Bunting

So 41 species in short time. There is also one putative Kittiwake but i can´t count it because did not saw it good enough.
Here is some photos from the island what i took today.

Citrine Wagtail taken with my 50mm lens. 

Rhodes old town.

Rhodes harbor. About flock of 100 Swifts around today. 80 Common and 20 Pallid.

Turkey is quite near. 

I have only 2,5 weeks summer vacation this year so coming here was good idea. Tomorrow back home and then maybe some birding activities in Finland, or in Estonia. I missed some good rarities during my holiday so let´s see if there´s anything left when i´m coming back.


torstai 5. kesäkuuta 2014

Quality sea-watch and others around the island. 5.6.2014

So, like i told yesterday i was normal tourist around the Rhodes City. I wake up late and had nice time with my sister and mother.
Today i took car from the city and drove around the Western part of the island. I checked the Eleonoras´s Falcon place in ancient Kamiros and the i had super sea watch about one km south of Kamiros.
Before i stopped i was thinking that maybe some sea-birds could came near shore because strong northern wind. This time i was right. It took about one minute to found first Cory´s Shearwater. I guess here the birds are Calonectris Diomedia Diomedia race so, maybe some day i will have two species of these birds in my list. Maybe few minutes later i noticed much smaller bird flying with the big Cory´s, and when it came in better position, i identified it as Yelkouan Shearwater! Ok, i must say that id of these birds is based on the location. But i guess it would be miracle to see about ten Manx or Balearic Sheawaters here. I stand there about an hour and i saw ten Yellkouans and about 25 Cory´s Shearwaters! What a way to start my day, again.
My sea-watch place.

Cory´s Shearwater.

Two Cory´s Shearwaters.

Yelkouan and Cory´s in same picture!

Few kilometers south from my sea-watch place. 

I continued driving to south but not much birds there. One putative Long-legged Buzzard but it disappeared very soon after if found it. Some Kestrels, Sardinian Warblers and my first Eastern-olivaceous Warbler there. Soon i decided to drive back and i turned from Kalavarda to Salakos and then i came near some misty mountain. It was so cool that i went to check if there is some road to explore, and there was.

Top of the mountain was inside of the cloud. 

This was maybe on of the highest places there. Driving inside of the cloud is not normal. 

Almost zero birds there but place was really cool and it was really worth of driving there.
When i came back i stopped few times but only Blue Rock Thrush was best sighting. This is weird island... So few birds around. This lizard was somewhere.

Lizard Species. 

I was quite tired after six hours of driving, so i returned my rental car and went back to my hotel have some nap. Later i met my family again and we had nice dinner and some cocktails. Very enjoyable life.
Yelkouan Shearwater was lifer for me and after that there is no more lifers in the island waiting for me. I guess i´m going to save some money and turn to real tourist. No more car rents or long drives. I´m going to lay in the beach and came back home with my boiled brown skin and with two lifers. Next post when im back home, unless there is something really interesting coming.