sunnuntai 21. syyskuuta 2014

Birding in Vanhankaupunginlahti. 21.9.2014

Had few hours time for birds today so i went to Vanhankaupunginlahti. I arrived to Arabianranta little after nine a clock. Yes, very late.. It is so hard to get my self up these days.
Almost first bird i heard was Migrating Lapland Bunting! Always nice bird here in Helsinki. I walked to Lammassaari tower and spend rest of my short day there.
Lots of people around because of weekend, including noisy children with their noisy parents.. Who brings four child in bird tower and have picnic there? Well, it is public place and i just have to take it.
Fortunately there was also lots of birds to look at. I counted 250 Ruffs, 350 Lapwings, 21 Grey Herons, three Dunlins, 23 Common Snipes, four Golden Plovers and lots of Ducks. Later we found one Garganey in big flock of Eurasian Teals. Also very nice bird.

Grey Heron in flight. 

Lots of Ruffs and other common birds.

Garganey. 

More Ruffs.

It´s always nice to count local birds, but my main target was raptors. Love to find and id long distance birds, and of course close ones too!
Today i had two different juvenile Goshawks, around 10 different ages and sexes Sparrow Hawks, one juvenile Hen Harrier, one juvenile Marsh Harrier, juvenile Merlin
and highlight of the day, hunting juvenile Peregrine Falcon. Peregrine is so fast that i had troubles to watch it.

One noisy Black Woodpecker flied over the tower.

Peregrine hunting. No luck this time.

Later the same bird landed top of the electric pylon. Distance about 400m or more.

1cy marsh Harrier.

Little over three hours in the tower went quite quickly and i had to leave. We had little birthday party for Aapo, who turned respectable four years. With Sanni we bought him nice set of Mustang cars and he seemed to like those.

Almost forget to mention. I made little try for the Rose-colored Starling earlier this week but dipped it with style. 35 kilometers with bike felt like little pain when i cycled back home with out tick. But shit happens like people says! Next time i´m ready.

-Tom-

sunnuntai 14. syyskuuta 2014

Dotterel. 14.9.2014

It really seems that autumn is here. Mornings are little colder, day is shorter and better birds comes up every moment. Today was first really good day in Finland. Lots of Pallid Harriers, two Rosy-colored Starlings, Short-toed Eagle and some Yellow-browed Warblers.

I was working of course, but i just proved that you must keep your eyes open all the time.
I wandered around our compound when i decided to walk up some stairs.
When i came up i saw small wader and immediately knew that it was 1cy Dotterel! Bird jumped in to the air and i also heard typical flight call. I was totally amazed. Place was totally wrong for this species and i always thought that my first Dotterel in Finland would be in large soil field.
In same place i saw also three Blue Throats and lost of other common stuff. I really hoped i could carry my camera at work that moment, but that is not possible.
Here is link if somebody wants to know how handsome bird Dotterel is.
Dotterels
This sighting also shows how good location Kaivopuisto is. Earlier this week i had two Turtle Doves and last autumn i had Palla´s and Yellow-browed Warblers there.
Tomorrow i´m going to Espoo with Jände.  Rosy-colored Starling was again this morning and evening in Suomenoja. Wish me luck.

-Tom-

maanantai 8. syyskuuta 2014

Weekend in Pori SW Finland. 5-7.9.2014

Last week i had plans to go Estonia with my uncle but those plans were cancelled. I was thinking what to do and i called my good friend Petteri who lives in Pori SW Finland. I asked if i could come and in five minutes we decided to do some birding around Pori area. Later i got text from Markus Lampinen and he had same plans, so we had nice group there.
My buss arrived at 3 pm and Petteri was there waiting with he´s wife Matleena. We dropped my stuff and quite soon we got alarm message of three Dotterels flying near Yyteri.
Dotterel is one of those Finnish breeding birds what i have not seen in Finland, so we went to check if the birds would show up in Yyteri area. We walked to the new bird tower and started to check around.
Lots of shorebirds around including two very nice species like Red Knot and Sanderling. Both very good species for Helsinki dude. We also counted 22 Dunlins, 57 Little Stints, 4 Curlew Sandpipers, 139 Ruffs, Merlin and long stayer escape Lesser White-fronted Goose.

Most of the birds are way too far for photographing. 

Part of the 2500 Barnacles.

Later we picked Markus from buss station and we had nice peaceful evening.
Next morning we started from Toukari but most of the time there was thick fog.. Red-throated Pipit was best bird there.
Because fog stayed we decided to pick Jaakko Esama and then drive to the Hallavaara dump to have some Gull watch. Last week Petteri and Jaakko had Yellow-legged Gull there, so we had some expectations.
Sadly this time there was only few hundreds big gulls and almost all of those were "normal" Herring Gulls. Few Greater Black-backed Gulls also around.

Herring Gulls.

More Herring Gulls. Bottom one had almost nice looking tertials. 

Few raptors migrated, 500 Starlings and Black Woodpecker were seen.
Our next stop was in Nakkila and more specifically in Leistilänjärvi. Place is famous because some dude found Isabelline Shrike from there.
This time we had three Common Swifts, Hobby, Whinchat and Stock Dove.

Leistilänjärvi view. 

Later we dropped Jaakko back to hes car and we went to have short coffee break in Petteris house. I photographed one Rook from Petteris backyard.

Rook is common in Pori.

After coffee we went to Fleiviiki to check if the Great Snipe would show up for us.
We walked huge area with Markus and after few Common Snipes we flushed one Great snipe! Great Snipe and great feeling. Three Red-throated Pipits and Black Woodpecker also there. Here is photo of the Fleiviiki meadow so you can have little idea how big the place is.

Fleiviiki meadow. 
Common Hawker.

After we walked the area we had little raptor watch. Nice numbers of White-tailed Eagles, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harriers, Hobbys, Ospreys and majestic male Peregrine Falcon.
Last but this time the best place was Yyteri. Markus wanted to see Sanderling because it was missing from his year-list.
Huge numbers of birds and this time we counted about everything. Here is some numbers.

Common Ringed Plover 99        Whooper Swan 81               Herring Gull 175
Little Stint 49                             Great Crested Grebe 186     Golden Eye 2050
Dunlin 27                                   Red-necked Grebe 3            White-tailed Eagle 5
Temminck´s Stint 1                    Slavonian Grebe 12               Lesser White-fronted Goose 1
Red Knot 2                               Barnacle Goose 3495
Curlew Sandpiper 10                Canada Goose 17
Sanderling 2                              Greylag Goose 154              
Ruff 209                                    Eurasian Wigeon 270
Spotted Redshank 1                  Eurasian Teal 280
Common Greenshank 1             Pintail 8
Common Snipe 25                     Common Tern 1
Bar-tailed Godwit 1                   Caspian Tern 2

Escaped Lesser White-fronted Goose.

Markus in Yyteri.

Petteri in Yyteri.

In last light Petteri found funny looking hybrid goose from the Barnacle flock. My opinion is hybrid between Barnacle and Canada Goose

What do you think about this? 
Our evening ended with beautiful sunset.

Sunset in Yyteri.

Next morning there was so much fog so we just woke up late and just before our buss we twitched local Grey Partridges from Pinomäki.

Two Grey Partridges in Pinomäki.

What a weekend with great company. Thanks Petteri, Markus, Matleena and others for company! Next month we have our annual Säppi island trip, so very soon back to SW Finland.

-Tom-

sunnuntai 31. elokuuta 2014

Short raptor-watch in Espoo. 31.8.2014

I woke up little late, at 10am. There was lost of discussion about yesterdays Short-toed Eagle and i decided to go Maari bird tower in Espoo. Very soon after i leave home i realized that Eagle is going West, not East like first alarm message told.
Anyway, i wanted to see some birds and i drove to the tower.
When i arrived there was lots of people and i just barely fit in. Lots of Sparrow Hawks flied around and very soon first Common and Honey Buzzards showed up. Hobby hunted some insects near by and soon there was four of them.
Meadow was quite boring to watch, mostly because almost every birds were either Barnacle Goose or Northern Lapwing. After watching the meadow enough i found three Little Stints, one Dunlin, one Common Ringed Plover, 12 Ruffs and lost of different Ducks.

Ducks.

Barnacle flock.

Later we got best bird of the day and it was stunning male Peregrine Falcon. Sadly it was flying really high so no pics this time. Other goodies were two Red-throated Divers and three Red-throated Pipits.

Weather was nice. 

Nice four hours. Got two new year ticks (Divers and Peregrine). Thanks for the company Jani, Asko and others. Maybe next week we have new chance to see the Short-toed Eagle when it goes back East.

-Tom-

lauantai 30. elokuuta 2014

Some ringing in Espoo 30.8.2014

Yesterday Roni Väisänen called me and asked if i want to join him to do some ringing in Espoo.
I´m always interested so i promised to join.
Woke up at 5.20 and after quick morning rituals i was driving towards Laajalahti where i met Roni.
All nets were already open when i arrived so i just had to sit down and have some breakfast. We had Blyth´s Reed Warbler near the net but not in the net unfortunately.
Like many times before, first round was the best and we caught decent numbers of birds. Common Snipe and Red-backed Shrike were best.
Between rounds we had good time talking about birds and other stuff. Also quite many Red-throated Pipits migrating over the reeds and one Black Woodpecker showed to us.

Red-backed Shrike.

Common Snipe.

Roni with the Snipe.
Heikki Eriksson joined us little later and he had nice bird release photoshoot with Roni.
We had some raptor watch during the day and we had few Sparrow Hawks, two Marsh Harriers, some Hobbys and one Goshawk this time.
Roni and Heikki are having good time.

Here is full list of ringings.

Common Snipe
Dunnock 3
Sedge Warbler 18
Common Reed Warbler 2
Marsh Warbler
Lesser Whitethroat 4
Blackcap 3
Willow Warbler 10
Grat Tit 3
Blue Tit 6
Red-backed Shrike 2
Reed Bunting 3

Other birds

Black Woodpecker
Red-throated Pipit ~10
Blyth´s Reed Warbler


Second Red-backed Shrike. Very different looking bird.

Reed Bunting.

Sedge Warbler.

Fly little Shrike.

 After six hours we took all nets down and packed our stuff.
Thanks Roni and Heikki, great fun. I hope we can have another day very soon.

-Tom-


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.

Luidja.

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.

-Tom-

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!

-Tom-