20. toukokuuta 2019

Pied Avocet with friends 17.5.2019

On 17th I took Vilma and together we went to Kurkimäki (area near by) to visit a little children´s festival called Kurkijamit. There was a famous duo from our everyday children´s TV-show called Pikkukakkonen. We met my friend Tyron there and he had his daughter Ella with him. Together we watched the show and girls played together. During the time in the park I had info that a local Pied Avocet was hanging on Kallvik beach, only few kilometers from the park we were. Cause we both wanted to see the bird, it was easy to lure the girls there and tick the bird at the same time.
We arrived to the Kallvik and there was already loads of twitched around. Avocet is pretty common rarity in Finland, but somehow it is really rare in Helsinki. I checked the Tiira-system later and there is only even records in 2000´s from here. Bird was feeding actively when we arrived and after little nap it continued eating and moved along the shore in a small area. Here is few pictures of this beautiful wader. I was also lucky cause Tyron had stroller for Ella and we borrowed those to get the stroller tick for me. Vilma was kind enough to sit there for that little moment.

Underwater food market. 

Bird walked on the beach too. Bad picture but beautiful bird and it had some rings too! 

Pied Avocet. 

What a stunner. 

Kallvik beach. 

Kallvik peninsula, where the beach lays is a great place for birds. Last winter I got the King Eider from there and there is good sightings reasonably often.
This bird was actually first seen couple of days ago in Kouvola, about 130km Northeast from Helsinki and later same day bird continued and was relocated from Espoo. Color rings on its legs maybe reveal something later and I heard that there is few ringing projects with this species in Europe.

-Tom 

16. toukokuuta 2019

Green-winged Teal 15.5.2019

I have been working my ass off lately so no much birding in past week or so. On 11th I twitched a female European Stonechat from Viikki. Bird was showing nicely for a moment and then I ride to work with my bicycle.
Yesterday, on 14th I had nice light morph Arctic Skua from work and same time I added Blue Throat and Common Whitethroat to my year list. Nice stuff and clearly some kind of migration going.
Today on 15th I was at home ready for some shopping I promised to Sanni when I noticed an alarm of Green-winged Teal in Vanhankaupunginlahti. I told to Sanni that Green-winged Teal is a rare bird and there is only a handful of records from Helsinki.
In an hour we were walking that famous wooden path towards Lammassaari where the bird was seen. Lots of birds during the walk and got Common Rosefinch to my list with Eurasian Reed Warbler before we arrived to the tower.

Common Rosefinch through my telescope. 

There was only one duck lying near the tower and that was the Green-winged Teal. Crazy how easy it is some times. Bird was sleeping, but showed clearly that vertical stripe and no markings of horizontal stripe, which often can be seen in hybrid birds. Head markings were really good for Green-winged and overall bird looked nice and pure yank.
I only got pictures of sleeping bird, but it is better than nothing, right!

Green-winged Teal.

Green-winged Teal.



I must thank Sanni and Julius for company and patience. This was only my second record of this species in Finland and fifth or sixth for Helsinki, so still good rarity here.

-Tom

9. toukokuuta 2019

Citrine Wagtail with Julius. 8.5.2019

It was time for some Lammasaari birding again and together with Julius we headed there just around midday. I parked and we walked first into a grove which was full of songbirds. Wood Warblers were noisy and at least three males singing around the area. Robins, Song Thrushes, Redwings and Willow Warblers with Chaffinches made the most of the noise. Julius was sleeping so I had time to enjoy this concert. We continued towards Pornaistenniemi tower and near that I had pair of Wigeon and pair of Gadwall, smart looking birds both.

Wood Warbler.

It was super windy and I had no hope for any singing reed warbler during our walk towards the wooden path to the Lammasaari and I was right, really nothing but Reed Buntings and White Wagtails. From one lookout I had small flock of Little Gulls hunting insects with some terns. Finally arrived to Lammassaari tower and noticed that less birds than yesterday. Ruffs were gone, only few Ringed Plovers, big flock of Barnacle Geese and loads of gulls, terns and Grey Herons. Soon noticed a pair of Whinchats and lone Yellow Wagtail feeding in the meadow, but nothing really interesting. Some people stopped in the tower and we had nice chats about birds ans stuff. At some point two European Roe Deers ran from the Lemmenlehto woods. I was trying some raptor watch, but six Cranes was the best I got. Other birds worth to mention were four Rooks, few Caspian Terns and two Little Gulls.

Roe Deers, male and female.

Whinchat hiding. 

Distant Little Gulls.

Finally after 2,5 hours Julius woke up and we left toward my car. We were walking on the path when I noticed a guy watching something really carefully. I asked if he had something interesting and he really had! Male Citrine Wagtail was standing in the reeds and with patience I found it and saw it nicely. Male birds are always cool to see cause the bright yellow color. This was definitely my birds of the day. We continued and during the walk we got Common Moorhen to my year list and showy Wood Warbler from the same grove where we started our trip.

Common Moorhen.

Citrine Wagtail.

One of my favorite birds. 


Great three hours and after all biding we picked Vilma from daycare and went to get something for Sanni, cause Mother´s day is just around the corner.

-Tom 

7. toukokuuta 2019

Birding with Julius. 7.5.2019

Finally got time for some birding after being sick and joining my friends stag party at my summerhouse.
From Hartola I collected some nice species to my year list and at least Great Bittern, Black Kite and a Hobby are worth to mention.

Black-throated Diver.


Today I went to Lammassaari and Vanhankaupunginlahti area with Julius and got big pile of new species for this year. Blackcap was singing near the parking lot, Sedge Warblers had arrived to the reedbeds and from the reeds I also heard some Reedling calls, which are always pleasure to record. Yellow Wagtail, Lesser Whitethroat, Whinchat and all three Swallow species before I got the to Lammassaari (Sand Martin, House Martin and Barn Swallow).

Leer Whitethroat. 

Common Starling.


From the lower tower which is reachable with stroller I got Ruffs, Caspian Terns, migrating Honey Buzzard, Common and Arctic Terns, some Ringed Plovers, Redshanks, Stock Doves etc. Great time until a big group of noisy kids came to the tower and Julius woke up, obviously... I walked back, but I guess all was seen for the day. Even the Great Reedwarbler, which has been there already a week or so was quiet. Willow Warblers were singing, maybe one or two Chiffchaffs, Tits, Great-spotted Woodpecker and loads of Reed Buntings. Even though our time was relatively short, I had great time with big numbers of birds.

Flock of Barnacle Geese. 

Julius in the house.

Distant Caspian Terns. 


More tomorrow.

-Tom

Red-breasted Geese in Viikki 2.5.2019

On second of May just before my night shift I twitched four Red-breasted Geese in a big flock of Barnacle Geese. Red-breasted is a good rarity in Finland and mostly seen in flocks of migrating Barnacles. This was my third of fourth record of this species in Finland and always a pleasure to see these.
Here is few poor pictures of the birds from the distance.

Not too easy to find from the flock.

Three of four Red-breasted Geese. 




It was raining all the time and wind was quite harsh, so picture are like this..


-Tom 

1. toukokuuta 2019

Walking with Julius. 29.4.2019

On 29th I had time to go and walk with my boy again, so we took stroller and we headed to check if the Ring Ouzel would show up again on same site only few hundreds meters from our house.
I was twitching the thrush evening before and saw it only briefly, so wanted to get more this time.
There was also few other guys searching the bird, and like many times, I found the bird only minutes after we arrived. It was a male bird with nice pure white half moon shaped crescent. I took many pictures, but mostly what I got was bird in tall grass feeding and only part of the bird showing in the photo.

Ring Ouzel male.

Smart looking bird. 

This was the mot common set-up, bird in tall grass. 

I didn´t want to go near the bird, cause I knew that after I sent an alarm message, there is always people who are interested to twitch and it would be shame if you scare the bird away.
We continued and near the little woods in the middle of the field we found my first Pied Flycatcher for the year. Male bird was looking a birdhouse and even gave us a short song. Also cracking Starling feeding in the grass near by.

Pied Fly male. 

Common Starling.

Common Starling. 

Son after this Julius was sleeping and I continued towards Viikki fields and Vanhankaupunginlahti. During my walk I had big numbers of Linnets everywhere, all common species of Thrushes besides Mistle Thrush, Grey-headed Woodpecker calling, many Great-spotted Woodpeckers and lone Common Buzzard.
I checked the bay, but nothing really interesting. Good numbers of waders, but cause I only had binoculars, it was hard to reach and see what species there actually was. Still I found Greenshank, Wood Sandpiper, Greater Curlew, both species of Ringed Plovers, Green Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper.
From Hakala I had Goshawk, Showeler and other common stuff. I almost left, but the alarm of forthcoming Black Kite made me stay, but it turned a bit and went little bit too north for us. Shame, cause it was updated nice after first found from Espoo, then seen from Kumpula, but not from Hakala.
Soon Julius also woke and we had to carry on. I took some photos of nice looking second year Common Gull near our house and we ended our walk after two and a half hours.

Common Gull. 

Great day with 6 new year ticks. Next week I have many days off, so maybe then I have next change to go out and find new birds.

-Tom 

26. huhtikuuta 2019

Eastern in Hartola. 19.4-22.4.2019

From 19th to 22nd we had nice long weekend in Hartola with my family. We had lots of good food and sauna, with some butterflies and birds.
Most of the days we just enjoyed the sun, had few beverages and relaxed, but on 21st I took Vilma with me and first we tried to twitch a local King Fisher, but without any luck. Place was full of birds and I got some Black-throated Divers, Great-crested and Red-necked Grebes, calling Chiffchaff and Few Green Sandpipers.

Red-necked Grebes

Woods from our terrace.

Distant Greater Curlew with too much heat shimmer. 

Later that day we also twitched Rustic Bunting, and this time we had even little luck with us, cause I heard the bird well. I spent almost an hour there and bird stayed in the woods calling many times. Soon Vilma started to be little bored and cranky, so we left back to the summerhouse. This was my second Rustic for the year and cause it is rapidly decreasing I will try to see these as much as possible.

It was so warm that even roe deer was in the shade. 

Male Bullfinch.

And female Bullfinch. 

Last night in Hartola was clearly the best for moths and next morning I found lots of those around our cottage walls. Here is few species from the wall.

Brachionycha nubeculosa.

Left, Achlya flavicornis. Right, Lycia Hirtaria and top Cerastis Leucographa.

Very good weekend with some new birds for the year and great start for the butterfly season. Thanks for the company Sanni, kids and my mother. I bet I will spend time in Hartola this summer, cause I will have paternal leave for 6 weeks later in August.

On our way back we stopped to visit Sanni´s mother in Vääksy and there I had migrating looking Red-throated Diver during the drive and most awesome food, again.


-Tom 

23. huhtikuuta 2019

Boat ride 17.4.2019

On 17th I met my friend Timo at the Herttoniemi and together we went to pick up his new boat. We had plans to ride around the close by island around Helsinki and we had awesome three hours with some learning to ride with the new boat and taking pictures from wobbly boat. My pictures are bad most of the time, but this time those are really bad and I felt hard to find anything to publish.
We had nice set of species including Shelduck, Rock Pipit, tens of Black Guillemots, hundreds of Eiders, small flock of four Brent Geese and stuff. Sun was shining and we had great time.

Black Guillemot.

Common Eiders.

Common Eiders.

Harmaja lighthouse.

We visited near Katajaluoto, Harmaja and Kuivasaari and then we slowly ride towards Herttoniemi through Tammisalo channel and near Santahamina. Small flock of Tufted Ducks near Santahamina with Red-breasted Mergansers etc.

Great day and thanks to Timo for taking me with him. Lots of new species for the year list.

-Tom 

16. huhtikuuta 2019

More spring birds and some stroller ticks. 16.4.2019

Working and applying to new work recently.. My birding has been standing outside with the kids and having something during the playground stuff.

On 12th I twitched a pair of Tundra Swans from Pikku-Huopalahti, Helsinki. It was easy twitch even without any optics. Also Great-crested Grebes and loads of other common stuff around. Tundra Swan was a new stroller tick and it was good to have it, cause they area already gone and next change is maybe spring 2020..
On 13th we were having great time at the local playground when I noticed a "tick" sound coming from a small bird which was flying very low. I always carry my binoculars and I was pretty surprised that I was looking male Rustic Bunting coming close to us. Bird continued over the playground and I never saw it landing. Rustic Bunting is declining rapidly and seeing these here was really incredible! This was my second record of this species in this decade. Last time was in Espoo 2013.

Today I had pleasant walk with Julius, who was sleeping all the time again! We started from Latokartano and then checked the Viikki fields and we ended up in Vanhankaupunginlahti where we had nice time with lots of common birds and even few less common too.
Bird of the day was definitely Black-tailed Godwit. Gorgeous bird in breeding plumage was a real candy for my eyes. Shame it was in distance of 250m or so.

Reed Bunting male.

European Hare.

Fieldfare.

Great-crested Grebe. 

Male Smew.

White Wagtail. 

Anyway during my stay there I had flock of seven Curlews, two Smews, loads of Grey Herons, Marsh Harrier, Stock Doves, Teals, Greylag Geese etc. Also some butterflies around including "Archiearis parhenias", "Gonepteryx rhamni", "Callophrys rubi" and "Nymphalis antiopa"

Reed Bunting was my year tick number 100 and now I have 103 after this trip.

Grey Herons.

Archiearis parhenias.

Black-tailed Godwit from distance. 


Tomorrow I will go for an boat ride with my friend, so more birding tomorrow.

-Tom