4. lokakuuta 2019

European Roller 4.10.2019

Recently my birding has been slow, because I have been bit sick and it has been raining most of the days. Only short times outside before today and I have visited Kivikko field and Kaisaniemi Arboretum shortly after or before my work.

One of two Goshawks in Kivikko.

Dunnock in Kivikko. 

Siskins in Kaisaniemi.

Today I was working when I noticed an alarm message of European Roller in Espoo!! I was hoping and hoping that the bird will stay and checked my watch all the time. Finally I was released before 2pm and I went to pick my family and my binoculars from home.
We arrived to Tali, which is nearest area of the bird in Helsinki side. After little walking we found to the area where the bird was supposed to be. Some twitchers around and I met Ville Vepsäläinen when we arrived. Together we found the right place but the bird was lost, and we just had to look around.

The founder of the bird Hannu Palojärvi and loads of others were looking the bird. I was so happy that Hannu was the man who found the it. There is a real kind person who has helped me in the past few times.
At some point I was talking with Matias Castren when we noticed a group moving fast towards something. They were in higher grounds so we had to walk a bit the finally, there was the bird I was looking for. I checked it properly and then I went to pick my kids to get that stroller tick! It was easy. Bird was sitting on a branch and gave us little distant but good looks. I think it was 1cy bird because all the brown color and not so shiny blue like adult birds. Though I am not an expert of any kind of bid ID stuff. Here is few pictures of the bird and the place where it was.

European Roller. 

What a great looking bird. 

This photo was taken from Helsinki side of the area. 


Stroller tick in the bag. Julius started to be little tired at this point. 

What a twitch. Thanks to my family for the company and support. Dream come true bird. If I´m right, this was first bird after last Roller seen in Helsinki back in 1966, but not sure. Not too many records anyway.


25. syyskuuta 2019

Mandarin Duck 23.9. and 25.9.2019

Recent days there has been few Mandarin Ducks around our capital area. I had crazy week at three different jobs, but finally managed to visit one bird with Vilma on 23rd.
We arrived to Tapaninkylä quite early morning and grass was still under white frost. Our target was active and it was feeding in a small pond with local Mallards. Mandarin Duck might be little smaller than Mallard, but damn it made very clear if someone was too close to its personal space.
I let Vilma take some photos with my phone and that gave me a few moments to take some nice morning light photos. One Red-throated Pipit migrated over the park during the time we were there. Nice morning and great bird. Now the fall is here, bring out the real rarities!

I also tried to twitch Yellow-browed Warbler from Paloheinä, but missed it for about 10 minutes. Good that I had one in Kaivopuisto earlier last week!

Mandarin Duck.

Open wings.

Mandarin Duck.

Something different. 

What is that!?!

My favorite pic with nice light. 
Vilma took some photos with my cell. 

Today on 25th I went to look the bird again, this time with my friend Tyron. He had nice lifer of showy duck and we were happy. I got some new pics and this time the bird even came to the dry land.

Rainy day light. 

Walking Mandarin. 

Great looking bird. 

More birding coming soon I hope. Best times coming and I need to go out more often!


13. syyskuuta 2019

Early autumn summerhouse trip. 7.9-8.9.2019

Last weekend we had pleasant two full days at our Loviisa summerhouse. This time we got windy and even a bit rainy weather, so not much birding activity, but I had few nice sightings.
On our way I stopped at Gammalby area where I had nice flock of 17 Honey Buzzards. Bigger flock was about 14 birds and the area hosted also six Kestrels, two Common Buzzards and lone Marsh Harrier. Clearly there was active raptor migration going that moment. I was hoping to see Red-footed Falcon from that place, but no luck this time.

Phone scope picture of Common Buzzard and Kestrel. 

At the summerhouse I didn´t have much time to look around cause our kids are quite active and especially Julius is running everywhere and need constant watch. He also ran into the sea... Thank god we have sandy beach which is perfect with kids! Wet clothes were only damage.
Beautiful sunset impressed Vilma so much that she made little dance.


At the evening I watched moths coming to our terrace and I got pretty impressive collection of new ones for me. nice bird record was also singing Tawny Owl quite far, but still it was easy to hear from the patio.

Staurophora Celsia

Staurophora Celsia.

Hypomeis Roboraria.

Chloroclysta Siterata.

Colotois Pennaria.

Xestia C-nigrum

Ennomos Alniarius.

Thera Firmata.

On 8th we just hanged around the area and I had few nice birds including migrating Two-barred Crossbill and Red-breasted Flycatcher. I took only few pics of Vagrant Darter dragonfly and played with my kids. After dinner we left back home.

Vagrant Darter, Sympetrum Vulgatum. 

Thanks to my Father and Sari for hosting us. Always a pleasure to visit!
After the weekend I started my work again and now there is almost too much work to do and I have promised to do some shifts in three different places. Wish me luck.


6. syyskuuta 2019

Short walk close by and little bit raptor watch. 3.9-5.9.2019

On 3rd of September I had only little time to take Julius out and check the fields near by. Nothing really interesting until we had gorgeous 1cy Hen Harrier. Later I realized that it was new stroller tick for me! Bird was migrating quite high, so no reason to take any photos of the little dot in the sky. With binoculars it was relatively easy to id.

Tree Sparrow.

Scenery near my house. 

Juvenile White Wagtail.

On 4th I picked Vilma from daycare and when we walked back to our house I noticed a huge flock of Jackdaws and Crows in flight. First year (1cy) Peregrine Falcon was flying above us! So that was the reason for all the birds in the air! Nice record and year tick.

Jackdaws. I tried to catch that Peregrine, but no success. 

Yesterday on 5th I had two hours and I decided to spend it at the Vuosaari Hill. I arrived after nine a clock and Mikko Salonen was only observer when I came.
Together we did what we could, but only three adult Honey Buzzards, one Common Buzzard, male Marsh Harrier, few Hobbies and local Ospreys were all we had. One distant Harrier which never came to id distance.
Anyway even with out the birds I enjoyed to stay there. Next time maybe something more, but generally watching birds from one spot is the way I like it.

Vuosaari Hill. 

Migrating Honey Buzzards. 

Weekend in summerhouse, so maybe pot from there next.


29. elokuuta 2019

Raptor watch at the Vuosaari hill. 29.8.2019

Like it was planned I went to check Vuosaari Hill if some raptors would have any movement today. I picked up Tyron from his home and we arrived to the hill at 12.30.
Few people just left and when we reached the watching point there was only Matti Koljonen with us. No worries and we started to scan the sky.
Pretty quickly we noticed that this is not the day when we count the record migration. Only some local Hobbies and local Osprey flying around. Maybe one or two migrating Sparrow Hawks, but that was all.
One of few Sparrow Hawks we saw from the hill. 

It was about ten past one when Matti noticed a harrier flying towards us from East. Bird was definitely either Montagu´s or Pallid Harrier. Slender wings and overall shape, style of flying and all pointed towards smaller harriers. I got only some record shots, cause some reason my camera does not like to focus on flying birds... My first thought was that bird is Pallid Harrier, but my experience limits mostly on juveniles and males, and this was female of some age. These can be tricky so I just took photos and when it passed our point I sent an alarm message to our system.
We checked the photos and I was pretty sure that the bird was still Pallid.

Adult female Pallid Harrier.

Adult female Pallid Harrier. 

These Harriers are always nice to see and especially finding your own bird made this so great. Later I add some photos to Vuosaari Hill Facebook group and thanks to Kimmo Heiskanen he agreed with me about the ID.

So we continued our watch and because there is a huge influx of Red-footed Falcons in Finland and other countries near by, it was on my waiting list.
Sky was still empty. Few White-tailed Eagles, Honey Buzzard and Common Buzzard, that was all until the time was four to two when I noticed a small, very pale falcon kind of thing flying towards us from West. It dropped very low, so I had to watch it with forest backgrounds. When it came little closer I was sure that I am watching juvenile Red-footed Falcon. I have seen few of these but this bird really looked like it self, if you can say it that way. I told the Matti and Tyron where the bird was and it was actually little complicated to talk with two language and try to tell what it was doing and where it was going. All went well and we all saw the bird nicely.

Bird in view. 

Juvenile Red-footed Falcon.

Juvenile Red-footed Falcon. 

In few minutes the bird disappeared and we left, cause I had to go and pick Vilma from daycare.
I dropped Tyron and we both were happy. Red-footed Falcon was lifer for him and I was just very pleased that I saw it.
I hope this influx will bring more and more birds to Finland and maybe one or two could stay nicely on one place, so I could get some decent picture of it. Well, who know.
This weekend Sanni goes to Krakóv so I have the kids by my self.  That means no birding if something really rare does not pop up.


28. elokuuta 2019

Viikki with Julius. 26.8.2019

On 26th I took Julius and we went to see if there is some good birds around Viikki area. I checked the Tiira database and noticed Red Knot record from that same morning. That was our target bird.
We slowly walked from my house to Viikki fields and there was big flocks of Yellow Wagtails, Barnacle Geese, Ringing Plovers and other field birds. I had also one juvenile Red-backed Shrike and two Whinchats. Sparrow Hawks had clearly some movement and I counted six from the first place and later about 15 from the Purolahti tower.

This bird looked juvenile Mediterranean Gull for like nano second, but then I realized that it is just a Common Gull. 

Rather odd looking Yellow Wagtail. Some Feldegg genes maybe? 

Painted Lady. Vanessa Cardui. 

Flock of Barnacle Geese. 

Julius was finally sleeping just before I got the stroller to Purolahti and I had time to look around by my self. I checked the meadow and shore and found only some Wood Sandpiper first, but finally after 15 minutes I got the Knot! It was quite far away, but with telescope I easily saw the features of first winter bird. I always forgot how big they are! Also some Great Egrets fishing at the bay and I had three birds from there. Honey Buzzard, Common Buzzard, Kestrel and Merlin were all nice to see and Merlin was actually a year tick for me. Julius slept about an hour and we continued to Hakala but nothing interesting there. I walked around the forest area and we were back to fields in no time.

Red Knot, not really red, but great bird anyway. 

One of three Great Egrets. 

Julius and Cows. 

Julius just before we saw the Eagle. 


Gold Finch. 

I was already leaving when I got the alarm message of Lesser-spotted Eagle flying our direction. I thought it for few seconds and I walked back to one intersection, put my telescope on and we started to wait.
I took Julius from the stroller cause I knew that it will take some time to fly from Espoo to Viikki. We played around and one elderly woman stopped with her binos and asked if we have seen something interesting. I told her about the Eagle and she started to wait with us.
We were talking something and I noticed a another alarm of the bird and someone had the bird just above us at same time!!
I took Julius to stroller and started to scan the sky and finally after minute or two I found the eagle quite close but very high. I told others that where it is and watched the bird with telescope to make sure that it is a right bird. It was. Clearly pale individual and looked fine for Lesser-spotted. Then it made some movement, I lost it and never saw it again!
I tried to find it but nothing. Lone Buzzard, but nothing else.

I saw some other guys looking it too so I walked to ask them if they saw where it went. They told me that just came and update message that bird took some more heights and went towards East.
We talked about he bird and everybody were happy. I got a stroller tick and damn finally I was at the right spot.

Later evening people posted some pictures of the bird and shit, it looked little different. Too pale and all the features pointed towards "Fulvescens" type Greater-spotted Eagle! This light form of the eagle is not too common and not sure how many records there is from Helsinki area. Here is a link to Pertti Rasp´s photo of the bird.

Also Dick Forsman confirmed the ID of the bird and said that it is possibly 3cy bird.

After the final id of the bird I was thinking this more and I´m sure that when the bird was ID`d earlier by some one else my own thinking was poor and I trusted a bit too much for it. Also very short time I saw the bird did not help me with this at all. Great feeling to learn something and I bet I will be more critical or at least more careful with these after this bird.

But anyway, who cares. This was just my own thinking and nobody it really interested about that.

Great day and shame that I had already that Greater-spotted Eagle on my stroller list.
Tomorrow on 29th I will go to Vuosaari hill with Tyron, so let´s hope some rare raptors and other good stuff!