20. syyskuuta 2020

Red-flanked Bluetail and Yellow-browed Warbler. 20.9.2020

 Today was suppose to be  just relaxing with my family and do something nice with the kids. I was drinking my morning coffee when I saw a message of Red-flanked Bluetail pretty near our house, maybe 15 minute drive away. At that point I had seen only one ever and that on was in Jyväskylä some years ago, so pressure was rising. Finally after 15 minutes of thinking I took Julius and together we went to try the bird. 

Took us about that fifteen to drive there and I noticed Mikko Salonen, Kimmo Heiskanen and somebody else already walking away from the spot. I called Kimmo and he kindly told me where to go.

First we went just without stroller to see the bird and then I was hoping that I can carry the stroller to the spot and see the bird with them too. I was lucky. Bird was hiding when we arrived, but I found it quite high up from a tree. I saw all the details and bird was calling many times! Great way to start your day! Then we went to pick up the stroller and when we came back we heard the bird still calling, so stroller tick in the pocket! 

Julius at the place.

Bird this rare in capital area attracts lots of people. About fifth record in Helsinki.

More and more people came and the bird disappeared after calling clearly further away. At this point I heard that there is Yellow-browed Warbler in Vuosaari, not too far away. We drove about 15 minutes and funny thing was that we arrived to the place which was exact same where the yesterdays Hoopoe was. This Warbler was found by the twitchers who came to see the Hoopoe! 
Situation was bad. Bird was gone and nobody knew where to look, people just walked around the area. I choose to walk small road where nobody was searching and I was a bit surprised when I found the bird near the kindergarten building. First it just moved in small trees, but finally when another birder arrived it started to call couple of times! We alarmed others and almost everybody at that point saw the bird. 
I even got this amazingly poor record shot. Light was straight from the behind of the bird, so was not easy to get any details showing in the picture.

Possibly the worst picture of Yellow-browed Warbler ever. 


I was happy and Julius wanted to continue, so we left and visited my friends new bike shop, which will open soon in Vesala area. Nice space for bike service and other things. Julius got blueberries from the store cause he was so patience and calm when I looked the birds! 

Later we roped Sanni to work and we had nice time in different parks around Helsinki. FInally we met my friend Jonne and his daughter and went to the playground near our house. During the stay I noticed some kind of Heron flying towards us and I was stunned when I realized that it really was Great-white Egret! What a ending for great day of rare birds. Great Egret is not rarity here, but not really the bird you expect to see in a place like this. 

Great-white Egret.


Can´t really complain about my day. Only thing little bothers me is that I didn´t get any photos of the Bluetail. Maybe arriving 10 minutes earlier and I could have set of poor record photos, who knows.. 

Till net time. 


-Tom 

19. syyskuuta 2020

Last week. 19.9.2020

 This week has been very much other things than birding. We made two short walks with kids and I tried to see birds during those events. Here is few pictures from those. 

Common Raven.

Tree Sparrows.

Nice view in Viikki fields.


On 15th I was preparing my self to a football game ´when I noticed an alarm message of Short-toed Eagle heading West from Vuosaari. My schedule was super tight, but I managed to stop at the Viikki refinery and against all odds, I saw the bird pretty well! I had only my binoculars and telescope, so no pictures, but some people had amazing set of photographs of this beautiful lifer! My bird species number #342 in Finland. We had 3-3 draw in our game after losing two players with injuries and we were down 1-3 at some point! 

On 16th I lured my family to the car and we tried to twitch the same Short-toed Eagle this time from Kulmakorpi, Espoo where it was most of the day. But with my luck it left about 40 minutes before we arrived. I only saw this 1cy Hen Harrier near the place. 

Distant 1cy Hen Harrier.


Today I had nice morning trip to Lammassaari and Vanhankaupunginlahti area. Sun was shining, pretty hard wind but very nice weather. I arrived to Pornaistenniemi tower and started to check the area. 

In the small lake fron of the tower I had lone Smew, two Whooper Swans, some Wigeons and calling Black Woodpecker. Soon I also found small flock of Bearded Reedlings flying above the reed bed. Soon I got info of juvenile Peregrine Falcon hunting at the bay and I found it easily because of the all Crows chasing the Peregrine. Light conditions were very bad for photographing, but I managed to get some silhouette photos of the bird. 

The bird in the middle is Peregrine Falcon.

Nice view from the tower.

Soon I continued to the Lammassaari, but I had few stops along the way. From the log path to the island I had nice flock of 16 Reedlings. Biggest flock I´ve ever had there. Also nice bird was juvenile Red-breasted Flycatcher which was calling the "trrrrrrt" call few times and I saw it shortly before it mowed to another bush.

Two male Reedlings.

Photographing these in flight is pretty challenging.

At the Lammassaari I had nice 40 minutes. 12 Dunlins, five Ruffs, migrating Sparrow Hawks and lone Common Buzzard. Nothing really exiting, but always nice to see those. 

Common Buzzard and Hooded Crow.

Later Sanni left to work and I took kids to Haltiala, where we visited earlier this summer too. Vilma had another short riding with small pony and Julius were excited about animals and tractors! 

Vilma.

Later we visited Vuosaari and twitched a local Hoopoe from there. Bird was showing nicely, much easier than the bird I had in Oulunkylä earlier this year. Here is few photos from there too. We also spend time at the playground there, so it was fun for all of us again. 

Eurasian Hoopoe.

Possibly my first photo of the "hair" of this species.

Soon it walked behind the fences and was not really photogenic anymore.

Last photo of the bird. It was spending time in the yard of kindergarten. 

Great day and nice week. Thank god I have busy job so week are running rapidly. Next month we are going to Estonia for the weekend with my uncle Jände, so that is one I´m waiting a lot. 


-Tom 

7. syyskuuta 2020

Walking around with my family. 7.9.2020

Last weekend Sanni had plans so not much time for birds. I had nearly hour and a half raptor watch in Viikki fields on Sunday 6th and later we went to have nice walk to Lammassaari with the kids and that was it.
Raptor watch was relatively poor. I had at least four different Hobby, six Sparrow Hawks, lone Kestrel, Goshawk and one migrating Red-throated Pipit. Sun was shining, but the wind was a bit harsh, otherwise all was perfect. Ok, more birds would be nice but can´t complain.

Very distant Kestrel. I was bored so I had time to take some pictures of it. 

Weather was great. 


Later we wen to Lammassaari, but nothing really special there. Loads of people, few birders and pretty good selection of shorebirds. in half an hour I counted four Dunlins, one Curlew Sandpiper, around ten Ruffs, two European Golden Plovers, some Common Snipes and lone Eurasian Curlew.
Lone adult White-tailed Eagle sat near the nest and gatherings of Anas-ducks are bigger and bigger every week. I was happy that we came there and it was nice to see some birds after a little break.

Great photo of us two. Julius is always happy.

Very distant White-tailed Eagle.


Mixed flock of Golden Plovers, Lapwings and others.

Four Dunlins and lone Curlew Sandpiper.

Same Group.


Today we walked around our fields near by, but nothing really interesting. Few Sparrow Hawks, lone juvenile Red-backed Shrike and peace of aviation history, a Douglas DC-3 air plane. This plane was build 1942 and it is only flyable of it´s kind. Old engines give it a typical sound when it passed our house two three times a day.

Douglas DC-3.

Red-backed Shrike juvenile.

Next weekend more birds, but who knows what kind of rarities will show up during the week.

-Tom 

1. syyskuuta 2020

Stroller Pochard. 31.8.2020

Yesterday I spend my day at home, cause our kids still had some flu and we could not take them to daycare. This covid-19 time is really pain in the ass, cause even with mild symptoms you have to keep your kids at home. I also understand this system, but still it is frustrating.
At some point I got alar message of Red-crested Pochard from Vanhankaupunginlahti. Instantly I was thinking that it must be the same bird which was found about month earlier from same place and it has just hided there very effectively. This bird, like the first one was also eclipse male. We arrived around two a clock afternoon and only few people were searching it.
We met Jari Laitasalo at the place and together we tried to find the bird. After 20 minutes or so we heard that somebody found the bird about 20 meters from our spot, but we didn´t see the bird. First Jari went to look at it and soon I went too. Bird was sleeping inside the reeds and it was pretty hard to see. between reeds and only limited view it was hard to realize that I only had to move two meters with the stroller to see the bird from behind the reeds. I even got a set of very poor record shots of the bird while it was sleeping. Finally just before we left it moved a bit and I was able to see the red bill and the whole bird. Place was very hard with stroller and I had to carry it quite long way to get back to the road... Here is the picture of the bird.

Photographer behind the reeds and bird inside the reed.. 

Red-crested Pochard. 



Thanks for the company Jari, it was a pleasure to see you. Pochard was my stroller tick number 252, so maybe some day I will hit the 260 mark with these kids. No plans to get more, so around that will be my final number, I guess.

-Tom

29. elokuuta 2020

Summerhouse weekend in Hartola 21.8-23.8.2020

Only a week late... But here it goes.

Week ago we spend our free time in our summerhouse. It was nice change to go outside of the city and have some good food with my family. Also my mother, brother and sister were there, so we had nice gathering.
I bought a new UV-lamp for butterflies and it worked nicely. I was able to attract quite many species of moths and geometer moths during the weekend.
August is still summer month in Finland and slowly migration is starting. In Hartola I had only few nice bird sightings, but Black Kite near the road when we arrived was one of those. Also calling Pygmy Owl is always nice. Hobby couple had at least two chicks and adults carried lots of food for them during the weekend. Otherwise birds I saw were just common species like Chiffchaffs, Great-spotted and Black Woodpeckers etc.
Here is full set of pictures from the trip. Not much to tell this time, but at least lots of pics.

Beautiful view from our patio. 

Maybe my best butterfly of the weekend. The Black Arches, Lymantria Monacha.

Saltern Ear Moth, Amphipoea Fucosa.

Ear Moth, Amphipoea Oculea.

Large Thorn, Ennomos Autumnaria has very good camouflage. 

Hedge Rustic, Tholera cespitis.

Hepialus Gamma.

Beautiful Arches, Mniotype Satura. 

Fox Moth caterpillar.

Passport picture for Large Thorn. 

Peacock Butterfly, Aglais Io.

Brown Hawker, Aeshna Grandis.

Distant Hobby. We have pair nesting near by our cottage and they had two or three juveniles this year.

Black Darter male, Sympetrum Danae.

Great time and possibly the last visit to Hartola this year. I really could spend my all free time in a place like this.
Thanks for the company all. This weekend I´m working, but next one we are going to Loviisa again.

-Tom 

21. elokuuta 2020

Greater-spotted Eagle. 17.8.2020

I was just arrived back home with my daughter Vilma when I got message of local Greater-spotted Eagle from Vanhankaupunginlahti. Normally these birds just migrate over the area, but for some reason this one stayed. I drove to Viikki refinery and I had idea that there is the closest spot where I can see the bird.
I arrived and finally an easy twitch. After few minutes the bird was flying above the bay and huge flock of Crows and other Corvids were chasing it. I was able to phonescope few distant pictures of the Eagle. I watched the bird about fifteen minutes and then it disappeared. When I left the bird came back to the same place, but I was already happy. I saw the bird pretty well with the telescope and my opinion was that it was maybe 2-3cy bird. Pure Greater-spotted Eagles are starting to be pretty rare, but this one looked good. I later saw some pictures and I think the bird was not hybrid of any kind, which is good of course.
Here is my poor record pictures of the bird.
Other species worth mentioning were two Goshawks, Hobby and at least one Marsh Harrier.

The bird was chased by Crows every time it was flying. 

Here you can imagine to see some contrast and features from the upper wing.

Poor and far.. Anyway what a bird! 

This photo shows nicely how far the bird was. Can you see the pylon from here?



Rest of the week has been just working and being home with sick kids. Great fun.

-Tom 

11. elokuuta 2020

Recent birding and summer house visit. 10.8.2020

First day of August I had time to twitch Hoopoe from Oulunkylä, Helsinki. Bird was found day before and many birders saw it. Place was little bit challenging and bird was feeding between houses. I had to wait about half an hour before I found the bird from the tree and soon it took off, almost landed near me, but continued quite far away and I did not saw it again. We also visited the place with my kids later that day, but that time we did not even see the bird there..

The spot where the Hoopoe was relocated.

Same day I also visited Vanhankaupunginlahti where I twitched Little Stint to my year list. Bird so small in distance is not really a pleasure, but good bird here anyway. No bird photos that day... I was really hoping to get some of the Hoopoe, but no luck.

On 3rd I had small flock of Common Starlings behind our house and I took few pictures of those.
Part of the flock.

Juvenile bird.


On 7th we started our weekend trip to Loviisa where we have the summer house. Real surprise was three juvenile Hazel Grouse very near the road about 1km before our place. I was able to get one poor photo of the bird which jumped into a tree. Great start!

Hazel Grouse.


During the weekend I had nice mix of birds around the area close by. Once I had big flock of passerines and in the flock I had Willow Tits, Great Tits, Wood Warbler, Red-breasted Flycatcher, lots of Willow Warblers, Goldcrests, Pied Flycatchers and one calling Crested Tit. Also two Great-spotted Woodpeckers in same place.
Juvenile Pied Flycather.

Male Great-spotted Woodpecker.

Willow Warbler.

And another. 

Common Sandpiper and White Wagtail.

We were able to made a quick boat ride and I took photos of this cool island full of Cormorant nests and when we came back an adult Goshawk was soaring over our beach.

Great Cormorant island. 

Julius was in charge and others just enjoyed the ride. 


Also loads of Dragonflies and butterflies flying around during the weekend. Brown Hawkers, Common Hawkers, Vagrant Darters, Downy Emeralds and the best species of the trip, Baltic Hawker.

Vagrant Darter.

Vagrant Darter.

Silver-washed Fritillary, Camberwell Beauty, Peacock Butterfly, Large White and some others are butterflies worth mentioning.

Silver-washed Fritillary.

Camberwell Beauty.

Two of these huge Common Toads were in our yard and I got this awesome picture of some kind of Grasshopper.

Some kind of Grasshopper. 

Common Toad. 


This week back at work and next weekend we are having nice party for Sanni´s sister, so good times. Also my favorite time of the year for bird watchin is coming, so more birding coming hopefully soon.

-Tom