31. joulukuuta 2012

My year 2012

2012 started slow, like every other year here in Finland. Over wintering Redwing, trip to Estonia and Pygmy owl were nice, but not much to tell about the January.


Still winter in Finland. One trip to Estonia and there my first real tick for the year, Northern Hawk Owl.
Also Steller´s Eider and Dipper in Hiidenmaa same time.
In Finland mostly checking feeding places and Pygmy Owls in Seurasaari.

Pygmy Owl.

Hawk Owl on my Estonian list.

First half of March was still totally winter... I tried to twitch Great Grey Owl once, but it was gone...
Second half was better, many sunny days and Suomenoja started to open. First Red Pochards, Doves and So on.
Also Red Grouse trip to Estonia in end of March to first days on April. No Red Grouse... Western Capercaillie, Black Grouses and lot´s of nice people.

Swamp in Eastern Estonia.


Common Raven in Seurasaari.

April started in Estonia, like i mentioned. Pink-footed Goose was best. After Estonia, i finally got the Great Grey Owl. Bird was in Viikki, Helsinki.
A week after Owl, i traveled to Israel with Jände and Esko. Many good species there, like White-throated Irania, Black-shouldered Kite, Bonelli´s Eagle, White-cheeked Tern, Brown Booby, Crissom-winged Finch and Sooty Shearwater. The list could easily continue, but it took too much time.. I got 22 new species on my Israeli list, what a trip!

Great Grey Owl.

Great Spotted Cuckoo.

Nubian Nightjar.

Masked Shrike.

Levant Sparrowhawk.

White Pelicans. 

Not many days at home after Israel and me and Sarina went to the New York. It was mostly culture and shopping trip, but i had time to watch birds also.
So much new for me.. Very interesting birds, especially those "dentroica" warblers. I had over 10 species of those and best specie was Protonothary Warbler.
After New York, i had weekend in Hanko bird observatory. Nice arctic migration, Collared Flycatcher and good company. It was nice weekend.

Magnolia Warbler.

Black-throated Blue Warbler.

Black-and White Warbler.

Me and Sarina in Central Park.

Collared Flycatcher in Hanko.

June was little bit more quiet than May. I make few trips to my local birding places and Iceland Gull twitch in Nokia. Best for the month was my self found Marsh Sandpiper in Espoo.

Marsh Sandpiper with friend. 

Red Phalarope in Espoo.

Iceland Gull twitch. 

Two very nice ringing sessions with Roni and other guys. Great White Egret in Espoo and so on. Nice trip to my girlfriends summer house in Ruokolahti. Ural Owl, Greenish Warbler, Nightjahr singing contest and beautiful nature. One trip to Ämmässuo dump where we found 1cy Caspian Gull with Roni. New tick on my Finish list.

Caspian Gull.

Grasshopper Warbler.

Lake in Ruokolahti.

On second of August i tried to twitch Pacific Golden Plover in Pyhtää, but not any succeed.. Few trips to Suomenoja and Maari, but rare birds avoided me. Annual Estonian bird race was in Saarenmaa and our team Muovilapajengi was on seventh place. Not bad i think.
Soon after bird race, me, Jände and Esko Railo made a week trip to Ireland. Bonxies, Gannets, Fulmars, Shearwaters and many more. I got about 8 lifers in a week. Very nice!

Bonxie, or Great Skua in many countries. 

Northern Gannet.

Yarrelii race White Wagtail.
Boys in Estonian bird race. 

Not much birding in September... One nice ringing session in Espoo. Hard to make text when there is nothing :)

Osprey with fish.

Reed Buntings, young and older.

First week of October i was in Hanko Bird observatory. Many Owls, very much ringing and Long-tailed Skua. 12th i twitched Hume´s Leaf Warbler in Helsinki, second for me in Finland. Later in October started the Pine Grosbeak migration. Hundreds of birds came south and almost every day when you walked outside, i heard or saw few birds. End of the month, 29th i found late Yellow-browed Warbler from Suomenoja. Early birthday present for me.

Hume´s Leaf Warbler.

Yellow-browed Warbler.

European Nuthatch.

Pygmy Owl.

Pine Grosbeak.

Golden Eagle.

Shot-eared Owl.

Unlucky Slaty-backed Gull twitch.. Two different Northern Hawk Owls in Helsinki, more Grosbeaks and best bird for the month was Naumann´s Thrush in Estonia.

Hawk Owl in Helsinki.

Kihnu Lighthouse. What a beautiful place.

Third of December, we twitched Western Palearctics third Fox Sparrow in Estonia. Bird of the year! More Grosbeaks, Christmas of course and Black-throated Thrush in end of the month. I have never been so active in December, but it was totally worth of all that driving and walking!

Bird of the year, Fox Sparrow.

Black-throated Thrush.

Western Capercaillie.

So, that was my year. Not bad, or what you think??
I wish you all happy new year and lot´s of good sightings for the next 12 months.
See you next year.



27. joulukuuta 2012

Super ending for the year. 27.12.2012

Finally some time to check birds. I worked whole Christmas, so not much time to go out..
Like i said last time, there is Black-throated Thrush and Western Capercaillie in Espoo and today i went t o look at those good species.
I arrived to Eestinmalmi where the Thrush has been over a week now. Quick parking, little walk and i saw two other twitchers. I was not sure about the exact location, so it was nice to find the right place so quickly.
Other nice surprise was Pekka Komi hanging there with he´s huge 500mm lens. Long time no see!
We stand behind the fence and feeding where bird has been was in some guy´s back yard.
Soon the Thrush came closer, but it was hard to photo. I spend about an hour there and here is some photos of the bird.

Bird was nice male.

Little bit closer.

49th for Finland and second Black-throated Thrush for me in.
First was 2009 in Helsinki and it was female bird.
I like these Siberian thrushes, interesting and rare people :)

After Thrush i drove almost 5km to the next place where the Capercaillie had been seen.
One other guy was there searching the beast, but he left soon without prize.
I walked around the are and many people stopped me to talk about the Capercaillie. I always like to answer peoples questions, so it does not bother me.
Finally, after 45minutes effort, i found the bird. Oh my God, it was so huge! It was standing on a fence and only it´s eye was moving.

Western Capercaillie male.

It was so huge that i did not dare to go closer! Luckily i had 500mm lens, so i can take pics from the distance.
What a day and what a ending for this great year. I think there is no time to birding anymore this year.
I have my good friends bachelor party on 28th to 30th and then it´s new year´s eve.
i try to put some "best moments 2012" together here soon, maybe after my friends party.
See u soon!



23. joulukuuta 2012

Merry Christmas!

It seems that i don´t have time to watch birds anymore.. Some guy found Black-throated Thrush from Espoo and i hope i have time to check it after Christmas, if it is still around of course.

So, I wish all my readers Merry Christmas and happy holidays! Hope you have good time with your families and other friends. Enjoy.

Merry Christmas!



10. joulukuuta 2012

Poor light and winter birds. 10.12.2012

Winter has really arrived here in Helsinki. Snow everywhere, -3 degrees and very few birds around.
After a long call to Tax Office, i went to Seurasaari. I had not been there for a long time, but now when birds begin to eat in feedings, Seurasaari is the place.
I walked around the island and there were lots of Tits, but other birds were missing. Okay, Black Birds, Crows and Sparrows does not count.
I was taking some photos of Blue Tit, when huge flock of Waxwings came from South. Flock stopped for a little time, and i managed to get some bad photos. Light was terrible.. Only black or grey backgrounds and i have to use high ISO number to get even these photos.

Finnish winter, dark and cold. 

This is mine!

Waxwing art. Or not?

Many times some people stopped me and asked some questions about birds and photographing, and i was polite of course and gave some good answers. One guy asked about waterfowl, how they get food when waters started to freeze. I said that you must ask that for some British or Danish guys, they have all our waterfowl during the winter time. :)
When i was walking back, i noticed 5 Pine Grosbeaks near the entrance bridge, and i started to photograph.
I must say, i have now about 1000 pics of Grosbeaks, but who knows when the next influx is coming.

Handsome male.

And possible female.

One thing was unchanged.. Squirrels were everywhere.. This mean bird egg hunter is more than common here in Helsinki. Cute exterior can be deceiving!


On my way back home, i saw one Grosbeak from the car window and five more when i was walking to home. Common bird i guess. Next year maybe not.
More postings this week.