29. joulukuuta 2013

Year 2013

My year has been great. Here is some highlights.


Highlights for the January were Black-throated Thrush, Western Capercaillie, Pine Grosbeak, Shore Larks and of course my first lifer for the year, Iceland Gull. Also lots of Owls in January, including Eagle Owl, Hawk Owl and Pygmy Owl.

Shore Larks.


This is maybe the most boring month of the year.. Some good Owls around Helsinki area. I got nice photos of Great-grey Owl and Long-eared Owl. Lots of snow and not much more..

Tengmalm´s Owl.


Highlight was very early female type Hen Harrier, Ural Owl and first migrant birds of course. Always nice to see when spring is coming and more and more birds coming back.

Great-grey Owl


9.4 i saw Wood Lark and that was year-tick number 100. Later more and more birds came back to Finland and Common Stonechat was first real rarity in April. Big influx of White Storks came arrived after second week and i had total of 7 birds in April. Other good species were Common Kingfisher, Ring Ouzel, Pink-footed Goose and Tundra Swan.
Last weekend of the month i spend in Hanko birdstation. Lots of migrants and on our way back to Helsinki we twitched Collared Flycatcher and Subalpine Warbler!

White Stork.

Collared Fly.

Subalpine Warbler.


Middle of the May we had very nice trip to Israel where i got few lifers. During our trip only real bird we missed was Little Egret in Kirkkonummi.
11.5 i had Blue Throat in Viikki and that was year-tick number 200. Best birds in May were Citrine Wagtail, Terek Sandpiper, Lesser White-fronted Goose and Booted Warbler. Last one was lifer for me.

Booted Warbler.

Upcher´s Warbler in Israel.


June was quite slow, but i was lucky to get some quality species. Lesser-spotted Eagle showed up in Espoo, Grey Wagtail in Helsinki and Black Kite in Vantaa.


July started with nice species when i had one female Red-necked Phalarope and Ruddy Shelduck in Espoo. My July continued in South-East Finland where i had Greater Spotted Eagle. Not many quality birds in July so even White-winged Crossbil was good.

Ruddy Duck


Early August we had Yellow-legged Gull candidate in Espoo but not much else in first weeks of the month. Real MEGA came little bit later when Sabine´s Gull was found in Lempäälä and only 14th for Finland and second adult bird. Same day i twitched Great Snipe in Helsinki and last good bird for the month was Little Grebe. Also quick weekend in Rome where i had Firecrests and Short-toed Treecreepers. Also lots of Yellow-legged Gulls and other common stuff.

Yellow-legged candidate.

Sabine´s Gull.


First ten days were very good for Pallid Harrier and i saw one in Inkoo and we had Richard´s Pipit in same place. Also Great White Egret in Espoo early September.
Soon after that massive Yellow-browed Warbler invasion came to Finland and i saw four birds this autumn. Total of 420 birds were seen this autumn in Finland. I made also my only trip to Estonia and there i managed to twitch Estonias first Isabelline Wheatier and we found one Hawk Owl and two Lesser white-fronted Goose migrated with Barnacles in Pösaspea.

First Isabelline Wheatear for Estonia.


Early October i had lonely Pallas leaf Warbler in Helsinki while i was working. Not many birds this year in Finland. European Turtle Dove was beset bird when i visited Suomenoja at 14th.
Later in the month we had long waited week in Säppi island and before that i twitched long staying Sardinian Warbler from Pori. Only fourth record for Finland. In säppi we had one Black-legged Kittiwake, Little Bunting, Guillemots and few Purple Sandpipers. Maybe rarest bird we saw was leucistic Arctic Skua.

Little Bunting.

Sardinian Warbler.


Not much birds in November. Highlight was 21st Desert Wheatear for Finland in Helsinki. Very nice tick for me.
Desert Wheatear.


I sold my car and after that i had huge changes in my life, with moving alone in different place and so on.. I had only few photo sessions with Hawk Owl and i met very nice people from England who came to check that same Owl.
Early Christmas present came when i bought flying tickets to Israel and we are going next March with my uncle Jände.

Hawk Owl.

Let´s hope that next year brings more rarities and great moments with my friends.

Year 2013 has been great, many birds and memories. Total year-ticks in Finland 257 species. Easiest misses were Barred Warbler and all the northern species because i did not visit in Lapland.

My top 10 birds this year in Finland.

Sabine´s Gull, Subalpine Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Booted Warbler and Desert Wheatear.

I want to thank all my friends all over the world, you are best. Hope you had nice year and happy new year!



22. joulukuuta 2013

Happy Holidays!! 22.12.2013

I wish you all Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Hope you can relax and gain some energy to start collect year-ticks or what ever you have planned for the year 2014.
My early Christmas present was flight tickets to Israel and we are going there next March!

Merry Christmas!

Hear you soon.


10. joulukuuta 2013

Some Owls with Jari. 9.12.2013

My actual plan for the day was to check Villa Elfvik in Espoo if there´s still one or two White-backed Woodpeckers around. I called to Jari and after late morning we arrived to Elfvik at 10 something am.
Day was nice, not cloudy and dark, sun was not shining. We start from the feeder which is in Villa Elfviks backyard. Lots of Blue and Great Tits, some Squirrels and Bullfinches. Zero woodpeckers of course.
Soon we decide to walk around and it took about 5 minutes when Jari said something about some bird and i noticed Pygmy Owl in that direction! Wow, what a luck we had. Bird was quite far a way but we managed to move little bit closer to get few photos. Like everybody knows, bird watching is kind a hobby that you told your sightings to other watchers. Today i felt that it was mistake.. There was few photographers / bird watchers and they started to follow the bird when i moved.. Lets hope it is still alive.

Pygmy Owl. I had bad settings... Too bright etc.. 

After this Owl we found flock of 13 Long-tailed Tits. Always nice to see these. Other areas there were quite empty and we decide to leave after an hour.

Woods of Villa Elfvik. Good place to see woodpeckers. 

After Espoo i told Jari that Hawk Owl is still in Töölö if he wants to check it. So we went there and this is my last time i promise. Okay.. Maybe next year again if i start to count my year-ticks again.

Owl with Vole. 

And again.

Paul Segersvärd was also in the park.

This time the bird ate all the time and some older guy told that bird took this vole from the tree where it saves these for bad times i guess. I did not have any idea that Hawk Owls hunts and then store those in different places.. Nice to know fact.
Jari was happy and this was good day. My work started at 2 pm and after little meal Jari dropped me to Kaivopuisto.
Thanks for the company Jari, lets do this again soon.


30. marraskuuta 2013

Desert Wheatear in Helsinki 30.11.2013

It has been very slow recently, but finally yesterday something happened. Jari Kuhlman found Desert Wheatear while he was walking with hes dog in Kivikko. First alarm came just after 3 pm and i was still at work. Today i woke up early to check my phone and only 2 minutes earlier new update came and bird was still in Kivikko.
I took my camera and binoculars, went to my car and drove to Kivikko in record time. Just kidding, i always drive with patience and no hurry.
There was big group of people when i arrived and bird was hiding at the time. Gladly it took just 5 minutes to find the bird sitting quite far away. I borrowed one telescope to get some record shots of the bird but it was too far..

Part of the people. 

First pic of the bird. Notice good camouflage. 

Slowly bird moved closer to us and finally i had change to use my 300mm lens.

On a fence. 

Hiding in the bush. 

Sitting on a rock. 


Great bird. 

Bird was super beauty 1cy male and only 21st for Finland.. It was quite shy but i think that it just did not like the huge group watching it. Would you like? :)
After 40minutes bird took of and flies about 300m. It was little bit cold (-5c) and i decided to leave. Nice start for the weekend and this was new Finish-tick for me. Still got some changes to get 260 year ticks, this was number 257.
After this weekend i don´t have car anymore.. So it seems that i´m going to post less but maybe better quality. That means rarer birds,  more Estonia and other countries i hope :)

Hear you soon.


18. marraskuuta 2013

Hawk Owl part two. 18.11.2013

When i woke up today i realized that there is super nice sunny weather. I took my camera and because there is not much to see these days, i went to Töölö again to check if the Hawk Owl is still there.
I walked around the park about 25 minutes and i met some guy who was had same business there. Together we found the bird very quickly.

Staring contest with the Owl. 

Soon the bird flew a little bit and i got one crappy flight photo of it. It is super hard when the bird flies between the trees, my camera focus is too slow or i must be bad photographer.


Rest of the time Owl just sat on a small branch. I got quite good photos in very good light conditions.
Owl also threw up one small ball which is normal for Owls when they eat whole mouse or mole. Bones must get out of their system. In the photo you can see little brown ball after it came out from the Owl.

Brown ball in the lower edge of the photo, under the owl. 

"Much better now"

Nice day and i think these were the last pics i going to take of Hawk Owl, at least for some time.


Not much other birds in park.. One flock of Greenfinches tried to tease the Owl.

The owl was just under these guys.

Hope you all had nice start for the week.


15. marraskuuta 2013

Hawk Owl. 15.11.2013

I had huge problems to go out today and i don´t even know why... Anyway i went to Töölö where long staying Hawk Owl has been. I have already about 150 photos of this same owl but i think its still super cool bird. First i got some problems to find it but after it flew quite near me i just followed it. There was also one other guy photographer in the park and we had nice time with the Owl.

Hawk Owl.

First photo of the bird today. 

Like you can see the light conditions were hard and it was real challenge to get any photo of the bird. Thank god i bring my tripod.
This bird has been almost two months in Töölö and it must be on the most photographed bird in whole Finland this year.
Other birds in the park were Crows, two Starlings and Tits.

My 300mm lens is way too short.. Need to get 500mm.

And the bird saw it also. "Haha, what is that" It must say here. 

Nice two hours in park. Tomorrow i met many friends in our meeting which i mentioned in my last post.
Have a good weekend with lots of birds where ever you are.


14. marraskuuta 2013

Finally some action. 14.11.2013

Finally i had some time to go out. I talked with Petteri Mäkelä yesterday and he was hoping to see Common Moorhen tomorrow when he is coming to Helsinki. He is counting some month-ticks and Moorhen is missing on hes November list.
I checked Suomenoja today where is maybe largest Moorhen population in whole Finland?
Place was super quiet.. Few flocks of Crossbills, one flock of Goldfinches and so on.. Not sure about the Crossbills but if i must guess, i would say Common ones.
When i was walking around the pools there was few flocks of ducks. Most of the birds were Mallards but i counted also 15 Gadwalls, one Teal and few Goldeneyes.
South side of the pools i saw Robin and Skylark. Those were the best birds today.
So, no Moorhen today and i think Petteri need to wait until next year. :)
There is also some plans for the next year, maybe Georgia or Israel,  but who knows.
Here is some bad photos from Suomenoja today.

Flock of Gadwalls.

Two headed Mallard.


Tomorrow i will try to get up early and go out. I just don´t know where i should go... Not much birds out there.


11. marraskuuta 2013

Autumn is not over yet. 11.11.2013

Finally i managed to write something here.. I don´t have any new about my birding ,but when you have break like this i just wanted to write something. 

The topic is there because all the good birds came late this autumn and went straight to Sweden. Those lucky ducks got two Black-throated Accentors, Siberian Rubythroat, two Desert Wheatears, and of course Black-faced Bunting. Bunting is in top 5 in my wishlist. 

Also Estonia got some good birds recent days. Second Pied Wheatear in Sörve B.O and only few days after that, first Crag Martin in same place. Nice work Mati. Wheatear pics here Pied Wheatear and Martin here. 

Finland has been quite empty.. Two Hume´s Leafwarblers in Utö and one in Jurmo. Glossy Ibis in Parikkala and Greater Short-toed Lark in Säppi island. (first for säppi)

All of these sightings are from November and it seems that November is new The Month. 
I have 6 days of after these three evening shifts and then im out all the time. 
We have also autumn meeting of Finlands twitching society next weekend, so lots of action coming. 
Its good to see some friends. 

Lets hope i have some pics next time and more text about my sightings. Maybe i should move to Sweden?


31. lokakuuta 2013

Birthday and day after 30.10-31.10.2013

I had birthday yesterday so i went to my traditional birthday trip. I went to Suomenoja where i have been many times this year. This time i did not walk around the pool but i checked every good spot where any land bird could spend any time.
Best sighting was flock of four White-winged Crosbills. Always nice to see these birds. Other birds were three Robins, few Song Thrush, Redwing and flock of Redpolls. One Redpoll looked very much of Arctic Redpoll but there was something wrong and i guess it was some kind of hybrid or just weirdly pale bird.
After one and a half hour i left to gym.


Today (31.10) I went to Seurasaari because i did not have better to do. Place is super dead these times, but weather was sunny and nice, so it is good to be out.
First birds in the island were 12 Canada Geese, lost of Mallards, one Tufted Duck and of course some basic garbage like Feral Pigeons and Crows.
When i walked deeper in the island al the birds turned Blue and Great Tits. I checked few feeders and i found some Coal Tits and even two Willow Tits, who are actually quite scarce in the island.Willow Tits are actually one of my favorite birds! Cool looking and funny voice.
Othervice not much worth to mention..
Lets see what November will bring, if it will bring anything. Normally when something comes this time of the year, it is something really rare. Yesterday Great-northern Diver were seen in Parikkala, Barred Warbler in Pori and some other good sightings around the Finland.

This guy spend time in Seurasaari.

More birding next week, after a busy weekend in work.


27. lokakuuta 2013

Day five and six, Lifer. 25.10-26.10.2013

We started from the West walking around the island. Some nice Land birds were present including late Spotted Flycatcher, lots of Meadow Pipits, Reed Buntings, Winter Wrens, Bramblings, three Blackcaps, lots of Redpolls, Ring Ouzel and very late Common Whitethroat.


Spotted Flycatcher.

White-tailed Eagle. 

Mistle Thrush.

Later when i was walking alone i flushed little bird from the ground and it flew to a tree. I raised my binoculars and wow! Little Bunting!! Bird disappeared soon and i called to Petteri that "Little Bunting at Takalahti." After little search i went back to the house and everybody were there already. This was one of those long waited lifers for me! After some eating we went back there to check if the bird is still there, but i did not. We continued to hanhisto and it took about 20minutes and Markus found Little Bunting jumping on a ground!! Now every body saw it! Teppo and Tomas got lifers also!

Little Bunting. 

All the time we knew where the bird was so Markus and Teppo put one net on and we others moved closer to the bird step by step and soon the bird flew straight to the net! Very nice catch.

Little Bunting, 1cy bird. 
Markus ringed the bird and after few photos, it was released in the same place. Maybe the cutest bird i have ever seen.
Later we walked back to the house and we saw one or two Arctic Redpolls and lots of common stuff.
This was so great day that we put sauna on and we stayed up quite late. Lifers are always lifers and that is always reason to celebrate.

Next days(26.10) weather was terrible again and because bad forecast we decided to leave the island..
Days best birds were Arctic Redpoll and Hawfinch.

This was super trip with 81 species. There was also few species that i did not saw but you cant see everything. My year tick number is now 256 and its way more than i expected beginning of the year.
I must thank Petteri, Markus, Taru, Teppo, Tomas, Juha, Tomi, Lassi and Aki for company.
I hope we can do this again next autumn. It was also very nice to get new friends, those what you cant have too much.