25. kesäkuuta 2014

Common Nightingale twitch with Jari and Markus 23.6.2014

Day before yesterday me Jari and Markus decided to twitch Common Nightingale candidate from Orivesi.
Orivesi is about 2 hours drive from Helsinki so not too far this time.
I got my mothers car before eight a clock and Markus came also there. Soon we picked up Jari and started our drive to Orivesi.
We arrived there about at ten a clock and bird was quiet that time. Few twitchers told that bird had sung few verses little bit earlier.

Place was near railway so lots of extra noise around.

It didn´t took long after bird started to sing very actively and in my ears, it sounded very good for Common Nightingale. Soon we had idea that because earlier catching attempt was unsuccessful, we try to catch the bird. We had only one 9m net with us so we tried to put it in one good place and play some tape.

Jari with the beautiful sky.

Me and Markus holding the net.

After 1,5 hours and several different tries we had to quit. Bird had very same route every time but i guess it was just laughing for us from the bush. Anyway, we had great time.
Later we tried to twitch Savi´s Warbler from Valkeakoski but not any sound from the reeds.. Only Sedge and Reed Warblers around, with some Woodcocks and Little Gulls.

Jari trying to hear Savi´s Warbler.

We arrived back to Helsinki very late or should i say early, clock was about four in the morning.
I returned the car near my mothers house and had to cycle back home.

Great night indeed. Nightingale was captured night before and it really is Common Nightingale. My Finnish tick number 301 and only 34th record for Finland. Jari and Markus already got this one but it´s always good to hear and see these kind of challenging birds i guess. Here is short video where you can hear little bit of birds singing.


20. kesäkuuta 2014

Little Bittern twitch in SE-Estonia 18-19.6.2014

Raul Vilk found fifteenth Little Bittern for Estonia few days ago near Tartu, and it meant that we had to go there and found it again!
Good new only day before our trip when Uku, Mari and others heard the bird again around midnight.
Risto picked me up and after we took Jände from city-center we drove to earliest Tallink ferry to Tallinn.
Tartu is about 180km from Tallinn so we had some driving ahead. During our drive we decided to go there already at day time.
Not much birds along the drive, but i can mention some Marsh Harriers, lots of White Storks, Common Buzzard and other usual stuff.
We arrived to the Võnjärvi at 2pm after long and frustrating walk trough the woods, and very soon after that the bird called first time! Amazing! Few minutes later i heard the call again, but maybe little bit further this time.
Most of the time Great-reed Warbler was annoyingly loud! We spend two hours there and after those first calls, we did not hear it again. Few Savi´s Warblers, one Honey Buzzard, White-tailed Eagle near the lake during our wait.

Easiest part of our "road" to the lake.

Risto surpassing one of many obstacles.

Võnjärv, best place to hear Little Bittern in Estonia.

Big Water Spider.

After we passed the woods again we went to have some dinner and then we took room from Rehe Hotel near Tartu
Later evening we were watching football from TV we talked about the Bittern and we wanted to hear it little better and maybe get some recording this time. Risto stayed at the hotel but me and Jände went back and this time, middle of the night.
This time we found super easy road and it was almost pleasure to walk there! After spending almost two hours there, we heard nothing.. But at least we tried!

Next morning after short sleep and breakfast we tried to twitch Booted Warbler but too much traffic near the road so we did not hear a thing.. Maybe next time.
Later we had another breakfast and we make some plans to drive to Pärnu and especially Audru. Few stops during the drive and best place was Helme where we had Middle-spotted Woodpecker, four European Nuthatches, Red-backed Shrike, and some other common stuff.
Distant Red-backed Shrike.

European Nuthatch.

Before Audru we checked also Pikla, but nothing there.. In Audru we had one Great-white Egret and some Great-reed Warblers.

Barn Swallow in Pikla.

Later we had to drove back to Tallin because our ferry left at 4.30pm and later we arrived to Helsinki.
Great two days with great guys. Little Bittern was my Estonian tick number 281 so there is little change to get that 300 before i turn 30!
Next trip to Estonia maybe early July. Thanks guys for the company!


7. kesäkuuta 2014

Rhodes summary 7.6.2014

So this is my last night here in island of the sun. If i´m honest, there is not much for birders.
I was amazed when i was driving some small roads few days a go and there was only few Jays and that´s it. Normally when driving somewhere there is at least some species so common that you just face them everywhere. Not here. Except Sparrows.
I mostly came here because my mother and sister were here already and now almost week after i´m very pleased that i came here. Two lifers in place like this is more than you can expect and excluding the tourism, this is very beautiful island with varied nature. I must also understand that now birds are breeding already and they are hiding very effectively. Only good way to watch birds in the island is rental car and full day trips around the island.

Here is my species list.

Cory´s Shearwater
Yelkouan Sheawater
Long-legged Buzzard
Common Buzzard
Red-footed Falcon
Eleonora´s Falcon
Peregrine Falcon
Yellow-legged Gull
Audouin´s Gull
Feral Pigeon
Collared Dove
European Turtle Dove
Common Swift
Pallid Swift
Alpine Swift
European Bee-Eater
Crested Lark
European Sand Martin
Craig Martin
Barn Swallow
Red-rumped Swallow
House Martin
Tawny Pipit
White Wagtail
Citrine Wagtail
Common Nightingale
Black Bird
Blue Rock Thrush
Sardinian Warbler
Eastern Olivaceous Wabler
Great Tit
Woodchat Shrike
European Jay
Hooted Crow
Domestic Sparrow
Ortolan Bunting

So 41 species in short time. There is also one putative Kittiwake but i can´t count it because did not saw it good enough.
Here is some photos from the island what i took today.

Citrine Wagtail taken with my 50mm lens. 

Rhodes old town.

Rhodes harbor. About flock of 100 Swifts around today. 80 Common and 20 Pallid.

Turkey is quite near. 

I have only 2,5 weeks summer vacation this year so coming here was good idea. Tomorrow back home and then maybe some birding activities in Finland, or in Estonia. I missed some good rarities during my holiday so let´s see if there´s anything left when i´m coming back.


5. kesäkuuta 2014

Quality sea-watch and others around the island. 5.6.2014

So, like i told yesterday i was normal tourist around the Rhodes City. I wake up late and had nice time with my sister and mother.
Today i took car from the city and drove around the Western part of the island. I checked the Eleonoras´s Falcon place in ancient Kamiros and the i had super sea watch about one km south of Kamiros.
Before i stopped i was thinking that maybe some sea-birds could came near shore because strong northern wind. This time i was right. It took about one minute to found first Cory´s Shearwater. I guess here the birds are Calonectris Diomedia Diomedia race so, maybe some day i will have two species of these birds in my list. Maybe few minutes later i noticed much smaller bird flying with the big Cory´s, and when it came in better position, i identified it as Yelkouan Shearwater! Ok, i must say that id of these birds is based on the location. But i guess it would be miracle to see about ten Manx or Balearic Sheawaters here. I stand there about an hour and i saw ten Yellkouans and about 25 Cory´s Shearwaters! What a way to start my day, again.
My sea-watch place.

Cory´s Shearwater.

Two Cory´s Shearwaters.

Yelkouan and Cory´s in same picture!

Few kilometers south from my sea-watch place. 

I continued driving to south but not much birds there. One putative Long-legged Buzzard but it disappeared very soon after if found it. Some Kestrels, Sardinian Warblers and my first Eastern-olivaceous Warbler there. Soon i decided to drive back and i turned from Kalavarda to Salakos and then i came near some misty mountain. It was so cool that i went to check if there is some road to explore, and there was.

Top of the mountain was inside of the cloud. 

This was maybe on of the highest places there. Driving inside of the cloud is not normal. 

Almost zero birds there but place was really cool and it was really worth of driving there.
When i came back i stopped few times but only Blue Rock Thrush was best sighting. This is weird island... So few birds around. This lizard was somewhere.

Lizard Species. 

I was quite tired after six hours of driving, so i returned my rental car and went back to my hotel have some nap. Later i met my family again and we had nice dinner and some cocktails. Very enjoyable life.
Yelkouan Shearwater was lifer for me and after that there is no more lifers in the island waiting for me. I guess i´m going to save some money and turn to real tourist. No more car rents or long drives. I´m going to lay in the beach and came back home with my boiled brown skin and with two lifers. Next post when im back home, unless there is something really interesting coming.


3. kesäkuuta 2014

Driving around Rhodes. 3.6.2014

Today we rented small car and we had nice day around the island. Many cool places like Monolithos, Prasonisi, Emponas and ancient Kaminos.
Weather was cloudy and rainy all day so not much light for the photographing or birds.. Our first stop was also best in whole day.
We went to check ancient Kaminos ruins and there i saw at least one dark morph Eleonora´s Falcon and one little bit challenging pale bird, which is maybe 2cy bird, but yeah.. Can´t be too careful! In other bad photo bird shows still some juvenile feathers in upper wing and back.
Eleonora´s Falcon 2cy bird, if i´m correct. 

This other Falcon is also interesting looking. What do you guys think?

Also huge flock of Alpine Swifts around the Kaminos and i counted about 60 birds in same flock.
There is not much birds around the island except Swallows, Swifts and Sardinian Warblers.
I had some Bee Eaters, two Buzzards, two Woodchat Shrikes, one Stone Chat, about 50 Yellow-legged Gulls and other common birds. Here is some photos around the island, mostly landscape pics.

Ancient Kaminos. 

One of the many Alpine Swifts.

Yellow-legged Gulls.


Somewhere in West coast.

West coast again.
I was surprised how easy the traffic was in the island, so after tomorrow i will take car for two other days and i will try again few places.
I might update next day after tomorrow, so i have some bird new to tell, it´s boring to show only landscapes and tourist photos :)


2. kesäkuuta 2014

Rhodes, first full day in island of the sun. 2.6.2014

Yesterday i arrived to Rhodes, Greece. Awesome way to start my summer vacation.
It was quite late when i landed here so not much birding yesterday. Red-footed Falcon was best bird during my taxi ride to my hotel.
Today i went to the beach with my mother and sister so this was also almost birdless day. I was absolutely stunned when i noticed dark morph Eleonora´s Falcon flying south during sunbathing!! It took only one and a half hours to see this lifer. Thank god i was at least acting sharp that moment. Also some Gull moving during the morning and i counted at least five Audoin´s Gulls along the Yellow-legged Gulls. Always nice bird to see.

Rhodes views.

Later i left and i walked to Rhodes old town where is huge medieval castle or something. I walked around there and saw lost of Craig Martins, Sardinian Warblers and of course Sparrows. I got nice photos when adult Martin fed already quite big juvenile. I guess quite rare photo!

Juvenile Craig Martin.

Adult feeding young.

Medieval ruins.

Possibly the worst pic of Sardinian Warbler ever. But male bird, as you can see :)

Later i walked around the harbor and city but nothing special there. I tried to photo some Swallows but success avoided me.

Barn Swallow. 

Tomorrow i will hire a car so i guess more bird photos and else. I´m going to visit Butterfly walley and some places in South.