14. joulukuuta 2015

December birding. 13.12.2015

It has been very good first half of December in Finland so far. Lots of rarities around and even I had some time to go and watch those birds.
Early December I twitched Azure Tit from Fastholma, Helsinki and Pallas´s Leaf Warbler from Tahtitorninmaki, Helsinki. Warbler was only 3rd winter record from Finland and Azure Tit was 30th for Finland. Good stuff!
Azure Tit was not so easy to twitch and I had to take two times before I saw the bird. And finally when I saw the bird, it was just few seconds before it flew back to reeds where it spends its time.
Pallas´s Leaf Warbler was totally different. First twitch was with bicycle and then I had to go again with my camera. Second time I got some decent photos.

Angry bird!

Pallas´s Leaf Warbler.

Azure Tit was lifer for me and after our upcoming trip to Tenerife I have finally seen every species of Tits in Western Palearctic.

At the moment there is also one very interesting Lesser Whitethroat in Tuusula which sounds and looks? like a Siberian Lesser Whitethroat.
Let´s see what else will show up before new year. I hope I can manage some time and go to look Azure Tit again with my camera and get some photos!


14. marraskuuta 2015

Slow birding and one twitch. 14.11.2015

Like the topic says, my birding activity has been very slow recently. In last two weeks I have been out with Vilma and my binoculars only once or twice. 5th of November I found Pygmy Owl very near our house, which was very nice. Bird was very tame and allowed me to take some photos with my mobile phone through my binoculars. Here is the results..

Smallest Owl in Europe. 

Sharp eyes.

Before today I have been most of my time at work without any interesting sightings, so I was full of energy when I got change to use my mothers car.
I knew that Hoopoe was found in Kirkkonummi, quite near Helsinki about week earlier. I was little late and when I was driving towards the place, I got info that bird flew away.
I arrived to Kirkkonummi at 10.35 and only 10 minutes earlier the bird was seen by many birders.
After all, I spend there about two hours and finally we found the bird from different place. What a relief!


Bird was hard to see first when it walked in vegetation.

Only my second Hoopoe ever in Finland and first after 2008. Obviously I have seen lots of these in Israel and other southern countries, but here in Finland it is very good bird.
Great way to start weekend. Also it was very nice to see my old friend Petteri Hytönen after long time.
Hopefully more rare and interesting birds will show up later this year.


27. lokakuuta 2015

New binoculars and twitch. 26-27.10.2015

So, yesterday I picked a pair of new Swarovski SLC 8x42 binoculars from Birdlife store, Viikki. Because that area is good for birding, I took my daughter Vilma with me and together we had great adventure.
After i got the binos we took about 3 km walk from Viikki to Vanhankaupunginlahti. Not much birds around, mostly Tits, Crows, Goldfinches etc. My main target was Pygmy Owl in Vanhankaupunginlahti so I didn´t took much stops before that. In old Viikki sewage farm I got Goldeneye to my stroller list with Black Woodpecker and nice flock of Goldfinches.
Finally I arrived to Pornaistenniemi which is closest part of the Vanhankaupunginlahti and I met some photographers. I asked if they know about Pygmy Owl and they told that it was just there few minutes a go. So, I continued and found another photographer and before I asked, he told me to look the owl! Sadly at the same moment Owl took off and I saw the tail feathers.. Anyway, Vilma was in our strollers and I got tick!
We also had nice White-backed Woodpecker and Great-spotted Woodpecker in same area!
Great time with the girl until she started to cry and I was in trouble... Fortunately I was close to buss stop and we went back home.

New Swarovski SLC 8x42


Pornaistenniemi woods.

Today I twitched Pied Wheatear from Hollola after I drove Vilma and Sanni to my mother in law. Bird was little bit too far for proper photographing, but close enough to see even some features. My Finnish tick number 314 and year tick number 240. After i left, I had flying female Capercaillie close to Wheatear place! Another year tick.
Here is some distant photos of the star bird of the day.

So far...

Yeah, it is a Pied Wheatear!


16. lokakuuta 2015

Ringing and Strollering in Helsinki. 16.10.2015

Today I joined Roni Väisänen and together we went to Östersundom, which is part of the eastern Helsinki. Place is often used for ringing activities, and today we had same plans in our minds.
We arrived just before half eight and just after we parked the car, we had Pygmy Owl calling! We listened and soon there was two birds calling from very different directions. Awesome start!
I helped Roni to put the nets on and then after quick coffee we made first round.
We had some Wrens, lots of Robins, even more Blue and Great Tits, one Dunnock, four Reed Buntings, few Treecreepers and one Goldcrest. I don´t have the total number of the ringings, but i think we caught about 50 birds, most of them Tits.
Also some nice birds around the area, not from the nets. Black Woodpecker, Sparrow Hawks, Redpolls, Bramblings etc.
Here is few pics.

Angry Treecreeper!

First year male Reed Bunting.

Eurasian Wren in first light.

First year Dunnock.

Later I had time to go our with my daughter Vilma, and try to find new awesome stroller ticks.
I was luckier than last time and I found my first Woodpecker species for the list, Great-spotted Woodpecker. Also other new species were smart looking Spotted Nutcracker! Bird which is always nice to see. Vilma slept whole time and I was happy!
Thanks Roni for great company, and I hope we can take this again very soon.


14. lokakuuta 2015

Stroller ticking 14.10.2015

Seriously, what happened to the time? My last post is from month a go...
Biggest reason must be our daughter, who was born in 30th of September. After that day my life has not been the same what it was. And this time I mean it in a good way! I finally ticked long staying Pectoral Sandpiper to my list, but otherwise birding has been very slow.

Soon after we got back home, I started to collect stroller ticks. Rules are simple, and you just need strollers, baby, and go out. If you can see or hear bird, just hold the strollers and make sure that your baby is with you.
My first trip outside was visit to Käpylä and there i ticked Domestic Sparrow, Tree Sparrow and other common stuff. Best bird was definitely Hawfinch.
Next days i have been outside every day and ticked some nice stuff. Late Willow Warbler, Rough-Legged Buzzard, Goshawks, Wren to name just a few. Every day before today I got some new species on my list, but today was day of zero ticks.. 41 species in a week is still quite good I think.

Record shot of the Rough-legged Buzzard through my binoculars.

Goldfinch today quite near my house.

Sparrow Hawk.

More stroller and other kinds of birding stuff coming soon. I will try to visit Viikki or some other better birding place this week.


14. syyskuuta 2015

Weekend at work. 13.9.2015

So, I spend last weekend at work and because we had slow days, I had time to look around. Not much birds this time, one Lapland Bunting though! Some movement with Barnacle Geese, but those are only local birds flying around. One Chiffchaff had really active weekend and it sang all day long. Yes, unfortunately it was the common one, not one of those eastern "tristis" race guys.
Because there was not enough birds, I spend times with insects. Peacock Butterflies, Common Brimstones, Painted Lady and Red Admiral represents the butterfly section.

Common Brimstone.

Peacock Butterfly.

Beautiful stuff!

Later I noticed also some Dragonflies. First three were only Vagrant Darters, but then I noticed some larger individual. I tried to relocate it many times, but no luck. During the search I found other species of Darter, and this time it was female Black Darter. (Correct me if I´m wrong)
Later Sunday afternoon I finally found the larger guy and it turned out to be female Migrant Hawker!

Black Darter female.

Migrant Hawker female.

This smart looking dragonfly was new for me in Finland and I was happy! Later I realized that the other large dragonfly I found first was way bigger than this, so there was at least two species of Hawkers around.
Later evening after work I picked up Sanni from home, we drove to Espoo and successfully twitched Richard´s Pipit from Lommila. Nice ending for good day!


8. syyskuuta 2015

Corn Bunting 6.9.2015

Not much to tell, but wanted to write about my yesterday's twitch.
Long time I have waited Corn Bunting coming near the Helsinki and yesterday it finally came to Hyvinkää which is only 45km away. We had already plans to go to Vääksy with my wife Sanni so I just told her that bunting is quite close to our route and she was fine with that.
Luckily the bird was found quick and we continued towards Vääksy. I got one decent photo of the bird through the telescope.

Corn Bunting.

My first record in Finland and bow my finnish list is 312. Let's hope there is more coming later this year.


5. syyskuuta 2015

Autumn birding and Pallid Harrier 4.9.2015

Last day of August i spend with Tyron in Vanhankaupunginlahti and Lammassaari. Loads of Barnacle Geese (4150) and Lapwings (560) around the bay, with lone Curlew Sandpiper, Ruffs, Ringed Plovers and Common Snipes. Also some raptor migration, and we counted 3 Common Buzzards, 17 Sparrow Hawks and 3 Ospreys. Bird of the day was Great Snipe which left from the meadow with five Common Snipes! Unfortunately i noticed bird little bit too late and Tyron missed the bird... I hope I can find another one for him in the future.

Also Marsh Harriers that day. 

Next bird related activity was few days later when i agreed an afternoon trip to Haltiala with my uncle Jan. Our target was Pallid Harrier and we were eager to find one!
Haltiala was empty.. Only few Sparrow Hawks and little flock of Common Swifts.
I don´t know how long we stayed there, but i noticed alarm of Pallid Harrier in Viikki and we decided to go there and twitch it.
After some driving and little walking we arrived to Viikki fields. Huge group of people was waiting the Harrier and we met our friend Tomi Muukkonen there. Tomi showed some awesome pictures what he was taken only 20 minutes earlier!
We did not have to wait long after i spotted the Harrier flyin very low but quite far away. Too far for my 300mm lens, but i took some record shots.

Pallid Harrier.

These guys must got some nice shots of the bird.

Soon bird disappeared again and i was already thinking to go back home, when i noticed the bird again, this time flying quite high. Fortunately this time bird came closer and lower so i got some decent pics of it. I had some troubles with my camera and most of the pics were rubbish.. Sadly, because this was great opportunity to get some really good stuff.

Pallid Harrier. 

Pallid Harrier. 

Bird was juvenile (1cy) male and only my third record ever in Finland. I have been lazy with this species.
Maybe more trying for the better pics tomorrow.


30. elokuuta 2015

Dotterels! 30.8.2015

I had my mothers car today and very often when i have it, it is a good reason to go our for birding. 
I was just leaving our apartment when i noticed alarm of two Dotterels in Vantaa. I jumped in to the car and after 25min driving i arrived to Pitkäsuo landfill. The place was closed because of weekend, but there was a way to get inside the fences. I met Sami at the "parking lot" and together we walked the slope towards the top. 
Soon we noticed two guys standing quite near and the birds were actually walking about 3m from the guys! Funny looking situation when Mika took photographs of the birds with hes mobile phone! I knew that this species can be very tame but still it looked very odd. 
I started to take photos of the birds but i was not so lucky with the birds and they moved all the time. 

Both birds in same picture. 

Dotterel is very good looking bird, i think.

And another one.

I spend about an hour watching these special waders, which are really rare here in Helsinki metropolitan area. Only my second record. 
As you can see, both birds are juveniles, so born this summer. During the visit i also heard Grey-headed Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker and saw one Sand Martin. 
Nice morning in nice company. 

Tomorrow I will meet Tyron at the Viikki, so lets hope some good birds and nice weather.


26. elokuuta 2015

Greater-spotted Eagle and other 25.8.2015

Today I went to check Lohja dump with Markus Lampinen and Tomas Swahn. With high hopes we arrived to Lohja at 4 something pm. Unfortunately the place hold only about 100 gulls and most of them were adults.. We were after nice 1cy Caspians and Yellow-legged of course!
So, we checked the place few times and after that we decided to leave.



After Lohja we went to Kirkkonummi to see, if the Greater-spotted Eagle would show up again. This bird has been there few days now. After short drive we arrived to Saltfjärden. During the walk to the tower i found this awesome Elephant Hawk-moths caterpillar!

Cute little fellow.

I released it back where i found it and continued to the tower.
Lots of Common Cranes and Barnacle Geese were flying around, but nothing species really.
It took about an hour and i spotted large predator flying quite far a way. I told guys that they should look at this one and there it was, nice Greater Spotted Eagle! Not everyday bird in Finland.

Upper side of the Eagle. 

Resting in a tree.

The Tower.

Bird gave us nice looks and then landed quite far away in a tree. I managed to take some photos through the telescope when it was sitting.
This is 2cy bird so it was born last year. In first photo you can see how "colorful" it is. It was very cool to see this one today.

Thanks markus and Tomas for great company. This was great fun.

Estonian Open 2015 13-16.8.2015

Finally i have energy (and time) to write about our trip to Estonia.
This year Estonian Open bird race took place in 15th of August and our team MuoviLabaJengi took part of that great event. We have improved our ranking every year, so we had lots of pressure after last years second place!
Me with Petteri Mäkelä, Jarkko Santaharju and Roni Väisänen started our trip already at 13th when we took evening ferry to Tallin and  after that, small drive to Western Estonia.
We spend first night at awesome little place called Rannakula, where we had very nice cottage with all amenities. Next morning at 14th we woke up quite early and after nice breakfast in Roosta puhkekula we checked some well known hot spots from Läänemaa county.
In Haversi, which is one of the best places to see shorebirds in mainland we had nice numbers of different waders. With 70 Common Ringed Plovers we had 30 Dunlins, 4 Red Knots, lone Little Ringed Plover, 3 Grey Plovers and some Sandpipers. Other nice birds for Finnish birder was flock of nine Sandwich Terns. We also visited Dirhami, Paslepa, Laukna etc, but nothing really interesting there. Although one Lesser-spotted Eagle and all those White Storks are always great!

Lesser-spotted Eagle landing in a tree.

White Stork.

Marsh Harrier.

Grayling Butterfly in Haversi.

Dunlins and Common Ringed Plovers.

Flock of Lapwings.

Second night and night before the race we spend in Tudulinna in small cottage. Before bed we had comfy Sauna and some snack. Race started at 03:00 so not so much sleep. Our first species was White Stork in car lights. Our mission was to get to the shore to have sea watch in first light and before that we had several good stops in different places. We had Quail, European Nightjar and lots of other species.

Great picture of Nightjar.

In first light we arrived to Saka where we had our sea watch. Place was little bit different than normal sea watch place, but it was good for us. Lots of good species there and we thought that this is going well.

Sea watch.

After sea we checked some places near by. Suddenly i got alarm message of Ruddy Shelduck not so far away (Kalvi) and we decided to twitch this rare visitor. This was our best decision in that day.
We had no idea of the place but it was full of birds. We god five species of waders, all missing ducks, even one Goose and of course, last bird we saw, Ruddy Shelduck! About 25 species later we left and our next stop was quite close in Kalvi Möisa. We god Garden warbler, Blackcap and Greater White Throat in same bush! Then suddenly we heard Grey Wagtail calling near by! Very nice species in Estonia. Little lalter Petteri spotted hte bird with many White Wagtail. Very nice! Next stop gave us Wryneck and something else too!
From Kalvi we drove to Narva to check some pools and actually not until today become clear that it was really good place. In the race we focused on birds and there we had only Moorhen and Coot. But that same moment i took photos of some big dragonfly and today i send a photo of my friend and he tol me that this dragonfly was actually Blue Emperor! I checked my books and there was not any color in Estonia, so i called my other friend who told that there is less than 10 records in Estonia about the Emperor. How cool is that!

One photo of the Emperor. 

After Narva, we checked always nice Vasknarva, and eneded our race in Lohusuu, near the county border. 138 in 14 hours! We were very pleased. Later all teams gathered to Remniku where we had food and nice house for all the teams, with sauna of course!
Race ending ceremony was exciting and finally we ended up to the second place, again! In this race second place is not a shame and at least i was very happy. Winner team, the Estonian Rarities committee-team got 141 species, so we had only 3 less.. So close!


So, second place and one Estonian tick for me. Can´t complain. Next year the race will be in Hiiumaa county, which is maybe the best place for bird watching in whole Estonia. I hope we have lots of teams there. Thanks to Estbirding for arranging this great event again. See you next year.
In the end i put some pictures of my re-launched hobby, Butterflies and Dragonflies. Hope you like these.

Swallow Prominent on my hairy hand.

Black Arches male.

The Drinker moth.

Silver-washed Fritillary male. Quite bad shape already.

Vagrant Darter female.

Common Brimstones. 

Thanks Petteri, Roni and Jarkko for awesome company. With you guys, this event is always perfect. Shame that Teppo had to stay home, but next year then :)