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 :)


6. elokuuta 2015

Birding again. 5.8.2015

Finally something to write here.. I have been at work most of the summer and my bird watching time has been very limited.
In June and July i twitched some really nice rarities here in Finland, but that was all my birding activity. Raised my Finnish list to 311! I spend two weekends in two different summerhouses and i had one very unsuccessful twitching trip to Liminka.

Pied Flycatcher male, Hartola.

Yesterday i joined Markus Lampinen and Tomas Swahn and we drove to Kujala waste station to check some gulls. Earlier i saw two White-winged Crossbills in our backyard.
We arrived there quite late and soon we noticed that there is not much gulls in the area. We drove around the place and checked every gull for possible Caspian or even something better.
Finally at Bio-center we found interesting bird which had Caspian features.
I took several pics of the bird before it flew away. There was some pics of the same looking bird in tarsiger.com so we compared those and the bird was same! Anyway nice find, even though someone found it before us. Later we spotted the same gull again and i got some decent flying pics of it.
For my eye, it does not look classic Caspian Gull, but i´m not an expert.

Here is some photos of the bird.

Upper side of the bird.

Under wing photo.

Only photo on the ground

We also had this very cool looking intermedius/heuglini/graelsii Lesser Black-backed Gull. In my opinion, this is 3cy bird. God i like this LBBG group!

About 200 gulls in the area and we found two very nice birds. I was very happy,

Next week is annual Estonian Open bird race in Estonia, and our team is going there again.
More story from there, later here.