5. joulukuuta 2018

Some good birds in Helsinki 3.12.2018

December always means that I have to start to check my winter time list. Winter months are Dec-Feb and I have slowly increased my count of species during that time. The number is now 145 and I added two nice ones on that list on third of December.

A first winter female King Eider was found last week and cause I was working, I had to wait until my first change came on Monday morning. I took Vilma to kindergarten and drove to Vuosaari where the bird was seen last evening. I topped to have some coffee and when I arrived to Kallahti I noticed an alarm message of the bird which was positive, the bird was still in the area.
I walked to the most southernmost point of the cape and two guys told me where to look and there is was, what a beauty. Shame the light was bad and wind was strong, so bird was very challenging to watch. Very soon it moved again and flies away. I walked back and checked another place, the place where it was seen earlier, and there it was again.
This time it was in better place and I even got some poor document photos of the bird.

Soon I had to leave, because there was an Turtle Dove near by. I only stepped out of the car and walked short distance and the bird was there. Lots of people around it, so I watched it quickly and left to pick my new camera from Vantaa.
I bought this nice Panasonic Lumix FZ82 super zoom camera and I have to test it next time. With the zoom I have 1200mm reach for the birds, so let´s see what happens in real situation when I have to follow a moving targets.

Here is a short video of the King Eider and few photos.

Place where I first saw the King Eider. 

Bird was far away and light was bad, so very poor photos. 

Typical shape of the head. 

My new Lumix FZ82


31. lokakuuta 2018

Hawk Owl and other stuff. 28.10.2018

On 25th me and my uncle Jände had an effort to twitch that long staying, but always some how ephemeral Cinereous Vulture from Kirkkonummi. Bird was sitting there on a tree and was seen by many, but cause we had our duties earlier, we were late of course. During the drive to Kirkkonumi we got message that bird disappeared again and there was no idea were it went. Anyway we went to the birdtower, but late is late and we got nothing. After that there is only some uncertain records of the bird... So no vulture for me..

On 28th I was driving with my family in Pasila, near our house and I spotted an Hawk Owl from the car window. Quick turn and there it was sitting on a tree and then on a lamppost. I parked the car and took some record shots through my telescope.

Smart looking bird! 

Hawk Owls are not so common here in Helsinki and you need serious luck to find one among hundreds of birders. Bird was not seen again in same site, but I´m sure that someone will find it somewhere near very soon.
November is coming and there is less and less birds here in Finland, so let´s enjoy all that we still have.


13. lokakuuta 2018

Twitching while working. 13.10.2018

Yesterday Mika-Ilari Koskinen found a Marsh Tit from Herttoniemi, Helsinki. This species was missing from my capital-area list so I was interested. I still had to work today, but I managed to use my time right and I drove to Herttoniemi this afternoon.
There was few people looking the Tit and when I arrived the bird showed Up after five minutes calling and showing all the features we needed. It was feeding on a ground and stopped only for few seconds in a tree.
I did not have my binos or anything else with me, but calling bird is easy catch even without those. I managed to take some very very poor pis of the bird with my phone and here is one.. I feel little bit shame to publish this but who cares!

It just left when I took the photo... 

October is going and good birds show up almost daily. Let´s hope that there is some real monsters coming soon. :)


Hunting that bloody Vulture 11.10.2018

This morning I used my last day off for Vulture. I started from home at 9am and I drove to Kilpilahti, where the beast was last seen day before. There was tens of twitchers with same idea and at the end I think we were close to one hundred watchers.
First two hours were slow and most of the time people just talked to each others and only one "big raptor" shouting on that time period. Only three people aw something big flying low and it disappeared quickly, what ever it was.
Temperature was rising and more and more raptors started to move. We had few Common Buzzards, some Rough-legged Buzzards, Sparrowhawks, Goshawks, lone and quite late Marsh Harrier and few White-tailed Eagles. The most interesting raptor was flying quite far away, but Jarkko found it anyway and yelled "Golden Eagle". Subadult looking bird was flying with some crows far east from the cliff where we watched it.
Landbird migration was nice and big flocks of Geese migrated in distance.
After noon we got info that Vulture is flying East from our point, near Porvoo center. I decided to go and try to catch it with the car. I drove like a maniac, but it slipped few times from my fingers.. I was close, but the Vulture was flying so low, that I didn´t see it. At the end I was standing in a point where it was suppose to show up, but nothing.
I had to pick Vilma from daycare so I left after 2pm with only some year ticks with me. I was really hoping to see this, but maybe there is another bird coming in the future.
I have now missed to MEGA birds in short period of time, but maybe my luck will turn, who knows.

Local Great-grey Shrike in Kilpilahti

Distant Marsh Harrier.


Birding and twitching with Vilma. 10.10.2018

On 10th I took Vilma and together we drove to Pikku-Huopalahti, which is area where me and Sanni lived before Vilma was born. Anyway we had long staying Turtle Dove in our minds and that was the reason why we went there.
Bird was seen in a park almost daily before we get there. I walked around and we met some other twitchers, but in two hours we spend there, nothing... Vilma threw some rocks into a small waterhole and I tried to watch the area where the Dove was normally seen.
Lots of Waxwings, and Domestic Sparrows around with some passerine migration. One Goshawk too, but that was it. We left to my fathers office where my brother and uncle works too. They were happy to see Vilma and Vilma was happy to see all them. On our way to the car we also got a nice memory from a Mounted Police patrol. One Police man gave a picture of his horse to Vilma and you can really see when a little girl is so thrilled! She loves horses and that was basically the thing she was talking rest of the day.

Waxwings through my telescope.

Proud Vilma with her new Palaad card. 

Later afternoon, after we got some food ans stuff at home Vilma wanted to go out again and this time we went to Viikki, to check if there is some nice birds around. We were walking on wooden path towards Lammassaari when I heard and little later saw a flock of Bearded Tits! Always a pleasure to see those tiny birds with their tiny wings. Soon we walked back because Vilma wanted to see the tallest tower in the area and it was close to us. We raised up to the tower and from there I was able to see Little Grebe, some Smews, Gadwalls, Lapwings etc. Also quite many Willow tits flying around.

Road to Lammassaari.

Vanhankaupunginlahti in autumn colors. 


Vilma again. 
Male Gadwall. 

We were already at the car when an alarm of Cinereous Vulture came. I was thinking about it for a minute and came to conclusion that we have to go to the Vuosaari Hill to see it. I texted Tyron that now or never kind of vulture mania message and we arrived 20 minutes later to the hill. Vilma was tired, so I had to carry her and my telescope to the top of the hill, but I made it. Many people already there and in hour we didn´t see anything near the Vulture. Flock of Bean Geese with two Greater White-fronted Geese were best I think. Shame but obviously the Vulture went further north from that point and landed somewhere near Porvoo. More of that in my next post.


9. lokakuuta 2018

American Golden Plover 6.10.2018

On 4h of October a small group of birders found interesting looking Plover from Kemiönsaari. During the day the birds was identified as a American Golden Plover. I wanted to see that bird of course , but because I´m working a lot, I had to wait until 6th and then I had chance to go.
Markus Keskitalo was with me when we started at 5.30 am from Helsinki and after two hours we arrived to Kemiönsaari. About 20 people around, but because everybody just looked in different directions we thought that bird is still missing.
I took my telescope and while Markus was still adding more clothes I noticed a small flock of Plover in the field. It took me about 15 seconds to find the bird. I told Markus that there is a bird which looks good and Markus was happy when he looked the bird.
We yelled the other birders that the bird was found and everybody was happy. The flock must have been sleeping in the field because first birders arrived about 45 minute earlier than we and didn´t see anything.
Bird was feeding actively and moved in small area. It was little too far away for cameras, but with phonescope I was able to take some decent pictures and nice video of it. Later it was lots of closer when we were already gone...
Here is some pictures of this super rare bird, which is only third record in Finland ever! Species is not too rare in some parts of Western Palearctic, but here it is MEGA.

American Golden Plover.

What a bird! 

Color difference between European and American Golden Plovers.

American Golden Plover. 

Thank you Markus for the company, this was super nice trip.


Greater-spotted Eagle 28.9.2018

We were having a nice day off with my family and then decided to walk to Pakila where is a cafeteria called Helmi. We had nice coffee and bun combination when I noticed an alarm of Greater-spotted Eagle flying West from Vuosaari, then from Viikki. I checked the maps and we were just on its route. I finished my coffee and told Sanni that I must go out, there is an Eagle coming.
I went out and tried to look around. Rest of my family came out and then I saw the bird flying above us but quite low, so I had change to see what it was. It was that same Eagle. I got stroller tick and my family were enjoying a lifer at the same time.
I sent another alarm of the bird that it is flying towards west an only few minutes later other birders saw it from Haltiala.
This is how the alarm system should work all the time. last sight of the bird was somewhere in Kirkkonummi. Great bird.

My amazing photo of the Eagle. I took this with my mobile phone. 


Short raptor watch in Vuosaari 24.9.2018

On 24th I took Vilma to daycare and drove to Vuosaari hill where I met Tyron and we planned to do some raptor watching.
I arrived at 9 and instantly noticed that lots of Jays are moving around and first Spotted Nutcracker only in minutes. There was that autumn migration feeling in the air, if you can say it like that.
Anyway, Tyron joined me and we had very nice, but cold two hours on the hill.

We had one Osprey, Kestrel, Hobby, 79 Cranes, noisy Lesser-spotted Woodpecker, some Mistle Thrushes and four Nutcrackers. Also three Woodlarks and constant migration of passerines were awesome. Some Sparrowhawks tried to catch the most exhausted ones

Juvenile Common Buzzard.


Even in short period of time we managed to see loads of bird, which was fun.
Thanks for the company Ty, and more next time.


Loviisa 1.9-2.9

Again there was lots of time between my birding activities, but this exact weekend we visited Loviisa, our other summerhouse. During the drive we stopped in Baggnäs, where we twitched a long staying juvenile Red-footed Falcon. Falcon was also new stroller tick for me, and a species which is always nice to see.
Rest of the weekend we enjoyed warm, but rainy weather in our summerhouse. Lots of good food and nice company. I also finally got one of the biggest moths in whole Europe when my little brother found the Blue Underwing (Catocala Fraxini) sitting on our sauna wall.
Here is few pictures from the weekend. Mostly butterflies!

Juvenile Red-footed Falcon.

Catocala Fraxini.

Catocala Fraxini.

One big butterfly. 

Lithophane Furcifera. 

We also had a little bonfire. 

Great-spotted Woodpecker.

Noctua Fimbriata

Hadula Trifolii.

Viviparous Lizard. (Zootoca Vivipara)

Agrochola Malicenta.

Great weekend with great people. Food was amazing again, so I left next day maybe 1,5kg heavier.


7. lokakuuta 2018

Summerhousing again. 3.8-5.8.2018

Early August we had nice weekend in Hartola, where we spent lots of time this summer. Most of the time we just watched Vilma swimming and enjoying sun. Weather was still war, but little rainy though.
Hobby chicks were flying around with their parents, few Cranes, Goshawk and our local Black-throated Diver were the best sightings that time.
Still few species of butterflies too, including Small Coppers, Scarce Coppers, Red Admirals, Painted Lady and few Silver Y moths. While searching birds I noticed also few species of Dragonflies like Common Hawker, Brown Hawker, Vagrant Darter and Yellow-winged Darter.
Overall we had very nice weekend with my mother, who is big help with our kids, especially with Vilma.
Here is few photos from the weekend.

Silver Y (Autographa Hamma)

Common Blue (Polyommatus Icarus) second gen. 

Black-throated Diver (Gavia Arctica)

Painted Lady (Vanessa Cardui)

Small Copper (Lycaena Phlaeas)

Vagrant Darter (Sympetrum Vulgatum)

Brown Hawker (Aeshna Grandis) female laying eggs. 

Great times.


25. heinäkuuta 2018

Saarenmaa, Estonia 16.7-19.7.2018

My vacation ended when July started, but because I have long periods of work I can have few days off once in a while. This time we had plans to go to Estonia with my friend Antti and hes girlfriend Johanna, with her daughter Enisa.
We started from Katajanokka harbor and arrived to Tallin after midday. From Tallin to Virtsu, where the ferry goes is around to hour drive. Because roads are in good condition it is easy drive and from the car I had few birds too. Some White Storks of course, but also some Common Buzzards, distant Eagle which I think was Lesser-spotted.
From Virtsu it takes only 25 minutes with ferry and you are in Saarenmaa. Our house was only 10 minute drive from harbor.
We spend amazing three days there and we drove around the island visiting places like Kuressaare, Orissaare, Mandjala beach and some others. Two full days lying on the beach was fun for the kids and why not for the adults too.
Saarenmaa was full of butterflies and dragonflies. From the car I had great variety of species like Swallowtail, Purple Emperor, Moorland clouded yeallow, Lesser purple Emperor, New forest Burnet and one real diamond for a Finn. Zygaena minos burnet is real rarity in Finland with two records from 1980s. In saarenmaa it is local but not really rare. For me it was new species of course.
From Dragonfly family I had at least Moorland Hawker, Blue Hawker, Baltic Hawker and Brown Hawker. Also some smaller species, but all were flying high and impossible to identify.

Here is some photos from the trip.

Large White.

Lesser Purple Emperor.

Small chocolate-tip.

Zygaena Minos.

Zygaena Minos.

Large Wall Brown.

New forest Burnet.

New forest Burnet.

Common Brimstone.

What can you say? Kuressaare.

Our Grill and view.

Kuressaare castle. 

Lots of great memories and good company. During the drive back to Tallin we stopped in Haapsalu and I had one Great white Egret and some buzzards flying around. We were back home on 19th evening.
Thanks for the company Antti, Johanna Enisa and of course my own family. Great times.