28. joulukuuta 2019

Backyard birding 28.12.2019

When you spend time with your kids it is always better if you go outside and let them run in a park etc. Today we had nice little it over an hour at the local park and sun was shining. Loads of birds around eating rowan berries and I counted at least 40 Fieldfares and around ten Waxwings in small area.
At the park I had a bit luck when I looked a small flock of Jackdaws I noticed a large raptor behind the flock. I always carry my binoculars and damn, it was far and high, but it was a Golden Eagle! One of those species which always gives you the chills. Eagle was just sliding towards Northeast and soon I lost it in blue sky. I think the age was either 1cy or 2cy bird cause the large white under wing patches. From that distance you can´t obviously be sure..

One of many Fieldfares. 

Bohemian Waxwings resting before next meal.

It seems that I might have time to go out and look for some new birds for this year next Monday, but let´s see. This nice sunny weather is gone tomorrow and I bet we have more rain after that.


26. joulukuuta 2019

End of the year. 2019

Hello folks and happy holidays.
During the December I have not done much of bird related activity.. I started at new job early November and it still takes muck of my time. I hope that will turn easier next year. Of course when you work all the daylight hours, that does not help you either. We have very short days now and "light" is mostly cloudy grey colors.

If I sum the December birding there is only one dipped Pine Grosbeak with my kids and then one lucky day when a flock of three Pine Grosbeaks migrated over our house. I was out with my children and Julius was even in the stroller when I noticed the birds, so stroller tick for me too!
Christmas came and Vilma has been sick, so we had to cancel few things, but the joy when she got the presents etc. That was great. Also Julius has enjoyed the Christmas time, but clearly he does not understand all the presents. To much stuff at the same time.

Partially leucistic male Domestic Sparrow from my back yard.This bird has been here the whole year.  

Overall the year 2019 has been great for me.
I got five new lifers in Finland. Red-headed Bunting, Pacific Golden Plover, Eurasian Roller, Cattle Egret and Great-northern Diver.
Crete trip at June gave me the Lammergeier and January trip to Fuerteventura was really success. From there I got Allen´s Gallinule, Dwarf Bittern, Houbara Bustard, Canary Island Chat and Lesser Scaup.

For the year 2020 I have some goals.

- More birding than 2019
- Do a trip to somewhere where I can have more than one WP-lifer with my family.
- 340 lifers in Finland. (Now 337)
- More than one trip to Estonia for birding.
- Spend more time with you uncle.

Maybe better not plan too much goals, cause there is always possibility that I have to cancel everything :)

I wish all the best for the year 2020 to all my friends and you readers. I still have passion to write here and I really enjoy this. Hope you like it.

Now I just have to wait the migrating birds and hope there is some nice local wintering stuff in Helsinki.

Happy new year!



17. marraskuuta 2019

Fifth lifer for the year. 17.11.2019

Yesterday 16th of November I finally had time to twitch long staying Great-northern Diver from Kirkkonummi. All went well until my kids said that it is time to go home... That was before the bird was relocated. Fun... SO I dipped yesterday and today on 17th I had to put my a-game to see the bird.
I waited again that the bird was seen and together with Vilma we went to see the bird. It was 40 minute drive to Vittrask, a big lake where the bird was seen daily from Monday I think.
It was before non we arrived and Vilma wanted to stay in the car, so I gave her my other phone to watch cartoon while I went to search the place. Some familiar faces around and finally after half an hour I found bird very very far a way which could be the right bird. We followed it and it dived and then showed its head few times.
I was quite sure that we were looking the right bird, but distance was about 1.5 km and I wanted to see it better.
I checked maps and we drove to the other side of the lake. We arrived to the place and while we searched way to shore some guy found it from parking lot. I managed to see the bird quickly and then we decided to move closer. We found a nice place and bird was showing it´s best but still quite distant views. I looked the bird and tried to learn how to ID this species in the future if some day I found my own bird.
Diver was lying there calmly on the water and it was clearly a place where it didn´t fish, only rested.
In fifteen minutes it started to move again and dived few times. That was god time for us to leave. Vilma was super brave and she walked all the way in rocks and roots.
Here is few distant shots of the bird. All taken through my telescope with my phone. Lake produced some hear waves and light conditions you can see from the photos.

Distant and dark... Anyway Great-northern Diver. 1cy bird. 

Vilma was happy when the bird was found. I showed it to her too, so I add this one on her list. 

This was maybe the best I got. Sad but true.. 

I wish to be on the other side. From that sauna building even I could get better photos. 

So, lifer bird for me and finally got this one. Now the number is #337 in Finland.

Great-northern Diver is rare in Finland and best way to see these here is definitely like this bird, late autumn some local bird. Also some individuals every year migrates with other Divers along the coastline. These birds are usually seen in May.
Only 15 records from my home county (Uusimaa) during the 2000s. Thirteen of those were migrating birds.


8. marraskuuta 2019

Birthday Cattle Egret 30.10.2019

Finally had time and energy t write something about my last visit to see some birds. It was my birthday about an week a go and I twitched a long staying Cattle Egret from Mäntsälä, which is about 60km from Helsinki.
Story of the bird is interesting, because it was originally found from Hattula, then it moved to Janakkala and then finally found from Mäntsälä few days later and distance of the original place is almost 90km.

Anyway it stayed in Mäntsälä and cause I had a day off I went to check it. Bird was easy to see, I was still driving when I saw it in flight and it stayed on one field during my visit there. Surprisingly it has eaten many Voles every day. Did not realize how much of a predator it can be!
Here is few pictures of the bird.

See the white dot under blue sign. 

The birds was feeding near the road and it got at least one vole during my stay. 

Phone scoped from the distance. 

Beautiful bird. 

Cattle Egret was my Finnish tick number 336 and fourth new one for the year. Also fourth record for Finland, so we are talking about very rare bird! Last one was 2011 and before that there is a records from 2006 and 2002. First for Finland was eastern race Coromandus and it was placed in category C back in 1994.
Hopefully I will have time to go outside soon... Some records of White-backed and Three-toed Woodpeckers near my house, so maybe I will go after those in near future.


4. lokakuuta 2019

European Roller 4.10.2019

Recently my birding has been slow, because I have been bit sick and it has been raining most of the days. Only short times outside before today and I have visited Kivikko field and Kaisaniemi Arboretum shortly after or before my work.

One of two Goshawks in Kivikko.

Dunnock in Kivikko. 

Siskins in Kaisaniemi.

Today I was working when I noticed an alarm message of European Roller in Espoo!! I was hoping and hoping that the bird will stay and checked my watch all the time. Finally I was released before 2pm and I went to pick my family and my binoculars from home.
We arrived to Tali, which is nearest area of the bird in Helsinki side. After little walking we found to the area where the bird was supposed to be. Some twitchers around and I met Ville Vepsäläinen when we arrived. Together we found the right place but the bird was lost, and we just had to look around.

The founder of the bird Hannu Palojärvi and loads of others were looking the bird. I was so happy that Hannu was the man who found the it. There is a real kind person who has helped me in the past few times.
At some point I was talking with Matias Castren when we noticed a group moving fast towards something. They were in higher grounds so we had to walk a bit the finally, there was the bird I was looking for. I checked it properly and then I went to pick my kids to get that stroller tick! It was easy. Bird was sitting on a branch and gave us little distant but good looks. I think it was 1cy bird because all the brown color and not so shiny blue like adult birds. Though I am not an expert of any kind of bid ID stuff. Here is few pictures of the bird and the place where it was.

European Roller. 

What a great looking bird. 

This photo was taken from Helsinki side of the area. 


Stroller tick in the bag. Julius started to be little tired at this point. 

What a twitch. Thanks to my family for the company and support. Dream come true bird. If I´m right, this was first bird after last Roller seen in Helsinki back in 1966, but not sure. Not too many records anyway.


25. syyskuuta 2019

Mandarin Duck 23.9. and 25.9.2019

Recent days there has been few Mandarin Ducks around our capital area. I had crazy week at three different jobs, but finally managed to visit one bird with Vilma on 23rd.
We arrived to Tapaninkylä quite early morning and grass was still under white frost. Our target was active and it was feeding in a small pond with local Mallards. Mandarin Duck might be little smaller than Mallard, but damn it made very clear if someone was too close to its personal space.
I let Vilma take some photos with my phone and that gave me a few moments to take some nice morning light photos. One Red-throated Pipit migrated over the park during the time we were there. Nice morning and great bird. Now the fall is here, bring out the real rarities!

I also tried to twitch Yellow-browed Warbler from Paloheinä, but missed it for about 10 minutes. Good that I had one in Kaivopuisto earlier last week!

Mandarin Duck.

Open wings.

Mandarin Duck.

Something different. 

What is that!?!

My favorite pic with nice light. 
Vilma took some photos with my cell. 

Today on 25th I went to look the bird again, this time with my friend Tyron. He had nice lifer of showy duck and we were happy. I got some new pics and this time the bird even came to the dry land.

Rainy day light. 

Walking Mandarin. 

Great looking bird. 

More birding coming soon I hope. Best times coming and I need to go out more often!


13. syyskuuta 2019

Early autumn summerhouse trip. 7.9-8.9.2019

Last weekend we had pleasant two full days at our Loviisa summerhouse. This time we got windy and even a bit rainy weather, so not much birding activity, but I had few nice sightings.
On our way I stopped at Gammalby area where I had nice flock of 17 Honey Buzzards. Bigger flock was about 14 birds and the area hosted also six Kestrels, two Common Buzzards and lone Marsh Harrier. Clearly there was active raptor migration going that moment. I was hoping to see Red-footed Falcon from that place, but no luck this time.

Phone scope picture of Common Buzzard and Kestrel. 

At the summerhouse I didn´t have much time to look around cause our kids are quite active and especially Julius is running everywhere and need constant watch. He also ran into the sea... Thank god we have sandy beach which is perfect with kids! Wet clothes were only damage.
Beautiful sunset impressed Vilma so much that she made little dance.


At the evening I watched moths coming to our terrace and I got pretty impressive collection of new ones for me. nice bird record was also singing Tawny Owl quite far, but still it was easy to hear from the patio.

Staurophora Celsia

Staurophora Celsia.

Hypomeis Roboraria.

Chloroclysta Siterata.

Colotois Pennaria.

Xestia C-nigrum

Ennomos Alniarius.

Thera Firmata.

On 8th we just hanged around the area and I had few nice birds including migrating Two-barred Crossbill and Red-breasted Flycatcher. I took only few pics of Vagrant Darter dragonfly and played with my kids. After dinner we left back home.

Vagrant Darter, Sympetrum Vulgatum. 

Thanks to my Father and Sari for hosting us. Always a pleasure to visit!
After the weekend I started my work again and now there is almost too much work to do and I have promised to do some shifts in three different places. Wish me luck.


6. syyskuuta 2019

Short walk close by and little bit raptor watch. 3.9-5.9.2019

On 3rd of September I had only little time to take Julius out and check the fields near by. Nothing really interesting until we had gorgeous 1cy Hen Harrier. Later I realized that it was new stroller tick for me! Bird was migrating quite high, so no reason to take any photos of the little dot in the sky. With binoculars it was relatively easy to id.

Tree Sparrow.

Scenery near my house. 

Juvenile White Wagtail.

On 4th I picked Vilma from daycare and when we walked back to our house I noticed a huge flock of Jackdaws and Crows in flight. First year (1cy) Peregrine Falcon was flying above us! So that was the reason for all the birds in the air! Nice record and year tick.

Jackdaws. I tried to catch that Peregrine, but no success. 

Yesterday on 5th I had two hours and I decided to spend it at the Vuosaari Hill. I arrived after nine a clock and Mikko Salonen was only observer when I came.
Together we did what we could, but only three adult Honey Buzzards, one Common Buzzard, male Marsh Harrier, few Hobbies and local Ospreys were all we had. One distant Harrier which never came to id distance.
Anyway even with out the birds I enjoyed to stay there. Next time maybe something more, but generally watching birds from one spot is the way I like it.

Vuosaari Hill. 

Migrating Honey Buzzards. 

Weekend in summerhouse, so maybe pot from there next.


29. elokuuta 2019

Raptor watch at the Vuosaari hill. 29.8.2019

Like it was planned I went to check Vuosaari Hill if some raptors would have any movement today. I picked up Tyron from his home and we arrived to the hill at 12.30.
Few people just left and when we reached the watching point there was only Matti Koljonen with us. No worries and we started to scan the sky.
Pretty quickly we noticed that this is not the day when we count the record migration. Only some local Hobbies and local Osprey flying around. Maybe one or two migrating Sparrow Hawks, but that was all.
One of few Sparrow Hawks we saw from the hill. 

It was about ten past one when Matti noticed a harrier flying towards us from East. Bird was definitely either Montagu´s or Pallid Harrier. Slender wings and overall shape, style of flying and all pointed towards smaller harriers. I got only some record shots, cause some reason my camera does not like to focus on flying birds... My first thought was that bird is Pallid Harrier, but my experience limits mostly on juveniles and males, and this was female of some age. These can be tricky so I just took photos and when it passed our point I sent an alarm message to our system.
We checked the photos and I was pretty sure that the bird was still Pallid.

Adult female Pallid Harrier.

Adult female Pallid Harrier. 

These Harriers are always nice to see and especially finding your own bird made this so great. Later I add some photos to Vuosaari Hill Facebook group and thanks to Kimmo Heiskanen he agreed with me about the ID.

So we continued our watch and because there is a huge influx of Red-footed Falcons in Finland and other countries near by, it was on my waiting list.
Sky was still empty. Few White-tailed Eagles, Honey Buzzard and Common Buzzard, that was all until the time was four to two when I noticed a small, very pale falcon kind of thing flying towards us from West. It dropped very low, so I had to watch it with forest backgrounds. When it came little closer I was sure that I am watching juvenile Red-footed Falcon. I have seen few of these but this bird really looked like it self, if you can say it that way. I told the Matti and Tyron where the bird was and it was actually little complicated to talk with two language and try to tell what it was doing and where it was going. All went well and we all saw the bird nicely.

Bird in view. 

Juvenile Red-footed Falcon.

Juvenile Red-footed Falcon. 

In few minutes the bird disappeared and we left, cause I had to go and pick Vilma from daycare.
I dropped Tyron and we both were happy. Red-footed Falcon was lifer for him and I was just very pleased that I saw it.
I hope this influx will bring more and more birds to Finland and maybe one or two could stay nicely on one place, so I could get some decent picture of it. Well, who know.
This weekend Sanni goes to Krakóv so I have the kids by my self.  That means no birding if something really rare does not pop up.