19. helmikuuta 2019

Water Rail 17.2.2019

During my day at work I had some spare time and I decided to use it for birds. I checked few places in Eira but no sign of yesterdays Great-grey Owl... I had few Long-tailed Ducks, many Mergansers and Mallards at the Eira shore.
When I was driving back to the place I'v working I remembered that there is Water Rail wintering near by. I parked, walked and noticed bird in the open searching some food. My timing was perfect cause after two minutes the bird was gone and I didn't see it anymore. Here is some photos of the bird.

Water Rail.

Searching for food.

Walking on a log.

Maybe it saw something.

Walking in the water.

Part 2.

Water Rail is quite rare during the winter months, but this bird has been in same little place every winter since 2017.

Awesome bird and always a pleasure to see.


13. helmikuuta 2019

Fuerteventura days five, six and seven. 25.1-28.1.2019

On 25th we had some plans to visit northern part of the island and especially the famous Popcorn beach. It is a small beach where basically 50 of stones are some kind of white coral.
It was an hour drive and then about 15 minutes of small bumpy road before we arrived there. About 1km before the small road we had two Egyptian Vultures, but birds turned into the wrong direction, so still no photos of the Egyptian Vulture.

Place was almost empty, only few tourists around, so we had time to explore the area by our selves. Vilma was enjoying the corals stones and sea and I checked the beach for some birds.

Lanzarote from Popcorn Beach.

One of five Whimbrels.

Vilma and Atlantic ocean.

There was lots of Yellow-legged Gulls, lone Little Egret, five Whimbrels, Turnstone and some Common Sandpipers. After an hour we left cause everybody were hungry. We found a lovely tavern from Lajares and food was good, again! 

After food we went to Tindaya for the Houbara Bustards. I was driving the small road after the little village and I noticed two other cars in the area. We crossed with one and I asked about the birds, and friendly birdwatcher from Germany told us that he had one Bustard after first turn to right. I thanked the guy and soon we were in the right place. I found the bird displaying and running around the stony desert! While we watched the bustard a small flock of Lesser short-toed Larks were feeding aroudn our car with some Berthelot´s Pipits and small flock of Trumpeter Finches went over our car. 
This place was a real hot spot! My only wish was that we could see the Bustard little bit closer, but it stayed in distance. 

Houbara Bustard


Again in evening light. 

Lesser Short-toed Lark

And same bird again.

Landscape was amazing. 

I was so happy, again! One of the target species in the bag and my wife was actually first time little bit excited about my twitching and birds! Mostly it was because the scenery was so breath taking. 
From Tindaya we drove back to our hotel and had amazing food, again. Chocolate fountain was Vilmas favorite. 

On 26th we had beach time and not really birding. I had Sparrow Hawk over the Caleta Fuste an our local Sandwich Terns were around. I took some photos of the Collared Doves, cause juveniles were funny looking fellows. Later evening there was small flock of 8 Plain Swifts over the town. 

Some kind of Moth. 

Juvenile Collared Dove.

Adult bird. 

On 27th We visited Betancuria, the oldest town in Fuerteventura. We had to cross some mountains and our car was in trouble with the uphills, but place was really worth of driving. 


Raven with a ring.

Vilma and flower. 

Vilma in Betancuria.

I had amazing local food there and trip was great. Beautiful small place, only lots of tourists around. Some big Dragonflies there, but no idea what kind, lots of Painted Ladys, Red Admirals and calling Yellow-Browed Warbler were nice. Other birds from the city were pair of Kestrels, many Ravens, Sardinian Warbler and Common Buzzard. 
On our way back we stopped on a amazing lookout place. There was two huge statues and amazing view over the smaller mountains. Here is some photos from there. 
Berthelot´s Pipit.

Same bird again.

Amazing view from the lookout place. 

Vilma noticed that these guys are only wearing underwear... Sharp girl! 

When we drove back I negotiate some birding time before filling the gas tank for the next days departure. I dropped my family to the hotel and I drove to the Lesser Scaup place. Bird was showing nicely with all three Teals. 

Lesser Scaup.

I checked as much as I can of the area, but nothing really interesting there. Then I wanted to check the other Golf Course area near by. I heard some rumors that the owner is cranky old man who calls a police if you go inside the course area. So I drove around the open places and it was my second round when I saw something interesting. 
I stopped my car and raised my binoculars and then I saw it. 

Allen´s Gallinule walking openly for few seconds and then disappeared behind little bank. 
Even in few seconds I noticed that bird was different looking than Costa Calmas bird. This was more greenish and light colored. Of course I saw only photos of the other bird. A moment after it disappeared I heard a weird sound, and I think it was the bird. It was dry nasal sound and it came only once. 
I tried to find a way to look where it went, but some staff walking around, so I didn´t want to go further. I stayed another 30 minutes but nothing else than Ruddy Shelducks. 

Ruddy Shelduck. 

I informed my record to Eduardo and then I had to fill my tank and go back to our hotel. It was time for dinner again and some packing before last morning and flight back home. 

On 28th we had only time for breakfast before we had to return our car and go to airport. Some Kestrels and one Grey Shrike during the drive. Plane was little late and because there was snowstorm in Finland, our flight was late too and total time in plane was over 7 hours. Thank god my friend Otto picked us from the airport and took us home with car. 

What a amazing tip we had. I had at least 39 species of birds, many species of Butterflies and lots of good memories with my family. 

I must thank Eduardo Garcia Del Rey for the tips and guidance. Also thanks to Jorma Tenovuo who gave me a map of the best places and tips for the trip. and finally thanks to my wonderful family for company and everything. 
I got five lifers and saw three rare birds in short period of time! 

Spring i just around the corner and in a month we have more and more birds coming back to Finland. Let´s see what happens. We are moving near the best place for birding in Helsinki, so I will try to go out more than ever. 


Fuerteventura day three and four 23.1-24.1.2019

On 23rd we mostly spent our day lying on the beach and having good family time. We visited Puerto del Rosario, which is the capital of Fuerteventura. Shopping mall and beach was nice and I had a small flock of Sandwich Terns flying around the beach. We collected some sea shells and Vilma made a little sand castle. Good times.

Geranium Bronze, Cacyreus Marshalli.

Puerto Del Rosario was nice and worth to visit. 

At the evening we made small walk around the Castello de fuste beaches before dinner and I had more Common Sandpipers and Sandwich Terns near our hotel.

Distant Sandwich Terns at the shore. Sun was setting and light was disappearing fast when this photo was taken. 

On 24th I headed to my main target of this trip, the Dwarf Bittern place Barranco de Río Cabras. There was bad news about the Bittern and some twitchers spent lots of time with out any sign of the bird.

Still, I was there and I wanted to see the bird, so I arrived to the place at 10.30 am. When I parked my car I had distant Barbary Falcon and Juvenile Canary Island Egyptian Vulture, but because of the distance, there is no photos of those birds.
 I walked to the place where was the biggest water area and there I had some Black-winged Stilts, Greenshank, Little Egrets and Ruddy Shelducks, but nothing really interesting yet. I walked a bit and a pair of Canary Island Chats started to move around me and they were showing nicely all the time after I found them. Chat was a lifer for me of course.

Male Canary Island Chat.

Same bird, but closer. 

Female Canary Island Chat.

I decided to walk a bit more and when I walked on the edge of the riverbed I some how flushed the Bittern and noticed it flying quite near me. I saw where it landed and during the walk closer I sent message to Eduardo Garcia Del Rey that bird is still in the area.
I was closer to the place where the bird landed and suddenly it flied again and this time I didn´t see where.
Thank god it was close and I managed to get some poor flight shots of it before it landed in vegetation near, but behind the bushes.

Record shots before the bird landed in vegetation. 

I went closer again and found it sitting on a branch behind some leafs and other vegetation. I managed to take some poor photos before it walked lower and disappeared.

This was all I got before the bird disappeared.. 
In this vegetation I last saw the bird before I left. 

Maybe needless to say that I was super happy that I relocated the bird. This was a real MEGA from the Western Palearctic. Fifth for Spain and 7th for Western Palearctic. After this bird there has been one juvenile bird in Fuerteventura and one first winter bird taken care in Gran Canaria. 
Other birds in the area were a small flock of Trumpeter Finches, two Great Grey Shrikes and few Berthelot´s Pipits.

I also checked the Lesser Scaup place after I arrived back to Castello Caleta De Fuste and this time there was Tundra Bean Goose which is first for Canary Islands and found last November. Shame that it was flushed by some golfers and golf cart before any photos... Lesser Scaup was nicely there and Eurasian Spoonbill was flying over the Golf course. 
Lesser Scaup.

Distant Eurasian Spoonbill. 

After I drove back to our hotel we went to some local steak house and I had 38oz t-bone steak, which is 1077g and it was big! It took me about 25 minutes to eat it and it was worth every penny! 
At the evening we had nice walk and good food in our hotel restaurant. What a awesome day with rare birds and good food with my family! 


12. helmikuuta 2019

Fuerteventura day one and two 21.1-22.1.2019

Finally I have time to write something about our trip to Canary Islands.

We arrived to the Fuerteventura on 21st of January and cause our flight was quite early we had whole day ahead. I picked up our rental car and we drove to our hotel in Castillo Caleta de Fuste. I really can recommend our hotel Barceló Castello beach resort. We had great food and clean rooms every day.
I had info about the local rarities in the island and we made 2km walk to Salinas Golf Club area where a female Lesser Scaup was hanging with three Common Teals. Scaup was showing well, though it was quite far away. Also Ruddy Shelducks, lots of Yellow-legged Gulls and Spanish Sparrows around.

Distant photo of the Lesser Scaup.

On our way back to hotel we had huge group of Barbary Ground Squirrels and some butterflies like Painted Lady and Clouded Yellow. Also Common Sandpipers, a Ruddy Turnstone and more Yellow-legged Gulls along the shore.

I think this is a Clouded Yellow, Colias Croceus.

Barbary Ground Squirrel, Atlantoxerus Getulus.

Rest of the first day we had good food, some well deserved beer and swimming in the pool.

On 22nd we made trip to Oasis Park which is large Zoo in Fuerteventura. We had about an hour drive and area was so nice and big, so we spend there about 5 hours.
We started from Lemur Experience where you can see Lemurs very closely.

Family photo. 

Me and Lemur. 

Vilma was super excited about Giraffes, Hippos and Elephants and cause we don´t have those in our zoos in Finland, it was very nice to see all those large animals. Never thought that I would give an apple to Giraffe!

This Grey Heron was outside of the zoo area, maybe waiting all the tourist to leave and then going to fish in some pool there. 

Berthelot´s Pipit inside of the zoo area, but wild bird of course. 

Vilma and Giraffe. 

After the zoo we drove to Costa Calma which was the place for the rarities in the island. At least two Yellow-browed Warblers, one Red-breasted Flycatcher and Allen´s Gallinule was seen there only day before. We walked around the park where the birds were seen and soon I heard two different Yellow-browed Warblers calling constantly. Weird that this Siberian warbler was so far a way from home. Also the Red-breasted Flycatcher came to open and it was showing nice for a few seconds and then it flew away. No change to take photos with my slow super zoom camera..
We walked and walked but no sign of the Gallinule and after and hour and a half we left. Lots of birds in the park including flock of Goldfinches, Red-vented Bulbuls, some kind of Chiffchaffs and Sparrows.

Red-vented Bulbul. 

We drove back to our hotel and during the drive I had one Common Buzzard and couple of Great Grey Shrikes. Nice meal in hotel again and some walking in the Caleta de Fuste after that.

More coming later.