30. huhtikuuta 2020

Local birding and some twitching 30.4.2020

Hello, Today I had rare chance to watch birds a bit longer than usual. Kids were in daycare and Sanni was working, so time to go out and watch some birds.
I spend three hours in Hakala tower in Vanhankaupunginlahti. During that time I was hoping to see some migration and maybe something rare. My wishes did not come true this time, but I had realy good time and nice species. For example 34 Ruffs were nice, two Little Gulls, Spotted Redshank, Arctic Tern, two Garganeys, Yellow Wagtail and so on, all super nice. I also saw the chick in the White-tailed Eagles nest for the first time. Female eagle gave some fish for it.

Male Northern Showeler. 

Two Little Gulls.


Some flocks of Barnacle Geese migrated today, but the real show is coming soon. Thousands of geese are migrating through the Finland in some weeks. 

So, after I left the tower I went home to have quick snack and then I drove to Vantaa where I twitched Mandarin Duck to my year list. This species is always nice to see and normally it gives you an opportunity to take some nice images of it. Today was no exeption.

Small lake in Simonkylä where the bird was haning with few Mallards and some Gulls. 

"how you doing" 

Males are good looking birds. 

Mandarin Duck. 

It was quite quick visit and soon I was driving towards Tuusula and I was hoping that Lesser White-fronted Goose would show up again. It was seen this morning, but no updates during the day.
I arrived to the place and there was no Geese or any other birds around. I drove a bit further and I met another twitcher who said that no sighn of the flock.. That was bad news. Anyway I drove around the area about 20 kilometers and all I saw was huge young White-tailed Eagle and female Hen Harrier. Harrier was year tick, but not the one I wanted to see this time.
I decided to go back to Helsinki cause I promised Sanni that I will pich her up from work. I took this photo of smart looking Fieldfare while I waited her to come.


Afterall I had nice day with many new birds for the year. Days like this are real disappearing joy and I have to make the most of these everytime it is possible.
Tomorrow or Sunday I will try to twitch Little Crake from Lohja if it stays, so more birds in few days I hope.


26. huhtikuuta 2020

Summerhouse and local birding. 25.4-26.4.2020

Yesterday we had nice few hour visit to our summerhouse in Loviisa. Not much birding there but I managed to see Crested Tit and migrating Eurasian Whimbler. Loads of Crested Grebes, Common Terns, Mute Swans, Cormorants, Tree Creepers, lone White-tailed Eagle etc. Julius wanted to swim and he ran straight to the ocean.. All the clothes on of course. There is a lots of work to keep that little kid away from there..  Anyway it was nice to visit there and next weekend going there for over night visit, if weather is good.

Common Tern.

Today I had nice few hours in Vanhankaupunginlahti. I cycled to Hakala tower and spend the whole time there. It was quite slow day but some nice spring birds around. Barn Swallow, House Martin, two Common Greenshanks, about ten Caspian Terns, four Green Sandpipers, migrating Rough-legged Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, two Common Kestrels, Sparrow- and Goshawks etc. Time is running there and soon I had to go back home.

Caspian Tern.

Caspian Tern and possibly Rutilus Rutilus 

White Wagtail, one of my favorite birds.

Year list is soon about 140 species and in May the number will increase rapidly. At the moment we are enjoying long northern winds, so fingers crossed that it will turn and more migrants will arrive soon.


20. huhtikuuta 2020

Evening watch. 19.4.2020

Yesterday I had nice two hours in Vanhankaupunginlahti. I arrived to Hakala bird tower little after 5:pm and luckily there was only two people, so enough room. Loads Teals around and it was clearly the most common duck around. I also found few pairs of Showeler and Wigeon from the flock.

White-tailed Eagle was sitting in their nest and I heard that there is already one chick hatched! Other birds worth to mention were three Common Terns, lone Caspian tern flying far away, flock of 21 Eurasian Curlews and quick views of possible Jack Snipe.
I scanned the sky and water area many times, but after few rounds there was not too many new birds.
I knew about Slavonian Grebe record from the place, so I tried to find it.
At some point I had nice chat with some other birders when one of the White-tailed Eagles decided to give us a little show. Bird came relatively close and I got some images of this majestic creature.

White-tailed Eagle.

Nice Evening light. 

What a bird. 

Before I left I finally found the Slavonian Grebe resting with Crested Grebes and boy it was far.. I measured the distance from internet map later and distance between me and the Grebe was about 850-900 meters. Also migrating Merlin and Marsh Harriers were nice to see and only raptors with the Eagles during my watch.

Part of the flock of 21 Eurasian Curlews continued their migration. 

White-tailed Eagle pair in their nest. 

Bird in the middle is Slavonian Grebe, like I mentioned, the distance was about 900m.

Small flock of Barnacle Geese were flying around and they landed somewhere close behind the woods. 

It was so nice to be in the tower and thanks to the other birders for company. I got two new species to my year list.
This week is normally working on weekdays and then maybe some free time next weekend. I will try to find some time for the birds this week too. April is soon over and the real rarity month, May is just around the corner.


18. huhtikuuta 2020

Ring Ouzel and Pallid Harrier. 18.4.2020

This was a long day. My wife was at work whole day and when she came back home I was exhausted, tired and a bit cranky cause kids were just running around the house and I had all day watched the alarm messages of rare birds around Finland. Nothing really rare today, but some nice going with Pallid Harriers etc..
Anyway I went to Haltiala to twitch a long staying Ring Ouzel. I just arrived when I noticed my old friend Frans Silvenius and after I parked my car we started to search the bird.
Took me about one minute to find it, but a bit shame cause bird was sitting in high grass quite far a way. It was easy to identify but taking any photos was different..
The bird stayed in same spot the whole time we were there and it was quite boring to watch. I found a flock of 26 Common Cranes migrating quite far a way, but nothing else interesting. Skylarks were singing and some Linnets, Starlings and Fieldfares in the field with the Ouzel.

Male Ring Ouzel.

Always nice to see this species. 

Soon I headed back home and went to have some groceries. Later I noticed an alarm of Pallid Harrier male from Vanhankaupunginlahti and this time it was heading quite nicely towards my house. I went upstairs and started to look the sky. Soon I saw an Harrier which was flying so, how you say it? Pallid Harrier like. Even with my binoculars I saw the wingtip that it was totally black but had some kind of thinner black area. Bird it self looked like white. Soon it disappeared behind the buildings and I never saw it again. Very nice tick from home, i´d like to say.
Tomorrow I will have evening watch at Vanhankaupunginlahti, so more birding tomorrow and I bet I will post something about that too.


11. huhtikuuta 2020

Hanko 10.4.2020

So, we had nice almost full day trip to Hanko with my uncle Jan. I left home around five am and after hour and a half I arrived to Hanko area were we met. For safety reasons we had two cars.
our starting point was at Högholmen, which is a quite high cliff where you can have sea watch. We spend there about an hour and migration was very slow.. Tons of Common Eiders around, pair of Shelducks, one small flock of Common Scooters, some Swans, Pintail and other common stuff.

Common Eiders.

Högholmen cliff. 

Whooper Swan.
Common Shelducks.

After Högholmen we drove to Täktom fields, or I did. Not really much birds, but at least some Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and five species of Thrushes.
I drove back a bit and I noticed Jände talking with Dick Forsman. It was nice to see Dick after long time.
Soon we continued to the place called Kobben. I visited there last time I was in Hanko with Tyron and it was good spot. This time the water level was little it too high and place only held some Red Shanks, Oystercatchers, lone Common Snipe, pair of Common Cranes and a bit surprising Caspian Tern. We had nice watch there behind a small hut which gave us wind shelter.

Kobben road. 
After Kobben we made short visit to Ryssholmen beach, but nothing interesting there..

Ryssholmen beach. 

Just before the main road from Ryssholmen I noticed an small bird with rusty red tail. I stopped my car and Black Redstart was sitting on a branch. I came out and told Jände about the bird. We both saw it nicely, but it disappeared before any photos.. We searched the area and I´m wuite sure I saw it again briefly, but after that nothing. Mistle Thrush and Robin were around. Good species and always nice to have self found bird.
After the Redstart we went to check Neljäntuulentupa and have some sea watch again. Still slow at the sea and we had only 30 minutes there.

It was sunny and warm. 

Soon we were back in Taktom to have some raptor watch and it was nice to see that at least 6 White-tailed Eagles, two Common Buzzards and Marsh Harrier were flying around. Mistle Thrush was singing. Dick was there also and we said Hi before we left.
Last place in Hanko area was Longören and there we only had some other birders and almost zero birds..

White Wagtail in Longören. 

We checked the map and soon we were driving towards Raasepori where we had some food before we moved to Evitskog to check a flock of Geese. There was lone Brent Goose in mixed flock of Greater White-fronted and Bean Geese with almost hundred Barnacle Geese.
We found the flock but no Brent Goose...

Flock was distant, but quite easy to watch with telescope. 

After this we called it a day. We drove to Espoo where I did some shopping for Jände and we left.
I quickly stopped in Suomenoja to tick Slavonian Grebe to my year list before I went back home.
Suomenoja is one of the largest nesting sites for Black-headed Gull in capital area. 

Grebe disappeared soon after I found it so no photos this time.
I had great day, even though we didn´t see anything really interesting. With my uncle I have had the best moments with birds and I hope we can do this together forever. Thanks for the company.
Nine new birds to my year list and now the number is 120. More is coming soon.

Stay safe.


Local frogs and few new birds for the year. 8-9.4.2020

On 8th of April I had nice evening walk with my kids to see our local celebrities, Frogs in Viikki. It seems that annually they are here to breed and this time there was huge gathering of Frogs and quite impressive load of spawn. Kids were impressed of the Frogs and they wanted to see those also next evening when my mother came and visited the place with us. We kept the distances of course!
Here is few pictures from the Frog place

Loads of Frog spawn. 


Frog selfie. 

This one looked a bit pissed. 

I have also had few short visits to Vanhankaupunginlahti recent days. On 6th of April I had few nice birds from Purolahti like flock of five Tundra Swans and Red Shank. On 8th I had Lesser Ringed Plover and Pintail duck. 9th I twitched our local Common Moorhen about 400m from our house.
Here is few photos of those birds.

One of four Red shanks. 

Common Moorhen. 
Whooper Swan flock in front and Tundra Swan flock behind them Taken with my mobile phone.. 

On 10th we had nice day at Hanko with my uncle, but more about that in next post.


5. huhtikuuta 2020

Evening in Kallvik and quick visit to Vanhankaupunginlahti 4.4-5.4.2020

Yesterday evening we had nice short visit to Kallvik, in Vuosaari with my family. Kids were playing and I checked the sea for some new ticks for the year.
I had couple of nice birds including Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull, pair of Red-breasted Mergansers, Rock Pipit and some Common Eiders.
Pipit was a real surprise and I was lucky to stand in a right spot when I heard it calling.
Few pictures from Kallvik here.

Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Black-headed Gull.

Black-headed Gull.

Vilma found something from the sand. 
Sanni found this cool Saduria Entomon from the beach. 

Today I had nice two hours in Vanhankaupunginlahti. First I stopped at Purolahti tower and from there I had male Pochard, pair of northern Shovelers, loads of Eurasian Teals, lone male Eurasian Wigeon and tens of Grey Herons. Bay was partially frozen and birds were quite far away.
From Purolahti I went to Keinumäki tower and there is spent almost an hour. I found lone White Wagtail near the tower, two Eurasian Oyster catchers, two Common Snipes, tens of Grey Herons and nice movement of Siskins are something worth to mention.

Flock of Grey Herons from Keinumäki tower.

View from Keinumäki.


Male Siskin.

Distant photo of White Wagtail. 

Loads of new species to my year list in two days. Now I´m over 100 and heading to next hundred maybe in few months.
Next week we are going to Hanko with my Uncle Jände, so at least one day with birds coming. If the weather continues how it should we are expecting a huge migration in few days, but let´s see what is going to happen.