24. tammikuuta 2021

Slaty-backed Gull in Kouvola 24.1.2021

Yesterday afternoon I was doing some groceries when I got message to our alarm system. "Putative Slaty-backed Gull in Kouvola" Shiit... I missed the first for Finland by three minutes so obviously I was super interested about the bird. Still, no chance to go and twitch that moment, so I had to made some plans for this morning. 
I started around nine o clock this morning and I arrived to the site about 1.5 hours later. River bank, where the bird was seen was full of birders and my min target was very easy to see. It was swimming near the shore, but soon moved a it further. I started to watch the gull and see all the features. At some point it moved back near us so I got pretty decent photos despite the poor light. 
Bird was adult in winter plumage and quite easy to ID, but I can imagine what went through finders head when she watched this beast. Elissa Soikkeli was the finder of the bird, congrats! 
Here is few pictures of the bird.

Typical head markings and broad white edges. 

Back color is very different than other dark-backed gulls here.

Slaty-backed Gull.

And again, what a bird and so so rare.

On my way back I had about seven Grey Partridges from my car and soon I decided to drive to Riihimäki, cause Crested Lark was seen there earlier same day. Bird has been there already some weeks, but finally I had time to visit the site. 
First I arrived to the wrong place, but I collected Common Pheasant to my year list from there and I had to drive another 1,5 km to the right place. 
Some other birders around too and took me about five minutes to find the bird. It was sitting on a branch and soon landed quite near. Poor light there too, so record shots only.. Great bird anyway. 

Dark morph male Common Pheasant.

Crested lark on a branch.

Crested Lark on the ground.

What a day. Great birds, great people twitching. Quite much driving again, but it was really worth it. Again, congrats to Elissa who found the Gull! What a weird place to see bird like this. Also almost forgot to mention that we twitched Twite to my stroller list with Julius yesterday. Quick twitch without camera this time, but one of my easiest missing species left with strollers.
Slaty-backed was my lifer number 345 in Finland, so if there is any luck this year, I might reach the 350. Who knows?

More birds next week, I hope. 


17. tammikuuta 2021

Too much snow and freezing temperatures. 17.1.2021

 This week we had two days of blizzard and around half a meter of snow during that time. At the same time temperatures dropped to -18 degrees, so we are having real winter there in Helsinki. Most of the lingering birds took off, but some stayed and today I had time to try to see some of those. 

Again I went to Vuosaari and I started from Uutela where Redwing was spending winter on one feeder with some Blackbirds and other common birds. First 30 minutes didn´t gave me anything, so I went to check another feeder near by. This second one was little more in the forest so I was not surprised to hear Willow Tit near by, didn´t see the bird but hearing is almost a good as seeing it. Coal Tits, Great Tits and Blue Tits there too with lone Great-spotted Woodpecker. Soon Jouni Rytkönen walked to the feeder and together we went back to the first place. This time I had successful twitch and Redwing showed up in ten minutes. No change to get any good photos of the bird sitting on a branch up high, but record shot, like always. 


Bird did not move from that spot during the time I was there..

Blue Tit snack.

This Great Tit had ring.

Goldfinch feeder.

After the thrush I went to Porslahti where Pygmy Owl was seen just few moments earlier. First I drove to the wrong place so took me little bit more time to see the owl, but there it was and here is my poor picture of it. Maybe same bird which was seen in the area last autumn. 

Pygmy Owl.

Those eyes. What a awesome bird.

I was tying to capture Yellowhammer and view, but this was best I got. 

After the Owl I drove to other side of the gold course to another feeder. This time I had to wait almost 20 minutes before the star bird showed up. Song Thrush is wintering at this feeder and finally it came to have some snack. Not too often you got Redwing and Song Thrush at the same day in January! 

Song Thrush.

During the wait there was at least two Great-spotted Woodpeckers and distant calling Northern Raven. 

Along the day I had also two Northern Goshawks, many Greenfinches, Yellowhammers and lots of Goldfinches. 

34 species so far this year and there is easily about 20 more only if I have some time during next weeks. Let´s see what happens. 


12. tammikuuta 2021

New year new birds. 10.1.2020

 After busy start of the year at work and home I finally managed to have some time for birds last Sunday 10th of January. I Started from Vuosaari and more specific Meri-Rastila where Three-toed Woodpecker was seen that same morning. I arrived to the site and other birder showed me the tree where the bird was actively searching food. I have always liked the combination of black and white with that small yellow area in the head with male birds. Somehow exotic. I took several series of pictures, but nothing really good this time. Bird was always behind branch or in bad position. Great bird anyway and nice start for my day. 

First picture of the woodpecker. not too photogenic..

A bit better. Still hard. 

Almost the full bird here. 

Three-toed Woodpecker. 

I continued to Porslahti, where same Hawk Owl what I saw last year was still around. Little bit walking to the place. Loads of photographers around the poor thing, so I decided to take few pics and then I left. Also small flock of Yellowhammers during my walk. It is very quiet around these days. 

Northern Hawk Owl.


Just before I went back home I tried to twitch Common Kingfisher from the known site without any luck. I spend almost an hour there, but all I saw was Mallards, Blackbirds and other common birds. 

At this point I have seen 26 birds so far.. More to come for sure. Now we are having epic blizzard here in Helsinki and almost 25cm snow in one day! Let´s see what happens and when I´m able to do some proper birding again. 

Happy new year to everybody.