Twitching a Desert Wheatear

On the 1st of December I had planned to wake up at 5 a.m. but my phone didn’t wake me up as I had planned. Luckily I woke up to check the time at 5:45 and after 5 minutes I was driving towards south. I sent messages to Samsa Cairenius that I will pick him up at 6:45 and then to Pekka Punnonen that we’ll be in Lappeenranta at 7 a.m. And my schedule was exactly that, so at 7 a.m. we were packing our equipment to Petri Salakka’s car and soon were driving towards Helsinki.

We stopped once in Lapinjärvi Pukaro where we also saw a Hawk Owl and after a long drive we parked our car to Helsinki Kivikko at 9:30 a.m. We started to walk towards agility-park and right then got a message that a Desert Wheatear that had been found 2 days earlier was still found. And soon we saw the bird perched on the fence in front of us The bird was showing extremely well but there was still no light to get good pictures. But soon there were more and more birders coming so we decided to go birding.

We checked briefly the surrounding of Viikki farm, but saw only a couple of Blackbirds. Then we continued to Arabianranta where we saw 2 Canada Geese and 3 Barnacle Geese. While we were walking back to our car Petri mentioned that he had never seen a Kittiwake, only a minute after that we got a message that a Kittiwake that had been seen in a couple of days in Kirkkonummi had been seen again. So after 50 minutes (and after we had seen one more Hawk Owl in Sunds) we parked to Kirkkonummi Bussviken and walked to the shore. We sea-watched for 30 minutes and saw mostly Common Gulls before I found the young Kittiwake that flew just 20 meters from us in perfect light!

So soon we continued to Salfjärden where we saw our third Hawk Owl of the day, a Grey Heron and a Goshawk. Then we continued to Espoo Otaniemi where we managed to find a Song Thrush that had been reported to Tiira on the previous day. But Laajalahti was mostly frozen, so nothing else interesting was found. Then it was time to start a long way back home. We had really had a great twitching trip!

J.A.