Some action in Joroinen

It started to feel like autumn even though there really hadn’t been many summer days at all. So when I had been in Lappeenranta on the 11th of July, I decided to make a visit in Joutseno Kotasaari pools. It had been raining and I hoped to find some waders, but found only a Temminck Stint, a Little Stint, 3 Barnacle Geese and 3 Slavonian Grebes.

On the 12th day I saw a Cormorant in Härskiinmutka and when it finally stopped raining in the afternoon, I visited Saari Pohjanranta and found exactly what I went to look for – 4 Curlew Sandpipers. There were also 2 Grey Herons, a Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank, a Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpipers, 5 Ruffs and 50 Lapwings. Also in Rautalahti I saw a flock of 70 Lapwings but there was nothing better with them.

On Friday the 13th we visited Pohjanranta with Miika Soikkeli and surprisingly the Curlew Sandpipers were still there. All other birds were gone but there was now a young White-tailed Eagle.

During the day I got a message that there was a pratincole-species in Joroinen Pasala fields, but I still had to stay a couple of hours at work. Luckily at 2 p.m. when I was leaving a new message told that it wasn’t a Black-winged which was the only species that I had seen in Finland, so I left twitching! Some id-marks that had been told about the bird fitted actually better for Oriental than Collared Pratincole, so there was a possibility for a WP-tick!

It was a long drive but luckily new messages told that the bird was still there. But then when I had only 7 kilometers to go, my friend “Potu” Suojarinne called me and told the bad news – the bird had left – it had disappeared very high on the sky as disappeared very far. And only after some 5 minutes I was in the place where all other twitchers were smiling and watching their pictures. But still there was no identification.

All I could do was to get my scope and binoculars and start scanning the sky. Potu joined me while almost everyone else, even those who arrived after us were just chatting and wondering what they had seen or missed. After an hour I found a promising looking bird flying strangely, but after all it was just a Kestrel. I also heard that there had been a flock of 170 Lapwings that had disappeared and it seemed that the praticole had left after a couple of Wood Sandpipers. The weather was also perfect for migration – NW wind and getting sunnier all the time. So I started to lose my hope. But then suddenly a flock of at least 150 Lapwings flushed behind some bushes with some Ruffs. At least these birds were still around! And soon after that I found really good looking bird in distance flying quite low towards us! There it was!

I had seen all 3 similar species of pratincoles this year on my trips abroad, but this bird was flying very low and soon landed behind some bushes. Most of the other twitchers had also found it because of my instructions that I had been shouting, but nobody saw where the bird landed. So we had to walk along the road so we could see to the other side of the bushes and it seemed that there was a small patch of lower field behind some higher vegetation. Other twitchers started shouting when they found some Lapwings from the field, but all we could see were the heads of the birds. So with Potu we followed the road until we got a little bit higher and got much better visibility to the field. And soon Potu found the bird! But soon Lapwings flushed the bird again, but at least now everyone saw the bird!

After all the bird was visible most of the evening but never showed really well. I flew a couple of times further to the other side of the field-area and disappeared but always came back pretty soon. Most of the twitcher that had arrived after me were on the other road where the bird could be seen too, so I could only hope that someone could get very good pictures. A couple of timed the bird flew over us and once it was calling quite low and little bit like a Little Gull – “kyik, kyik”. The bird was missing it another long tail feather which made the identification difficult. But it was quite thick, very short-tailed, short and thick-billed and the bill had only quite little red. The upper-stomach had some orange and I couldn’t see any white on the tips of secondaries. So it really looked good for an Oriental Pratincole!

When the bird had once again disappeared probably hunting, we decided to leave with Potu. I really hoped to see some good-quality pictures later.

The bird disappeared on the next morning and after all really good pictures were never got, but some pretty good ones and also some videos. And luckily at least on the video it was possible to see even the roundish nostril. Also some experts abroad were sure that the bird was indeed an Oriental Praticole which was a new species for Finland!

On the 15th of July I did the last duck-count in Siikalahti and didn’t see many ducklings. I saw the only young Black-headed and Common Gull, really only 1 per species, of the year. Only better bird was a Curlew Sandpiper that landed to the only spot where can be waders in Siikalahti.

In the evening we went to see that the closest Red-throated Diver, which is in Punkaharju side of the border, had managed to get one young. In the late evening we still visited Siikalahti where we heard a River Warbler singing.

Kaakkuri

Haapaperhonen

On the 16th day we were driving around some places nearby with Hanna. Our goal was to see some better butterflies, but only 4 Poplar Admirals were seen. In Kullinsuo we saw a Goldfinch. On the 18th day I was again in Lappeenranta and on the way did a stop in Kotasaari where were some common waders with 2 Little Ringed Plovers and a Temminck Stint. Now there were 4 Slavonian Grebes. In Joukionsalmi I counted 140 adult and 25 young Barnacle Geese.

On the 19th of July we did a short trip to Saari where a Black Woodpecker was seen in Akanvaara, a Goldfinch in Pohjasuo and 2 Grey Herons, 2 Dunlins and 2 Red-backed Shrikes in Pohjanranta. In the afternoon I heard a Golden Oriole singing sub-song very beautifully in Siikalahti.

On the 22th day only bird to mention was a young Yellow Wagtail in Siikalahti and on the 23rd day we visited Punkaharju Laukansaari arboretum where we hoped to find some crossbills but found only Common Crossbills. Only 2 Nutcrackers were heard. We also visited Saari again and saw a Hen Harrier and 4 Red-backed Shrikes in Akanvaara Tetrisuo

On the 25th of July I had the last game in Lappeenranta and once again I visited Kotasaari but saw only 3 Green Sandpipers and 3 Ruffs.

J.A.