Bongariliitto weekend in Helsinki

On Friday the 20th of November I drove to Kirkkonummi. On the way I stopped in Imatra Immalanjärvi and saw 5 Long-tailed Ducks, a Velvet Scoter and a Scaup.

On Saturday I woke up early and headed to Espoo Kaitalahti where had been a flock of Bearded Reedlings and 2 Little Grebes. It was still dark when I arrived at Kaitalahdenranta as it was only 7:55 a.m. I saw a passerine flushed from the parking place and decided to go to have a look what it was as it looked like a bunting. Kaitalahdenranta is very good place for Reed Buntings and they are even wintering there but when I found the bird that was again on the road, it looked too small and different. It was absolutely too dark to see any real identification marks, but the birds really looked like a Little Bunting! Then a man came walking towards me and flushed the bird away from the road. Luckily I found the bird again and after some time it started to get lighter and I could really see that it was a Little Bunting!

I tried to get some pictures of the Little Bunting but it was still too dark. So I checked the bay and walked back later and there the bird still was. After some 30 minutes trying I managed to get a picture where the bird was easy to identify. And as there still were no twitchers, I decided to move to Kaitalahti bird-tower to try to twitch Bearded Reedlings.

(Pictures here are pretty much what I saw in the beginning and then a picture taken much later with 1 second exposure).

Soon I got some phone-calls that the bunting had disappeared. And even there were people for whole day, nobody else saw it! I managed to hear a couple of Bearded Reedlings and also a Reed Bunting, but never saw a Little Grebe. Soon I had to drive back to Kirkkonummi from where I took a train to Helsinki where we had Bongariliitto (twitchers association) meetings. After the meetings Markus Lampinen and Juho Könönen showed pictures from their ringing trip to Baikal. And I was back at Kirkkonummi after 9 p.m.

On Sunday I headed to Kaitalahti again but saw really nothing there. In Suomenoja I saw 12 Gadwalls and then I headed to Kirkkonummi Masala where I managed to twitch a Hoopoe pretty easily even though there were plenty of twitchers that hadn’t seen the bird earlier in the morning at all. At midday I went to eat to my parents and soon I started a long drive towards Parikkala.

In Porvoo I twitched a Little Grebe in Seitlaxfjärden and in Pyhtää I tried to twitch Red-crested Pochards without luck. I did see 30 Smews and 24 Coots there.

J.A.