End half of April

On the 15th of April the spring had arrived to Parikkala too – slowly and unsurely. In Särkisalmi I saw Great Crested Grebes, Smews and a Tufted Duck and in Siikalahti there were already a couple of thousands of geese, mostly Greater White-fronted and Tundra Bean Geese but also already 200 Barnacle Geese. 6 Marsh Harriers, 3 Ospreys, a Hen Harrier, 22 Pintails, 2 Greenshanks and a couple of Rough-legged Buzzards were also seen but the best bird was found on a flooded field nearby where I saw a Common Shelduck.

On the 16th of April there were 2 Cormorants in Särkisalmi and 1 Pochard and Shovelers in Siikalahti. In the evening I got big news as Minna Terävä called that she had seen a couple of hours earlier a duck that she thought was an American Wigeon! Soon she sent a picture and there was a really good-looking American Wigeon! Sun was setting when we hurried to dam-road but we saw only 5 Bewick’s Swans and heard 5 Water Rails before we saw a big flock of wigeons flying to the northern side of the bay to sleep.

On the 17th day I was searching for the American Wigeon alone early in the morning. I had already checked dam-road, Kasinniemi tower and main tower and heading to northern side but stopped again in Kasinniemi. And there the American Wigeon finally was! It was my Siikalahti-tick number 250!

American Wigeon was showing to everyone who came to twitch it early in the morning but then disappeared again. I visited Siikalahti a couple of times and saw a Greylag Goose, a Slavonian Grebe, a couple of White-tailed Eagles, a Merlin, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Common Redshank, a Wren and then a Short-eared Owl in Tetrisuo. The first Black-throated Diver had arrived at Särkisalmi.

On the 18th day there were already 23 Great Crested Grebes in Särkisalmi and in Siikalahti I saw 16 Snow Buntings. We did a short trip to Saari in the afternoon but saw only a couple of Redshanks and Linnets and so on.

On the 19th day it was snowing again. It was extremely cold too! Anyway I managed to see the same American Wigeon and Slavonian Grebe in the evening.

On the 20th of April Siikalahti was mostly frozen! Swans, geese and ducks had managed to keep some parts open. So ducks were easy to count but we couldn’t find the American Wigeon but there was a Little Grebe in one open water area and a Slavonian Grebe on the other one with many ducks. I also saw a Chiffchaff.

Back-winter had forced many birds to feeders and luckily many people were still filling up the feeders. Other people were making open areas to their back-yards where birds could come to feed. I saw several Dunnocks on some feeders. In the afternoon we headed to Saari but saw only a Northern Wheatear and a flock of Snow Buntings and so on. Hanna decided to stay over night in a hide along one open water place. I still visited Siikalahti late in the evening and managed to see the American Wigeon. I wonder where it had been in the morning?

On the 21th day Hanna had been sleeping in a tent in -15 degrees! All the open water areas were even smaller again and there were less birds. In Siikalahti I saw nothing new but I managed to twitch a Ring Ouzel that was visiting one garden. The owner let me take pictures of this stunning bird from his livingroom while the bird was feeding on the grass that had been dug visible.


When I went to pick up Hanna I twitched the same Common Shelduck in Kinnarsalmi and saw a Shore Lark and a flock of Lapland Buntings in Suurenjärvenliete. Otherwise I didn’t see much.

On the 23th of April Siikalahti was open again and I saw a couple of Gadwalls and even 210 Eurasian Wigeons but not American Wigeon. In Rautalahti I saw a flock of 30 Oystercatchers and a Peregrine Falcon and in Joukio I saw a Black Kite.

On the 24th day on my lunch-jour I saw a Greater Spotted Eagle migrating in Siikalahti and in Särkisalmi I saw a lonely Oystercatcher. On the 25th day I saw a Black Kite and a Whimbrel in Siikalahti and after work I went to Saari but it started to snow again very hard. So I saw 4 Gadwalls in Akonpohja but in Pohjanranta the visibility was so bad that I didn’t get out from my car at all.

On the 26th day there were 11 Common Scoters and a Red-throated Diver in Särkisalmi and in Siikalahti I saw again a Black Kite and a Ruff and a Wood Sandpiper. In two visits I saw also altogether 93 migrating Greenshanks. Then we headed to Saari where we saw 4 Bewick’s Swans in Kinnarsalmi, 4 Common Scoters in Akonpohja, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 12 Ruffs, 100 Greenshanks, a Common Redshank and a Wood Sandpiper in Pohjanranta, a Hazel Hen, 40 Greenshanks, a White-backed Woodpecker. 60 Mistle Thrushes and a Lapland Bunting in Suurenjärvenliete and 17 Bewick’s Swans, a Ruff, 52 Greenshanks and 2 Wood Sandpipers in Kanavalampi

On the 27yj of April there were already 52 Black-throated Divers, a Red-necked Grebe, a Red-breasted Merganser and a Common Sandpiper in Särkisalmi. Then we stayed in Siikalahti for the most of the day and saw 2 Bewick’s Swans, 23 Black-throated Divers, 2 Cormorants, even 5 Black Kites, 3 White-tailed Eagles, 4 Hen, even 4 Pallid Harriers and 2 unidentified harriers, 14 Common and 14 Rough-legged Buzzards, a Merlin, a Little and a Common Ringed Plover, 5 Whimbrels, 18 Ruffs, a Common Sandpiper, 98 Greenshanks, 8 Wood Sandpipers, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 2 Barn Swallows, 10 Tree Pipits, a Northern Wheatear and so on.

In the afternoon we headed to Saari but saw nothing special. I dropped Hanna to hide again and then headed to Savonlinna with Arttu Valonen and Veikka Kosonen. We twitched a male Steller’s Eider in Punkasalmi but a Citrine Wagtail wasn’t in Tänkky anymore. So we headed to Riihisaari where we found 2 male Mandarin Ducks and a Mute Swan easily.

On the 28th day a Long-tailed Duck was in Särkisalmi and then I was again in Siikalahti until the afternoon.

The best observation was a Wolverine that I saw jumping to the road! When it saw us it ran a little bit away but luckily turned and stopped looking at us before disappeared to the bushes. A couple of Gadwalls, a Black Kite, a Peregrine Falcon, a Black-tailed Godwit, 29 Ruffs, a Spotted Redshank, a Jack Snipe, 12 Little Gulls, a very early Sand Martin, a Yellow Wagtail, a migrating Citrine Wagtail and probably another one too, 12 Waxwings, a Willow Warbler, 32 Jays, 3 Rooks and 8 Lapland Buntings were seen. In the afternoon I had to drive to Saari again to pick up Hanna but all I saw were a Pink-footed Goose, a Cormorant and a Peregrine in Pohjanranta. In the evening we saw a Short-eared Owl again in Tetrisuo.

On the 29th of April even 3 Citrine Wagtails were found in Siikalahti dam-road. Other birds I saw were a Black Kite, 3 Grey Herons, a couple of Common Redstarts and a Pied Flycatcher. We visited Saari again briefly when Arttu found a Common Whitethroat in Tarassiinlahti and it was a new month-tick for me. In Kanavalampi we saw a Black-tailed Godwit.

On the 30th of April a Bluethroat and a Lesser Whitethroat were singing at dam-road. During my lunch-hour I saw a Black Kite again. In the afternoon we did a good tour in Saari with Harri Hölttä. We saw 7000 Barnacle Geese and a Black Kite in Kirjavala, 4 Gadwalls, a couple of Slavonian Grebes, a Black Kite and a Spotted Redshank in Akonpohja, a couple of Black-tailed Godwits in Suurenjärvenliete and then in Jyrkilä we found a Bar-headed Goose! When we still saw a couple of Oystercatchers and 7 Spotted Redshanks in Tarassii, 4 Bewick’s Swans, a Garganey, a Black Kite, a couple of Little Ringed Plovers and a Common Redshank in Kanavalampi and a Whichat in Karinmäki it is easy to say that we had really had a good trip. In the evening there was still a Peregrine hunting in Siikalahti and a Spotted Crake was calling.