Christmas, winter-bird count and beginning of January

After a trip to Ecuador I had to work a couple of days before a short Christmas break. On the 22nd of December I went to put more food to our feeder in Tiviä and surprisingly heard a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker calling there. I also saw a small flock of Black Grouses and on the next day there was a Nuthatch visiting the feeder.

On Christmas Eve we went to Saari to twitch. On the way we saw a flock of Black Grouses and while we were driving towards Selänne we saw a White-tailed Eagle flying on the sky. In Selänne we found lots of Yellowhammers and also a female Chaffinch. While we were talking with the person who was living there and having the feeder, the Collared Dove arrived to a spruce to the garden. But soon it flew towards the biggest farm that was on the neighbor.

We still visited our own feeder and saw a flock of Long-tailed Tits and a Nuthatch there. The the rest of the day we were in Tarvaslampi with Hanna’s family. There we saw a Pygmy Owl, a Grey-headed Woodpecker and had sauna and ate well.

On Christmas Day I did winter-bird count. I saw 12 Black Grouses, 3 Rock Doves, a Grey-headed Woodpecker, 5 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Goldcrests, 62 Blue, 95 Great and 3 Willow Tits, 2 Treecreepers, a Great Grey Shrike, 6 Jays, 15 Magpies, 54 Jackdaws, 8 Hooded Crows, 7 Ravens, 4 Tree Sparrows, 17 Greenfinches, 35 Bullfinches and 14 Yellowhammers.

On Boxing Day we went to Rautjärvi Simpele Kokkolanjoki where we found a male Pochard in Uudensillankoski. We also saw 2 Whooper Swans, 11 Mallards, 3 Dippers and so on. And on the 28th day the Pochard was still there.


On the 31st of December we drove towards Helsinki. On the way we stopped in Kokkolanjoki and found no Pochard anymore but in Kangaskoski we found a male Long-tailed Duck. In Imatra Vuoksi we saw a Little Grebe and a couple of Tufted Ducks and a Goshawk. In the afternoon we were in familiar Skyline Hotel where we had booked a room. In the evening we went to movies and then went to sleep early. It was again good to sleep near the airport as there weren’t too many fireworks.

Little Grebe

The year was changing and there wasn’t many good birding moments during the year so it was good that the year was finally over. Of course I did three excellent trips to other countries and after all I had 1405 World year -ticks!

On the 1st of January 2023 we woke up early and soon were driving towards Hanko. We were there in Kalasatama about 8 a.m. and soon had seen a Blackbird, Mallards, Common and Herring Gulls, Goldeneyes, Hooded Crows and Jackdaws. Then we walked to Sunnantie where a group of twitchers were already standing.

We talked with some friends but soon some movement was seen under the bushes that were next to the feeder. Some were using thermal cameras and there was a bird or a mouse moving in the bush. After some waiting there was lighter and with our scopes it was possible to identify that it was indeed the bird we had been waiting – a Little Bunting,

On the same place we had also Great Tits, Bullfinches, Tree Sparrows, Long-tailed Ducks, Mute Swans and Siskin. Then from harbor we saw some Goosanders too. But soon we were driving towards Tallholmarna.

We saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker while driving but soon we were walking to the shore next to Neljän tuulen tupa. It was still quite dark but I started to scan the rocks and islets and after some searching found 3 Purple Sandpipers! We had got already 2 First of January –ticks before the sun had risen!

We made a decicion to concentrate only to ticks even though it might have been nice to just do birding in Hanko as the weather was excellent. But after we had seen a flying Velvet Scoter, we decided to start driving towards Espoo.

On a long drive we saw a Treecreeper flying across the road, a Great Grey Shrike on a top of a tree, Ravens, Rock Doves, Magpies, a Sparrowhawk and Yellowhammers before we parked to Soukka. While walking along slippery paths towards Kasavuori we heard some Goldcrests.

There were only handful of birders on the top and the weather was still too calm. Weather forecasts had promised much more wind and it was exactly what we needed to see eagles. Anyway soon we saw some White-tailed Eagles and also Great Black-backed Gulls, Greenfinches and a Goshawk but in a couple of hours we saw nothing else. We really had hoped to see a Greater Spotted Eagle or at least a Golden Eagle!

Finally we had to give up as there had been a couple of Razorbills local in Porkkala for whole day. So we drove a long drive to Luotsikärki where luckily Mika Bruun showed us the birds right away.

We still had time so we drove to Sunds tower and kept on searching for eagles. Again several White-tailed Eagles were seen and finally after an hour Jörgen Palmgren found an adult Golden Eagle perched on a top of one spruce. But Greater Spotted Eagle wasn’t flying at all during the day. Of course on the next day it was seen again. The last year-ticks we got were Parrot Crossbills, a Crested and a Blue Tit and a Black Woodpecker.

But anyway our First of January had been excellent and we had got 4 new ticks – my record is now 153 species.
In the evening we had a long drive back home. On the way we twitched once again the same Eagle Owl in Lappeenranta.

Hawk OwlIn Parikkala it was much more winter than in South. On the 3rd day I saw Jays, a Dipper in Tyrjä and a Grey-headed Woodpecker on our feeder and on the 4th day Black Grouses in Tiviä and the same Hawk Owl again next to main road 6.

On the 6th of January we visited Kokkolanjoki again. On the way we saw a Pygmy Owl flying across the road. But along the river we saw only 8 Dippers and a Great Grey Shrike.

On the 7th day we drove to Saari together with Arttu Valonen. We were there too early so we decided to try to drive through some fields if we could find a Great Grey Owl somewhere. Then in Jyrkilä we saw a Great Grey Owl in flight but unfortunately it flew to the forest and we got no pictures.

At 9 a.m. we were in Selänne and while we were talking to the feeder-keeper again we saw the Collared Dove flying towards the farm. Also the same Chaffinch was seen again, a Willow Tit was calling and a Coal Tit was visiting the feeder.

Next we decided to go to see Siberian Jays and as the forest-roads were too snowy, we had to walk several kilometers to get there. While walking we found some Crested Tits, a Goshawk and a couple of Hazel Hens. But Siberian Jays were missing, we walked in the forest for some time but found nothing.

Around Siikalahti we found a Sparrowhawk in Kannas and I saw a Pygmy Owl briefly in flight but then nothing else was found.

On the 8th day we decided to try Siberian Jays again with Arttu. We managed to drive another road until the place but again jays were missing. Luckily we found a Three-toed Woodpecker.

Other birds we saw during the morning were a Great Grey Shrike in Koirniemi and a Blackbird and 2 Grey-headed Woodpeckers in Tarvaslampi. But the weather was really poor so nothing else was found.

White-backed woodpeckerOn the 11th of January I spent lunch-hour in Moskuunniemi and watched Harri Partanen’s feeder. It was busy and I saw Yellowhammers, Siskins, a Common Redpoll, Long-tailed Tits and a Brambling. Also a White-tailed Eagle flew over. Then in our own feeder in Tiviä I saw a female White-backed Woodpecker.

The rest of the week weather was getting worse and worse. But on Saturday the 14th we still went to ski 12 kilometers in Kinnarsalmi-Tönkivaara. We saw a female Capercaillie and a Goshawk and some forest-tits.

On the 15th day I decided to ski to Siberian Jay forests and even though the weather was awful I managed to find 4 Siberian Jays. I also saw a flock of Black Grouses, a Hazel Hen and a Crested Tit.