December 2005

December – Winter rally starts

December started and all birders in South-Karelia started to collect winter rally ticks. The 1st day was Thursday so I had to work but on lunch-hour I managed to do some birding. Lake Simpele wasn’t frozen so I could see some Whooper Swans, Goosanders and Common Gulls. A short drive around the Siikalahti was productive, a Pygmy Owl and a flock of Waxwings were seen. Three Starlings were also still staying in the village.

At weekend I birded more. On Saturday I started from Simpele where I saw again a Pygmy Owl, Chaffinches and a Brambling. Then I got a message there was a Gannet in Kesälahti! While driving I saw a Fieldfare and a Goshawk but my goal was a lifer!

I was in a hurry because I had a rink bandy game in afternoon in Imatra, so I had to be quick! Luckily I saw the Gannet already from the car! After that it moved really farto the other side of the lake so it was visible only short periods, so I could continue towards Imatra.

On the way I twitched a Scaup and at Immolanjärvi I found Long-tailed Ducks and Common and Velvet Scoters. At Vuoksi I still found Tufted Ducks before I had to hurry to the ice hall to win the game.

Next day wasn’t bad either. In the morning I drove south to Lappeenranta where I picked up Pekka Punnonen. Piiluvanselkä and Sammonlahti offered some good winter ticks – Great Crested Grebes and Red- and Black-throated Divers. Later we continued to the forests and fields where we found a couple of Great Grey Shrikes and Hawk Owls and a Common Buzzard. And in the evening we had again a rink bandy game to win.

Easily! On the next day we started our way towards southern Finland. First we twitched a Marsh Tit in Simpele and then in Imatra Vuoksi (Smews) before we continued to Kirkkonummi to my parents. On the way we still saw a Common Buzzard and I got a text message that I had got the permanent job from the Health Centre.

On the next day we flight via Frankfurt and Mumbai to India Goa (The whole trip story) to do bird watching for more than 2 weeks. (Look at the Gallery too, where are hundreds of pictures from the trip).