December

On the first of December on my lunch-hour I visited Moskuunniemi to see the same Marsh Tit. After work I hurried to Tyrjä where I had to wait for an hour and a half before I first saw a Dipper and then finally heard a Wren calling – it was a new winter-species to Parikkala ever.

On the 3rd of December we birded whole daylight with Hanna. First we headed to Siikalahti Tiviä to put feeder up. While we were walking towards our feeding place we found a Dipper on a ditch! It was a new Siikalahti-tick for both of us – my number 249! On the feeder we saw a Nuthatch, a White-backed Woodpecker and a Grey-headed Woodpecker. Then we went to Raikanniemi to put up another feeder and while driving along Raikantie we found a Capercaillie perched on a top of a big pine. It was my second ever Capercaillie in Siikalahti and another tick for Hanna! It was maybe the first time in 2000th century that Hanna got 2 Siikalahti-ticks in same day – or at least in an hour!

In the afternoon we still went to Rautjärvi Simpele Kokkolanjoki where we found a Velvet Scoter in Uudensillankoski.

On the 5th evening we drove to Kouvola with Hanna and Veikka Kosonen. Hanna and her sister Elissa started planning their race while with Veikka and Teo Ylätalo we went to eat and plan our next day.

On the 6th of December we had a traditional Independence Day bird-race. We started early but once again we found no birds before the sun started to rise. And then our first species were very common ones – Common Redpoll, Yellowhammer and Bullfinch.

First we were driving around in a big forest area where Teo had recently seen several good species but we weren’t very lucky. After all we heard a couple of Black Woodpeckers and heard one and saw a another Pygmy Owl. Of course some forest-tits and Black Grouses and so on were found but we could have done much better.

Once we got out from the forest we started to do well. We managed to twitch a Blackcap very quickly, saw a Velvet Scoter, a couple of White-backed Woodpeckers, a Nuthatch, Blackbirds, a Fieldfare, Siskins and so on and then the highlight were 3 Kingfishers in one place! We also found a Wren but Woodcock was one more disappointment as it wasn’t where Teo had seen it a couple of days earlier.

In Tolkkila fields we found a big flock of Common Redpolls with some Arctic Redpolls, Goldfinches and Linnets and after long trying we also found a single Twite.

It was already getting late when we got Starlings, a Dipper and a Grey-headed Woodpecker, but Pheasants were found even though we really tried. Then we had to still hurry to go to our last place where we still managed to see an Eagle Owl.

All best teams had been racing in Kouvola-area but still with our 47 species we were only third. Winners had found even 52 species! The second team had the same amount of species with us but they had a single ace-species (a species that was only on their team) and we had none.

On the 9th of December I drove to Imatra to photograph a female Two-barred Crossbill that was visiting a feeder. I got so good pictures that I still decided to continue to Lappeenranta to photograph Twites that were visiting a feeder too. They weren’t so easy but after all I got a couple of pictures. On the trip I also saw 4 Nuthatches, a White-backed Woodpecker and a Common Teal.

On the 10th day I surprisingly saw and heard a lonely Two-bared Crossbill flying over me in Siikalahti and it was my 221st species in Parikkala and 195 in Siikalahti this year. Only a couple of these species have been twitched so quite big numbers of birds can be seen in a year inland.

In mid December we were both sick, first Hanna and then I. So I did only short trips to see the same Marsh Tit, woodpeckers and so on.

J.A.