June 2005

June  – Still busy

June was also busy. I was working 26 hours as a radiotherapist and then I had all the counts and some guiding too. So I was working everyday and almost around the clock. A couple of first days of June were pretty good in Siikalahti: Red-crested Pochard was still present, a Greenish Warbler was heard, a Grey Heron and a flock of 15 Grey Plovers were seen.

On the 3rd of June I had a free day, but for some reason I never got a message about a Collared Flycatcher in Joensuu. When I finally noticed the observation in internet, we started our way to twitch it with Harry.

When we left it was already 7 p.m. so on the way we were thinking are Flycatchers still active after 9 p.m. After a long drive we made it to Joensuu at 9.20 p.m. directly when we got out of the car we heard an unfamiliar high sing, but then it stopped. We were in hurry because I had to be back in Siikalahti 11.40 p.m. because I had to lead a night singer trip. After a half an hour wait we finally heard the sing again and found a beautiful 2nd year male Collared Flycatcher! It was already too dark to digiscope but we had got a lifer! Then we had to hurry!

We arrived at Parikkala border when I had only 20 minutes to the beginning of the night singer trip. At home I had 6 minutes left and 2 minutes before I thought that I will make it in time. I had only 2 km to go. Then I saw something walking towards me on the road… I stopped and thought that let’s have a look to a Red Fox by binos. No it wasn’t a Fox, it was a Lynx! It walked directly next to my car and we watched at each others from 4 metres for 30 seconds. Then it jumped to a 2 meters high rock and stayed there for a while before it continued to a deep forest! So after all I was a couple of minutes late from my trip, but at least I had a good reason and good story for the group!

Also the night singer trip was good, we found a Tawny Owl, Spotted Crakes, Water Rails, Blyth’s Reed and Reed Warblers, a Corn Crake and a Grasshopper Warbler. I still continued with family Suorsa from Oulu and found a Great Reed, Marsh and Icterine Warbler and Golden Orioles.

During the next day I was pretty tired but I had to be as a guide. Only better observation was a Grey Plover that Hanna found with her course. At night we did some ringing with the course: we tried to catch a River Warbler but we caught only 2 Blyth’s Reed Warblers.

During a couple of next days I found in Siikalahti a Greenish Warbler, a Wryneck, a couple of Canada Goose and the first Whooper Swan family had got chicks.

A waited Siikalahti bird rally was getting close so my team, Mikko Ala-Kojola and Suojarinne Miika arrives at Parikkala a couple of days before the rally. I had also a couple of free days so we could do some bird watching. We never found anything interesting before the rally but searched which places we should visit in the rally. We did saw a Grey-headed Woodpecker in Siikalahti, heard 2 Greenish Warblers, and found out that there were still Waxwings at Oronmylly. In Saari we saw at least 8 Short-eared Owls. I also managed to twitch a Collared Dove in Koitsanlahti. We decided that we would start our rally in Siikalahti. The beginning of the rally was from 8 to 10 p.m. So we thought that we could start with a Red-crested Pochard.

In the evening of 9th day we practiced the beginning of the rally in Siikalahti. It was very promising; we saw a Red-crested Pochard and a couple of male Smews in same picture. So we could go to sleep after we had ringed a Grasshopper Warbler on the way.

Finally it was a rally day! We relaxed and left to Siikalahti so that we climbed to the tower exactly 8 p.m. Then we just had to find a good starting species!

Siikalahti -rally 2005

Our team was me. Mikko Ala-Kojola (Oulu) and Miika Suojarinne = potu (Mikkeli). We had been birding for a couple of days together in Parikkala but I can’t say that we had found anything special for the rally. All the species we had found were found spontanously in rally too.

18 hours Siikalahti rally 2005 in South Karelia

Our team was me, Mikko Ala-Kojola (Oulu) and Miika Suojarinne = potu (Mikkeli). We had been birding for a couple of days together in Parikkala but I can’t say that we could have been found anything special for the rally. All the species we had found were found spontaneously in rally too.

We started in Siikalahti, and we had planned to start when we can see a Red-crested Pochard that had stayed in Siikalahti already for 3,5 weeks and Smews in same time. We did saw Smews, but the Red-crested Pochard had left! When we realized we have to start we couldn’t find the Smews either! So we had to start with Garganeys. Then we just ticked all the common species including a Reed Warbler and a Long-eared Owl and almost ran to the parking place! So the Siikalahti bird tower had been visited and only a half an hour was spent, but we had missed a couple of important species.

The first round around the Siikalahti gave us a Hen Harrier, a Sparrowhawk, a Long-eared Owl, a Red-backed Shrike, Wheatears, Ospreys and so on.

Then it was time to begin with night singers. Thrush Nightingales, a Marsh Warbler, Blyth’s Reed Warblers, a River Warbler, Grasshopper Warblers, Nightjars and Spotted Crakes were found quickly before the midnight.

Then a Water Rail was more difficult, finally we found it and because we had no plans we almost decided to go South towards Lappeenranta. Luckily we realized that a couple of important species which we didn’t know where to find them made us decide to continue north to more familiar places.

On the way to Saari and in Saari we found a Green Sandpiper, Golden Orioles, Black Grouses, an Icterine Warbler, a Greenshank, Cranes, Yellow Wagtails, a Jay, and Ortolan Buntings. Again we saw plenty of Short-eared Owls, more Grasshopper and Marsh Warblers were also found.

When we had checked the usual places the sun started to rise. We continued to Tyrjänkoski where we found Common Crossbills, a Wren, Bullfinches, Treecreepers, a Hazel Hen and Willow Tits.

Soon we were again in Siikalahti and found a Blackcap and nice surprises a Grey-headed Woodpecker and Long-tailed Tits. Finally we found also a Wood Warbler and a Pheasant which tried to run under our car.

Then we headed to forests! We knew we can hear at least a Greenish Warbler, but now we found also Mistle Thrushes, Ravens, Chiffchaffs, a Black Woodpecker, a Coal Tit, a Redstart and extremely difficult Siberian Jays! Luckily I am a good friend with those birds.

In Oronmylly we found Waxwings and a Honey Buzzard, before we finally started our way to south. While driving we saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker in southern Parikkala which was our species number 119 from Parikkala, but the rest of the species we had to find somewhere else. (Well we would have wound a Rock Dove and a couple of raptors, but some species are easier in southern South Karelia.)

A Common Buzzard was found flying over the road in Rautjärvi. A Canada Goose, Little Ringed Plovers and Oystercatchers were found in Ruokolahti Laurniemi. We managed to see only a forehead of the goose when it was laying in an island, but it was enough.

In Imatra Immalanjärvi we tried to hear a Great Reed Warbler which we had missed already in a couple of places. Luckily we now heard a couple of tunes of its song. We also found a Long-tailed Duck and a Velvet Scoter swimming on a lake!

On the border of Imatra and Joutseno we twitched a Booted Warbler, which was a lifer to potu. We lost some time while searching for it but finally we saw it briefly. But we got also another as important species for the rally – a Rock Dove (as many ticks as a Booted Warbler).

In Joutseno Konnunsuo Mikko heard a possible warning-call of Red-breasted Flycatcher, but we couldn’t find it later. In Kivisaari we saw a Temminck’s Stink and in Kotasaari only a Hobby even if the pools were excellent. Well there were 6 Spotted Redshanks and 2 Little Ringed Plovers but we had seen these species already.

In Lappeenranta Karhusjärvi we saw 2 Arctic Terns with tens of Common Terns. In Kaislanen we finally saw a female Smew and in Askola a Goldfinch which was the last species to our rally list. We did stayed in Askola for an hour, but the only waders were a couple of Little Ringed Plovers and an Oystercatcher

The last 15 minutes we tried to find the only easy species we were still lacking – a Crested Tit – but we didn’t find it.

After all we had found 133 species and we had done well! We had also had a good time, even though we were pretty tired. Somehow I had a feeling that the only species that we really missed was a Crested Tit, otherwise we had had a perfect rally!

End of June

I hadn’t too much time to rest after the rally. We had to start with counts again. Day after the rally I saw 2 Gadwalls, Ruffs and Wood Sandpipers, all species that we didn’t see in the rally. Map-counts went well, but without surprises – as usual.

Duck-counts also started to get more difficult because ducks, and mostly Coots, started to have chicks. So the mid summer was full of work and no rarities at all – as usual.

I did some ringing, but I hadn’t too much time so I only managed to catch so Blyth’s, Grasshopper and Marsh Warblers.

Then on 22nd day konza did it – he saw an Eleonora’s Falcon – 3rd for Finland- in Akanvaara. I had to rush, but after 20 minutes driving I found just smiling konza. Later there were only Common and Honey Buzzards, Hobbies, Kestrels and a Black Kite.

The rest id June went at work. I did see only some White-backed Woodpeckers, a Greenish Warbler, a Barnacle Goose, Great Reed and Icterine Warblers…