Summer-birding 24/7

On the 21st of June our flight from Japan landed to Helsinki-Vantaa airport at 1:20 p.m. and when I was able to open my phone I received a message that a Red-headed Bunting had just been found in Salo Halikonlahti. The earlier 2 records of this species had been placed to category D in Finland and were untickable, but I saw no reason why this one couldn’t be a real deal, so pretty soon we were driving towards Salo as we had only 116 km to go.


Once we got to Halikonlahti we met other twitchers that had already seen the Red-headed Bunting and were already leaving. Soon we had walked to the right place and heard that the bird had been missing for more than 15 minutes. We had to wait for more than 30 minutes more and we saw an adult and young Grey Partridge and a Yellow Wagtail and heard a Marsh Warbler while waiting, but finally the Red-headed Bunting flew visible. We managed to get some pictures but the bird flew again to the ground where it was impossible to see. As we had seen plenty of Red-headed Buntings on our trips to Russia and Kazakstan, we decided to start our long way to home.

Once we were in Parikkala, we just carried our luggage in and soon went to put up mist-nets to our ringing place.

Pensastasku22nd of June after a couple of hours sleeping we were ringing birds. From 3:30 to 10 a.m. we caught a White Wagtail, 2 Whinchats, a Blackbird, a Redwing, 8+2 control Sedge Warblers, 3 Common Whitethroats, a Garden Warbler, 2+1c Willow Warblers, 1c Blue Tit, 8+1c Great Tits, 7 Greenfinches, 4 Siskins, a Yellowhammer and 2c Reed Buntings. We also saw a migrating Golden Plover.

During the week we weren’t birding a lot but on the 24th day we visited Great Snipe place and heard only one bird a couple of times. We also found a Common Grasshopper Warbler and a Marsh Warbler. In Siikalahti we heard 8 Spotted Crakes.

On the 25th day I twitched a Grest White Egret in Siikalahti and saw also a Great Bittern and a Garganey there.


on the 27th of June late in the late evening my brother Pirkka came to spend a long weekend with us. We did a couple of stops around Särkisalmi but only better bird was found in Kukonkanta where a Reed Warbler was singing.

On Friday I was at work but during my lunch-hour we saw a Barnacle Goose, a Spotted Redshank and 10 Hobbies in Siikalahti. In Moskuunniemi we saw a flock of 17 Canada Geese. In the evening we went birding for whole night. We started in Siikalahti where we heard a Reed Warbler. Then we heard some Corn Crakes, a Grasshopper Warbler and a Marsh Warbler and after some searching found a Nightjar. Then we headed to Saari.

We tried to find Quails in Akanvaara Tetrisuo but without luck. It was getting really cold too! We had left in 16 degrees but now it was only 7 degrees. And after we had seen a Stock Dove in Pohjansuo and a Short-eared Owl in Ratila we headed to Suurenjärvenliete where it was only 2.5 degrees! We were absolutely freezing! Anyway a Grasshopper Warbler and a Marsh Warbler were singing, a White-backed Woodpecker was drumming. Then we saw another Stock Dove in Jyrkilä and a flock of Little Gulls in Tarassiinlahti. Once we were driving again we saw a bigger passerine flying across the road. Soon another bird landed in the middle of the road and it was a Hawfinch! Soon we saw both bird flying to the top of a tree where they saw together – a nice couple! Then in Kanavalampi we heard a couple of Golden Orioles, a Spotted Crake was calling and a Black Woodpecker drumming. In Karinmäki we saw 5 Wood Sandpipers mad again in Ollukka we heard a Spotted Crake.

Once we had driven back to Parikkala, we headed to forests where we hoped to see a Siberian Jay or hear some Red-breasted Flycatchers or Greenish Warblers. The best bird we found was a Three-toed Woodpecker, but also a Chiffchaff, a Willow Tit, a Crested Tit, a Goldcrest, Bullfinches and Common Crossbills were seen. Then we started to feel so tired that we had to go to sleep.

In the evening we visited Siikalahti where we found fledlings of a Thrush Nightingale. We also visited Valkialampi where Slavonian Grebes had managed to get 2 youngsters. Also a Red-backed Shrike was seen on the way. And then it was time to go to sleep again.


On the 30th of June we were ringing again and caught a Whinchat, a Lesser Whitethroat, 1+1c Common Whitethroat, 3 Garden Warblers, 9 Willow Warblers, 11 Greenfinches, a beautiful male Common Rosefinch and a Reed Bunting. We also saw a late Tundra Bean Goose migrating toward northeast and a Goldfinch.

Kurkien rengastus

During the day we visited again in Siikalahti where we saw 6 Honey Buzzards, a family of Jays, 2 White-backed Woodpeckers and a Bittern. We also managed to ring 2 young Common Cranes. In the evening we saw a Hazel Hen, a Red-breasted Merganser and a Heuglin’s Gull in Oravanniemi. At night we still did a short round but had nothing new. During the “long weekend” we had seen 110 species + Heuglin’s Gull in Parikkala.

During the week I tried to sleep more and turn my inner clock which was still in Japanese or at least some other than Finnish time. On the 3rd of July there was again a Great White Egret in Siikalahti. On the 4th day I was working in Imatra and in the afternoon I twitched a Moorhen in Joutseno Korvenkylä. In the evening I visited Lappeenranta Askola where I saw Oystercatchers, Redshanks and a Green Sandpiper. On the 5th day there were 3 Great White Egrets in Siikalahti which I saw 2 of them. A Bittern was flying over the road several times and a White-tailed Eagle was seen too. And on the next day there were also 2 Reed Warblers and 2 Golden Orioles.

Patotien kyy

On the 7th of July we were ringing again but it was very quiet morning. It was too wet. We caught 10+1c Common Whitethroats, 5c Sedge Warblers, 3 Greenfinches, 2+1c Reed Buntings, 1+1 Willow Warblers, 1+1 Blue Tits and a Garden Warbler. A River Warbler was singing nearby for whole morning and we also heard a Golden Oriole calling and a Golden Plover migrating over us.