Midsummer with some surprises

After trip to Lapland we went to sleep early as we had to wake up very early on the next morning. And on the 28th of June we were putting up the mist-nets when the sun was rising. It was still pretty quiet and we caught only a Robin, 2 Fieldfares, 2 Redwings, a Song Thrush, 4r+4c Sedge Warblers, 1+1c Garden Warblers, 2 Willow Warblers, 2 Pied Flycatchers, a Blue Tit, 9 Great Tits, a Greenfinch and a Common Rosefinch. Only better bird seen during the ringing was a migrating Whimbrel.

After sleeping we still went to count ducks in Siikalahti and had 8ad+10pull Whooper Swans, 52 Wigeons, 22+6 Teals, 198+12 Mallards, 4 Pochards, 5 Tufted Ducks, 17+33 Goldeneyes, 2 Black-throated Divers, 4 Great Crested and 10 Red-necked Grebes, 4 Grey Herons, 15+21 Coots, some common waders and only a handful of gulls and terns without any young. Only other bird to mention was a Red-backed Shrike.

On the 29th day I saw a Black Kite flying around the bay and later I heard that the nest that I had found in spring had been abandoned for some reason.

On the 1st of July we counted 160 adults and 50 young Barnacle Geese in Joukio and found that one birds had a satellite on its back. We soon found out that it was a Dutch bird that had been visiting Siberia on previous summer but now it was with breeding birds in Joukio. We visited the farmers on both side of the road and got permits to catch geese later. We actually noticed that the antenna wasn’t well attached on the goose’s back and we agreed with Dutch people that it’d be good to get the satellite off from this bird. On the 2nd day I also counted 6 adult and 15 young geese in Kangaskylä.

On the 3rd day I still saw both Black Kites on the bay and in the evening we went to ring nestlings of Wryneck that were on one nest-box in Särkisalmi. These birds were very big and after a couple of days they left their nest-box.

BlackcapOn the 4th day we had ringing morning again and caught 2c Sedge Warblers, a Blyth’s Reed Warbler, 2 Common Whitethroats, 2r+1c Garden Warblers, a male Blackcap, 2 Willow Warblers, a Pied Flycatcher, a Blue Tit and 4+1c Great Tits, a Common Rosefinch, 2 Yellowhammers and 4 Reed Buntings. Long-eared Owl fledlings were calling whole morning on a spruce-forest nearby and a couple of Golden Orioles were singing.

On the 5th day I heard a couple of Two-barred Crossbills while jogging and then on the 6th day we went to catch Barnacle Geese with a few friends. And like almost every time nothing went as planned but after all we managed to get between water and a quite a big flock of geese. Then we put up the fences and the trap and walked the flock to the trap. When we had just managed to get whole flock to the trap we noticed 2 grey geese swimming with a big flock of Barnacle Geese. There was a Greater White-fronted Goose but another bird looked promising. Juho Saukkonen took some pictures of the bird and from the pictures we could identify it as a Lesser White-fronted Goose! But we were in the middle of chaos with lots of Barnacle Geese in the trap so we had to concentrate on ringing them.

When the first adult was caught all birds that were able to fly tried, and mostly succeeded, to escape. But still we had lots of adult and young birds to ring. After all we ringed 13 adults and 32 young birds and controlled 2 birds that we had ringed a couple of years earlier.

When we were ready we noticed that grey geese were closing the shore and soon walking towards the field. We waited for them to go further from the shore and then with Juho we ran between them and the lake. Unfortunately Greater White-fronted Goose was flying well but after a quick run, I managed to catch the Lesser White-fronted Goose! Unfortunately it was again a Swedish ”plastic-goose” with color-rings.

Anyway we took quite a lot of pictures of our exotic goose and then released it to follow its companion that was different species. I hope they are not going to do anything more together…

In the evening we visited Saari Pohjanranta briefly and hoped to see some waders but saw only some Wood Sandpipers.

On the 7th of July I saw a Nutcracker in Kangaskylä, which was a year-tick. On the 8th day I checked Pohjanranta again but saw only a few Greenshanks and Wood Sandpipers. In Joukio both grey geese were still around. And in the evening we went to check that a Grasshopper Warbler that had been heard in Papinlahti was really that species.

On the 9th day we went to catch geese again with a bit smaller group of friends and managed to catch only a small flock which surprisingly many adults were able to fly and in the chaos also some young geese managed to escape. Anyway 2 adults and 11 young birds were ringed and again we controlled one 2 birds that had been ringed 2 years ago. On the other side of road all birds were already running when they saw our car, both grey geese with them.

On the 10th of July I found a Great White Egret in Siikalahti and after all there were two birds together. Also a Spotted Redshank was heard.

On the 11th day we left early to Joutseno. In Konnunsuo we tried to twitch a Quail but managed to see only a Hen Harrier and a Short-eared Owl and hear an Ortolan Bunting and a distant flock of Two-barred Crossbills. We tried to twitch another Quail too but without luck. Then we headed to Lappeenranta to twitch a European Serin and after an hour I heard a couple of seconds song and then we both heard flight calls that were good for Serin. It would have been a Finnish-tick for Hanna, so she decided not to take a tick as she heard it still quite bad.

When it started to rain, we headed to Toikansuo and twitched a family of Moorhens on the way. On the hill we met Pekka Punnonen and Matti Vanhapelto and after some waiting we had seen only some local waders. But then 10 Dunlins and 3 Temminck Stints landed to feed to the pools. We also saw an Oystercatcher, 2 Little Ringed Plovers and a Green Sandpiper before it started to rain too bad. So we went to visit a couple of shops which was the first time for months because of Covid19.

In the evening I went to check if there were any waders in Siikalahti and found a Black-tailed Godwit again but also 5 Dunlins. And on the next day there were 2 Dunlins and 4 Temminck Stints. So I managed to get my 200th species in Parikkala this year. We visited also Pohjanranta again and there was a young Black-tailed Godwit, a Whimbrel and 3 Temminck Stints.

On the 13th of July 2 Great White Egrets were seen again in Siikalahti and surprisingly there were some waders feeding right under their feet – Wood Sandpipers, a Dunlin, a Temmink Stint and even a Curlew Sandpiper.

On the 14th day in the evening we did duck-counts again and saw 7ad+10juv Whooper Swans, 51+26 Wigeons, 50+12 Teals, 334+11 Mallards, 3 Shovelers, a Pochard, 4+2 Tufted Ducks, 4+22 Goldeneyes, 2 Great Crested and 10 Red-necked Grebes, 2 Great White Egrets, 3 Grey Herons, 8+44 Coots, 71 Lapwings, 15 Common Snipes, 6 Dunlins and again only some gulls and Common Terns which one couple had 3 youngsters.

On the 15th day a female Hen Harrier was migrating in Siikalahti and on the 16th day I counted 67 Rock Doves in Kangaskylä. The white-tailed Eagle was seen last time on the nest – now we are hoping to see it somewhere outside the nest soon.

Next days I visited Siikalahti and hoped for some more waders and on the 16th day I saw 3 Dunlins. Also Golden Orioles were heard here and there – it seems that there are some more than on previous years.

On the 18th day we went to ring again and caught some more birds: 20 Reed Buntings, a Robin, a Blackbird, 2 Fieldfares, a Song Thrush, 5 Redwings, 3 Sedge, 4 Blyth’s Reed and 3 Garden Warbler, 4 Common Whitethroats, 2 Blackcaps, 3 Willow Warblers, a Pied Flycatcher, a Great Tit, a Red-backed Shrike and the biggest surprise was a Jay. But even bigger surprise was a skylark-like ”sriiu” call that we heard from the sky and saw a slim, yellowish wagtail with dark throat flying over us – a young Citrine Wagtail!

In the afternoon we were about to go birding to Saari when I noticed a dead woodpecker on the ground on our neighbor-building – it was a young White-backed Woodpecker… In Saari we saw a Hen Harrier and a Grey Heron in Tetrisuo, 3 more Grey Herons and a couple of Stock Doves in Pohjanranta, a rare midsummer record – a Tundra Bean Goose in Suurenjärvenliete and 2 more Stock Doves in Jyrkilä.

On the 19th of July we were some hours in Siikalahti where 2 Great White Egrets were still around and also a Spotted Redshank, a Yellow Wagtail and so on were seen. The most interesting record was made in our own garden where we saw a family of Common Redpolls.

On the 20th day I saw a Dunlin and again a Curlew Sandpiper and a Stock Dove was calling actively. On the 21st day I saw a migrating Great Grey Shrike which was again one more strange mid-summer record. Actually I had seen 4 species in 3 days that I had never seen before in July in Parikkala.

Hanna spent some time in a hide that she had built for wader-photographing. She had also been hard-working to make the surrounding muddy. She managed to get excellent pictures of Wood Sandpiper and Common Snipes – hopefully there will be also other species soon…

On the 24th day I counted a record of 74 Rock Doves and in Siikalahti a Great White Egret and a Dunlin were seen and Golden Oriole still singing and calling. And on the 25th day I saw again a Curlew Sandpiper.

On the 26th we had ringing again and we had hoped to catch lots of birds but bushes were probably too wet. It was very quiet almost whole morning but on one round we got more than 30 birds. Altogether we caught 24r+2c Great Tits, 7+1c Willow Tits, 3+1c Lesser Whitethroats and Reed Buntings, 2 Blyth’s Reed Warblers and Red-backed Shrikes, 1+1c Sedge Warblers, a Robin, a Common Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler and a Yellowhammer. A Golden Oriole was calling a and a Linnet flew over us. In the evening I saw a Dunlin and a Curlew Sandpiper in Siikalahti.

The end of July went without any better bird-observation even thought I did some birding every day. Great White Egrets were seen every day but only one or two birds. On the 30th day I saw again a Greater White-fronted Goose that had been hiding well for a long time, a Cormotant, a couple of Hen Harriers, probably the same long-staying Curlew Sandpiper, 6 Dunlins and 2 unidentified small stints that probably were Broad-billed Sandpipers but I saw them too briefly.

J.A.