Waiting for spring

There is not much to tell about the beginning of February. It was hard winter and motivation to go out wasn’t high. On the 1st of February I saw a flock of 200 Waxwings.

On the 4th day I drove to Helsinki-Vantaa where I made a PCR-test and next night I got negative results. On the 5th day I twitched a possible Northern Grey Shrike in Asikkala Anianpelto and saw it after 9 hours searching! Now we haw to wait for the result of DNA-test.

On the 6th day I twitched a probable female Bunting in Kirkkonummi Masala. It had good DNA but it still not accepted in Finnish Rarity committee. Also Bramblings and 2 Herring Gulls were seen there. We still visited Hammas and saw a Dipper with my father before he drove me to Helsinki-Vantaa airport again and there I met the group with we were going to birdwatching and mammal trip to Tanzania (the full report can be found from the link)!

I got Covid as a souvenir from Tanzania so I wasn’t birding much in the end of February. It was still full winter too. On the 20th day we saw some Redpolls and a couple of Siskins while we were putting food to our feeders. On the 24th day I saw 2 Herring Gulls that had arrived to ice-fishing holes to Lake Simpele.

On the 25th I found a noisy flock of 17 Gold Finches in our garden and they stayed there for a long time. On the 26th we saw a Blackbird in Tarvaslampi and a Grey-headed Woodpecker in Särkisalmi.

On the 27th we drove to south with Sampsa Cairenius and Teo Ylätalo and in Helsinki Tokoinranta we saw 3 Canada Geese, a Coot, some Common Gulls and so on. Then we headed to Espoo Soukka Kasavuori where we managed to twitch an overwintering Greater Spotted Eagle! Soon we saw the bird flying towards east and it never came back! There we also saw White-tailed Eagles, Common Buzzards, Great Black-backed Gulls, Whooper Swans, Stock Doves and a Starling. We also twitched an overwintering Common Kingfisher, saw a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and then a Rough-legged Buzzard in Helsinki Tuomarinkylä.

March started with a Tengmalm’s Owl in Moskuunniemi on the 4th day. On the next day I did winter-bird count and saw a Hazel Hen, 6 Rock Doves, 4 Grey-headed Woodpeckers, 10 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 White-backed Woodpecker, 2 Blackbirds, 83 Blue, 161 Great, 1 Coal and 6 Willow Tits, a Treecreeper, 5 Jays, 13 Magpies, 73 Jackdaws, 23 Hooded Crows, 13 Ravens, 24 Tree Sparrows, 12 Greenfinches, 18 Gold Finches, 91 Common Redpolls, 27 Bullfinches and 33 Yellowhammers.

On the 6th day I saw a Great Grey Shrike in Joutseno Korvenkylä and twitched a Hawk Owl in Lappeenranta Heimosilta. Also the familiar teals and an Eagle Owl were seen once again. Next morning I heard a Grey-headed Woodpecker and during the week Gold Finches were still singing in our back-yard.

On the 11th day a Great Grey Shrike and 11 Waxwings were seen in Siikalahti and at night we did an owl-trip to Melkoniemi and heard an Eagle Owl and a Ural Owl. Next day I saw already 9 Whooper Swans, a migrating Common Buzzard, a Great Grey Shrike, a Grey-headed Woodpecker, a Siskin and a Gold Finch in Siikalahti. In the evening I twitched a Great Grey Owl in Joutseno and the same Hawk Owl in Heimosilta.

On the 13th of March we were a couple of hours in Siikalahti but only 2 White-tailed Eagles, a Goshawk and 6 Herring Gulls were seen. So we went to put up a mist-net to our feeder but caught only 3 Blue Tits and a beautiful but extremely noisy male Grey-headed Woodpecker.

On the 14th day a Skylark had arrived to dam-road in Siikalahti. It stayed there for several days as it was only place without a meter of snow. 4 White-tailed Eagles were soaring on the sky. On the 15th day I saw a Stock Dove flying back to south and on the 17th a noisy Lapwing was flying north – it was probably cursing what it was doing here already?

On the 18th day I saw 2 White-tailed Eagles, a Sparrowhawk, a Common Buzzard and the same Skylark on my lunch-hour. In the afternoon I stopped in Rautjärvi Kokkolanjoki where 2 Goldeneyes, 3 Goosanders and a Dipper were seen. Then in Imatra I saw some Cormorants and in Lappeenranta 45 Herring Gulls. Then I had a final of 1-division rink-ball and we managed to win. So I got one more gold-medal in very late of my career.

J.A.