Month-tick competition summary

In the end of 2014 Sami Luoma sent me an email and asked me to join a competition where birders were going to count how many species they see every month. Of course I joined the competition where were participants around Finland but mostly close to the sea-shore.

After one year I asked if people would count species they will see in their home-region and county. But for some reason I was the only one to start counting them too. Some participants were counting only self-found birds, so I counted them too.

After every month Sami sent the results and after the year he had counted all the lists together. Of course those birders who were twitching most, were of course getting biggest lists every month. Jörgen Palmgren was winner the first 3 years and then Ari Vuorio won the last 2 years.

The winners year-results were from 1680 to 1755 (“Jösse´”s record) and my totals were 1331-1468. On every other year than 2019 when we did several longer trips abroad I got over 1400, so every year my results were pretty much the same. I also was 4th, 5th or 6th every year (about 12 to 15 participants).

The best month-result ever was Jösse’s May 2016 216 species. I got once 212 and once 211 species in May. In winter best was Jösse’s 110 in February 2015, in summer Ari’s 212 in June 2017 and in autumn Jösse’s 174 in September 2017.

In South Karelia my best year-result was 1348, in Parikkala 1273 and self-found birds 1563. The best January was 86, in South-Karelia 60 and in Parikkala 44 (58 self-found). February total 82, S-K 50, Pla 42 (self-found 71). March 89, 80 and 78 (84), April 150, 150 and 137 (147), May 212, 191 and 187 (205!), June 184, 145 and 132 (180), July 167, 142 and 132 (143), August 163, 140 and 137 (160), September 164, 146 and 139 (163), October 146, 111 and 110 (143), November 88, 80, 75 (73) and December 79, 63 and 51 (62).

To me the most interesting thing in this competition was to compare months between years in Parikkala. From six years results I can say that Parikkala is quite bad place to do birding in winter. Actually I have ever seen only 98 species here in winter. In spring it is possible to see really good selection of species – especially in May. Early summer is also very good but then autumn is very pretty poor comparing to sea-coats.

The competition lasted 5 full years and started again in January 2020 but then in February we got awful news, Sami had died. I immediately decided to continue the rest of the year just to finish the year as Sami would have liked. And now I decided to make this kind of article too just to make sure that this won’t be forgotten. I didn’t ask permits from other participants so that’s why I mentioned only some top-results as I am sure these birders won’t mind.

Thanks Sami (R.I.P) and other participants – J.A.