Warm autumn

After my trip to West Papua I was having jet-lag so I was ready to go birding early in the morning. So in the early morning of the 27th of August we headed to Kukonkanta where Hanna had made a new ringing place. With only a couple of nets we caught 76 birds – mostly warblers and Reed Buntings but also 3 Blyth’s Reed Warblers, a Common Redstart, 3 Common Rosefinches and a couple of Rustic Buntings. We also saw 2 Nutcrackers. In the evening we went to count birds to Siikalahti and saw 18 Great Egrets and 238 Common Cranes.

On the 29th of August I saw a young Red-footed Falcon in Siikalahti and on the next day I found a young Curlew Sandpiper in Suurisuo. On the 31st day with Arttu Valonen we saw 119 migrating Golden Plovers and a Rustic Bunting. On the 1st of September we saw a 2nd year Pallid Harrier male and in Saari we found good numbers of Red-throated Pipits and in Pohjanranta we saw a young Little Stint and 3 Dunlins.

On the 2nd of September we were in Kukonkanta againa and caught 48 birds, mostly Sedge Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Reed Buntings. In Suurisuo there was a Curlew Sandpiper again and in Saari we saw again Red-throated Pipits and the same waders.

On the 3rd day we ringed even 103 birds. We had now a couple of more nets. Mostly we caught Blue Tits but also good numbers of warblers and Reed Buntings. Better birds were a Bluethroat and a Common Rosefinch. We also saw a Water Rail, a Sand Martin, 190 Coal Tits which 2 were ringed, 5 Rustic Buntings (2r) and the best were 55 migrating Red-throated Pipits and 6 were ringed.

On the 4th day Erkko Elonen found a 2nd year Greater Spotted Eagle in Siikalahti. It satyed there for a few days and on the 6th day I saw even 2 similar looking birds there. Nothing else really was found during the week – just the first flock of Bean Geese and 22 Great Egrets and so on.

On the 9th day we ringed 100 birds. Robins and Reed Buntings mostly but also 5 Bluethroats, a Goldcrest, a Long-tailed Tit, a Siskin, a Lesser Redpoll, 4 Rustic Buntings and 6 Coal Tits. We ringed even 22 species and saw also 100 Coal Tits and 8 Rustic Buntings and so on. In the evening we went to sauna to Tarvaslampi and had mistnets up for an hour or so and caught a single Tengmalm’s Owl.

On the 10th day we ringed 88 birds, mostly Willow Warblers, Reed Buntings, Coal Tits (10), Robins, Blue Tits, Chiffchaffs and Tree Pipits. We counted 310 Coal Tits and saw also a Great Egret, a White-backed Woodpecker, 8 Red-throated Pipits, 8 migrating and 4 ringed Rustic Buntings and a late Common Rosefinch.

On the 11th of September we saw a Little Stint again in Pohjanranta. And then on the 12th day I had to go twitching! Luckily I got free from my work and could leave already at 11:30 a.m. In Mikkeli I picked up my old friend “potu” Suojarinne and then we still had a long drive to Mänttä-Vilppula.
In Mänttä-Vilppula we parked to Kolho small harbor and from the shore we could already see two distant spots in the middle of the lake – there was a Herring Gull and the first Great Shearwater for Finland! But soon a boat came to pick us up and we got a ride very close to the bird! This tame bird had been fed by fishermen for a few days so we got an opportunity to get excellent pictures!

When we had taken enough photos we drove back to the harbor where the next twitchers were already waiting for their ride. People in Kolho really made perfect job so I can’t really thank them enough! After a long drive I was back at home after 10 p.m..

On the 14th day we counted 492 Cranes and 17 Great Egrets. Also the first Barnacle Goose and 2 late Nightjars were seen. On the 15th day a Nutcracker was in Muttelinmäki and in Siikalahti there were Cranes migrating. In the evening we saw already 510 Barnacle Geese migrating.

On the 16th day it was raining so we couldn’t go ringing. So after the rain we headed towards Saari, but we got stuck already at Rautalahti where we counted 135 migrating Golden Plovers, saw the first flock of 70 Brent Geese, some ducks and Barnacle Geese and 2 Great Egrets, 3 Stock Dove, a Common Ringed Plover and the best bird was an adult Grey Plover. In Saari we saw a 3rd year male Pallid Harrier in Akanpelto but almost nothing else. In the evening we saw a beautiful Eurasian Eagle-Owl perched on the top of an electric post.

On the 17th day we ringed 82 birds in Kukonkanta. Even 43 Reed Buntings were caught and we also saw an adult male Pallid Harrier, 2 Common Ringed Plovers and heard a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.

On the 21st day a Bewick’s Swan had arrived to Siikalahti and also 20 Velvet Scoters were seen migrating. On the 22nd evening we saw a Scaup and heard a distant owl that was probably a Ural Owl.

On the 23rd day we ringed 78 birds, mostly Reed Buntings (30) but also Robins, Chiffchaffs, and so on. Early in the morning we saw very good passerine migration – Chaffinches, Barmblings, Meadow Pipits, Reed Buntings, White Wagtails with some Barn Swallows and the first flock of 14 Waxwings and so on but nothing better. Only better birds on mist-nets were a Bluethroat, 2 Tree Sparrows and a late Sedge Warbler. We still counted 120 Coal Tits but only 3 were ringed.

During the day I managed to get pictures of a Nutcracker in Tarvaslampi and in the afternoon we headed to Saari where in Pohjanranta we saw 7 Lapwings, in Pohjasuo a Whinchat and in Akanvaara Tetrisuo 3 Bewick’s Swans.

On the 24rd day we ringed 55 birds that were almost all Reed Buntings, Robins and Chiffchaffs. 2 Bluethroats were controlled and sky seemed to be empty,

On the 26th day I saw 3 Pink-footed Geese, 8 Scaups, a Peregrine Falcon, a Rough-legged Buzzard and so on in Siikalahti. The best bird was found by Harri Partanen, who found a Bar-headed Goose in Kullinsuo. It was nice to go twitching in Parikkala! In the evening I tried to get a Siikalahti-yeartick of the goose but all grey geese came to Siikalahti too late-

On the 27th day I saw the same Bar-headed Goose in Kullinsuo again but on the next day it was found early in the morning from Huhmarinen so I got my Siikalahti-yeartick. On my lunch-hour I saw a young Pallid Harrier and a couple of Pink-footed Geese. And in the evening we were in Siikalahti bird-tower again and this time geese arrived earlier and Bar-headed goose was with them. We also saw a late Willow Warbler and a Pochard.

On the 29th day Bar-headed Goose was again in Kullinsuo and in the afterinoon we went to Saari with Arttu but only birds to mention were 13 Common Ringed Plovers in Pohjanranta and a late Red-throated Pipit in Akanvaara Tetrisuo.

On the 30th of September the weather was bad but I still saw a couple of Barn Swallows migrating. In Lahdensuo we saw a couple of Pink-footed Geese and in Kangaskylä a Nuthatch. In the evening we still went to the tower and saw a late Marsh Harrier and so on.

On the first of October the weather was still bad so we started from Siikalahti where we saw a Dunlin and a Ringed Plover on the road. Then we headed to Saari where in Akanvaara Tetrisuo we saw 2 Lapwings and in Jyrkilä 2 hybrids of Barnacle and Cackling Goose, but nothing else really.

In the afternoon I still headed to Rautjärvi Simpele Lahnanen with Harri Partanen and we managed to find 2 Grey Wagtails. We also saw 2 migrating Pink-footed Geese and then we visited Kullinsuo where the Bar-headed Goose was again.

On the 2nd of October the Bar-headed Goose was again in Huhmarinen in the morning. There were also lots of arctic birds migrating but I had to go to work and on my lunch-hour the migration had stopped. I saw only one flock of Brent Geese but a couple of Parrot Crosbills were my Siikalahti year-tick number 192 and Parikkala-yeartick number 216. I still saw a couple of Hazel Hens and in the afternoon I visited Pohjanranta where I saw a Ruff, a Hen Harrier and a Capercaillie that flew past the tower.
On the 3rd day the only interesting bird was a Lesser Black-backed Gull that was found in Härskiinmutka. I got closer to it and realized that it was very pale so it was either Heuglin’s or Lesser Black-backed Gull not our ordinary Baltic Gull. I got excellent pictures of this tame bird. When I went to see it again after a couple of hours it was laying down on the top of a streetlight. And then after an hour I got a message that it was still there but now laying dead!

I decided to contact local electric company Parikkalan Valo and they helped me to get the bird down and after I had taken some pictures of it, I packed it well as I was thinking that this bird might have died to bird-flu. Then I contacted Finnish Food Authority that is dealing with bird-flu and they really wanted to get this specimen. Now it is on our freezer waiting to get a ride to Helsinki.

J.A.