End of winter and beginning of spring

February was a boring as usually. On the 2nd day there were 4 species of woodpeckers on our feeder and the same Marsh Tit was still in Moskuunniemi. I saw the same tit again on the 5th day but then there was also a Sparrowhawk hunting so the tit had became really difficult.

I did some birding on my lunch-hours but saw mostly the same birds every day. A couple of surprises were a Pygmy Owl in Tasaisetkalliot and a Goshawk in Kangaskylä on the 6th and a migrating Golden Eagle in Tiviä, a Goldfinch in Kangaskylä on the 8th day when I saw the Marsh Tit on Harri Partanen’s feeder.

We were also photographing birds that were visiting our feeders a couple of times. Photographing was done from hides.

I visited Kokkolanjoki in Simpele a couple of times but saw only a few Whooper Swans and Dippers. Then on the 13th of February I twitched a Great Grey Owl in Melkoniemi but a few days later on the 16th day I found one in Siikalahti too.

On the 17th there had been a snow-storm at night but we had to drive to Helsinki. There we stopped in Tokoinranta where we saw 3 Gadwalls, a Teal, a Tufted Duck, 2 Mute Swans, 2 Canada Geese, a Great Crested Grebe, Common and Herring Gulls and House Sparrows. Then we continued to Hotel Skyline to relax, eat well and sleep. On the next day we had long traveling to Costa Rica.

After the trip to Costa Rica it had been very warm in Finland. On the 4th of March I saw the same Marsh Tit again but also 2 White-tailed Eagles, 2 migrating Whooper Swans and 18 Herring Gulls in Härskiinmutka. On the 5th day there were 4 White-tailed Eagles in Siikalahti and on the 6th day a Goldfinch was singing on our back-yard.

But then the weather changed again. I did my winterbird-count in wintery conditions on the 9th day. I saw a couple of crazy surprises as a Grey Heron was migrating and there was a male Capercaillie too. Other birds I saw were a Hazel Hen, 2 Herring Gulls, 10 Rock Doves, a Black Woodpecker, 9 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a White-backed Woodpecker, 7 Long-tailed, 35 Blue, 61 Great Tits and a Willow Tit, a Treecreeper, a Great Grey Shrike, 16 Jays, 10 Magpies, 63 Jackdaws, 25 Hooded Crows, 4 Ravens, 13 Tree Sparrows, 7 Greenfinches, 2 Common Redpolls, 3 Common Crossbills and 3 Bullfinches.

On the 10th day we saw a Sparrowhawk in Muttelinmäki and on the 12th day there was the first couple of Whooper Swans in Siikalahti and a Common Buzzard was migrating. On the 13th day I saw a Common Buzzard and a Golden Eagle and on the 15th day a couple of Skylarks.

On the 16th day was the first real spring-day as on a few hours I saw 162 Lapwings, 8 Whooper Swans, a Greylag Goose, a White-tailed Eagle, 7 Skylarks and a Linnet. But then again the weather changed and all the birds flew back to south.

On the 17th of March we went to see the Marsh Tit again and surprisingly found a Hawk Owl.

During the week I saw just a Nuthatch in Kannas, a Goldfinch in our back-yard and a Pygmy Owl in Särkisalmi. On Friday I saw again some Lapwings, 2 Common Buzzards and finally 12 Snow Buntings.

On Saturday the weather was still bad but in a short visit to dam-road we saw 3 Common Buzzards, 80 Lapwings, 4 Woodpigeons, a Skylark, 6 Starlings, the same 12 Snow Buntings and 2 Great Black-backed Gulls that were migrating with some Herring Gulls.

On Sunday the 24th of March we stayed much longer and saw a Canada Goose, 14 Common Buzzards, a Golden Eagle, a Common Kestrel, 2 Merlins, 2 Common Cranes, 320 Lapwings, 12 Stock Doves and 21 Woodpigeons, 3 Grey-headed, 2 Black, 3 White-backed and a single Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, 20 Skylarks, 2 Mistle Thrushes, 2 Long-tailed Tits, one strange-looking Great Grey Shrike or something like that, 20 Starlings, 2 Common Crossbills, 120 Snow Buntings and 4 Reed Buntings.

On the 25th day the only new arrivals were 2 Mallards but on the 26th day I heard a Great Bittern calling weakly and saw 7 White-tailed Eagles. On the 27th day I finally saw some Blackbirds and soon they were everywhere.

On the 28th I stopped my work-day early as the weather was perfect. We stayed on the dam-road for a long time with some friends and saw 25 Whooper Swans, 41 Bean, 3 White-fronted and 39 grey geese, 11 White-tailed Eagles, a Marsh and a Hen Harrier, 3 Goshawks, 15 Sparrowhawks, even 47 Common Buzzards, a Golden Eagle, 3 Kestrels, 13 Cranes, 326 Lapwings, 9 Stock Doves, 83 Woodpigeons, 3 Black Woodpeckers, even 7 Wood Larks, 36 Skylarks, 10 Meadow Pipits, a White Wagtail, 20 Blackbirds, 3 Mistle Thrushes, 9 Chaffinches, 2 Goldfinches, 3 Siskins, 4 Linnets, 38 Snow Buntings and 6 Reed Buntings.

On Friday we saw for example 69 Bean and 5 White-fronted Geese, a Common Teal, 2 Goosanders, a Hen Harrier, 14 Cranes, a Common Snipe, 3 Black-headed Gulls, 16 Stock Doves, 3 White Wagtails, 97 Blackbirds, 14 Fieldfares, 24 Mistle Thrushes, 5 Linnets, 64 Snow Buntings and 40 Reed Buntings. In the evening we drove south to Kirkkonummi to visit my parents.

On Saturday we headed towards Hanko with my father. On the way we saw a Rook and a couple of Barnacle Geese in Inkoo and a Great Grey Shrike in Karjaa.

Then in Hanko we headed to Uddskatan and started walking slowly along the path towards the most southern tip of Finland. We walked about 3 kilometers before the fog arrived. But luckily we managed to see plenty of birds: 2 Eurasian Wigeons, 4 Gadwalls, a Pintail, 3 Greater Scaups, 250 Common Eiders, 100 Long-tailed Ducks, a female Steller’s Eider, 5 Common and 3 Velvet Scoters, 2 Smews, 4 Red-breasted Mergansers, 8 Oystercatchers, a Great Ringed Plover, a Rock Pipit, 4 Wrens, about 30 Robins, 5 Song Thrushes, 10 Bramblings and 2 Parrot Crossbills.

The fog was making birding quite difficult but we also visited Vedagrundet where we saw a Green Sandpiper, Kobben where 4 Common Redshanks were seen and Svanvik where the best birds were 5 Common Redshanks and a Garganey. On the way back we still stopped in Inkoo Kopparnäs where we saw a Marsh Harrier and 3 Bearded Reedlings and heard even 8 Water Rails and a couple of Grey-headed Woodpeckers.

On the 31st of March it was still very foggy so we did just a short visit to some fields in Kirkkonummi. There we saw 3 Bewick’s Swans and a Golden Plover in Saltfjärden and a Rough-legged Buzzard in Mattby. In the evening we drove back to home but stopped shortly in Kouvola Evijärvi where we saw another Rook and in Lappeenranta Konnunsuo where we missed a Great Egret by seconds but managed to twitch an Eurasian Curlew which was a new March-tick.

On Eastern Monday the 1st of April we were again in Siikalahti and even the weather was excellent and it was 14 degrees, there weren’t as many birds as we had expected. We saw 3 Taiga and 59 Tundra Bean and 78 White-fronted Geese, 4 Marsh and 2 Hen Harriers, 23 Sparrowhawks, 32 Common Buzzards, 2 Merlins, 2 Golden Plovers, 2 Green Sandpipers, 10 Common Snipes, 67 Black-headed and a single Common Gull, 584 Woodpigeons, 80 Meadow Pipits, 8 White Wagtails, 87 Fieldfares, 23 Mistle Thrushes, 10 Linnets and so on. In the evening I visited dam-road again and heard 2 Water Rails and saw a Woodcock on the way.

During the week the weather turned really bad again. Anyway on the 2nd of April there were already 80 Mallards and 2 Wigeons in Siikalahti. But on the next morning there was about 30cm new snow on the ground and only way to see any birds was on feeders. So on the 3rd of April I visited only feeders in Moskuunniemi and saw a couple of Robin, some Goldfinches, a Reed Bunting and the same Marsh Tit which was still around.

J.A.