The end of November and the beginning of winter

After coming back from Helsinki the week went normally. I did short birding trips on my lunch-hours – it was dark before and after work. On the 23rd of November I saw a Fieldfare in Kangaskylä and a Velvet Scoter in Särkisalmi. On the 24th I found a Teal with 103 Mallards in the northern end of Siikalahti. On the 25th a Goshawk flew over me in Kangaskylä and I also saw a couple of Coal Tits and a Great Grey Shrike. On the 26th a Hazel Hen and a couple of Redpolls were the only better birds.

On Saturday the 28th of November I twitched the first Amur Wagtail for Finland in Lahti Kujala rubbish tip. It is maybe never going to be an own species but anyway it was nice to see a bird that I had never seen before! Luckily I saw the bird right away I got there early in the morning by the pool where it had also been found on the previous afternoon. Then it flew to the rubbish tip but luckily it was relocated there and I could get some pictures and videos too. There were maybe 30 twitchers during that morning. The bird stayed in the area for a couple of next days before it disappeared.

On the way back to Parikkala I saw a flock of 13 Pine Grosbeaks in Lappeenranta. It was raining a lot, so I didn’t stop at all on the way.

On the 29th day we found a Long-tailed Duck in Siikalahti and in Rautalahti we saw 16 Canada Geese with Whooper Swans. In Härskiinmutka we saw a Common Scoter and then we twitched a Coot in Kirkkoranta. On the last day of November I finally managed to see a White-backed Woodpecker which I hadn’t seen for more than 2 months! And it has been the best autumn for woodpeckers ever in other parts of Finland! It was my 65th species in November and I won the November race. Harri Partanen was second with 60 species.

On the 1st of December I managed to find a Bewick’s Swan with Whooper Swans in Siikalahti! A White-tailed Eagle was hiding on the reeds and 3 Canada Geese were in Raikanniemi. The coot was still in Kirkkoranta and it was already the second new winter species for me to Parikkala.On the 2nd day I saw only a Common Scoter in Särkisalmi and on the 3rd a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and a Great Grey Shrike in Siikalahti and I still saw the Coot for the last time.

On the 4th of December I started do drive south after my work. In Imatra Immalanjärvi I stopped at new bird-tower in Kymälahti and saw a White-tailed Eagle, a Common Scoter, 3 Velvet Scoters, 3 Tufted Ducks, 2 Scaups and a Long-tailed Duck. In Lappeenranta Mustola the Black-throated Diver had changed to winter-plumage and in Kaislanen I saw 3 Smews but no Pochard that had stayed there for a long time as it seemed to be injured.

In the evening I was in Lapinjärvi and on the next day we were preparing the Porvoo-area bird-race in Porvoo. But we saw only a Great Crested Grebe in Loviisa Liljendal Hopomjärvi, a Lesser Redpoll in Porvoo Tolkkinen and altogether 5 Chaffinches. Not much else.

On the 6th of December was the traditional Independence Day bird-race but we really didn’t do well! Together with Juha, Markus Keskitalo and Nette Meriluoto we managed to find 41 species in horrible weather. Only better bird was a Hawfinch that was seen on Nette’s feeder. We came only 5th on the race.

during the week I still did short trips but saw mostly only Whooper Swans. On the 8th day I found a Teal couple in Tarvaspohja and a Black-headed Gull in Särkisalmi, both were new winter-species for me in Parikkala. In the end of the week I still saw a couple of Goldeneyes in Muikkulahti, a Velvet Scoter in Tarvaspohja, a Grey-headed and a Black Woodpecker in Tarvaslampi and Siberian Jays in their own forest. On the 11th of December I still saw the same Black-headed Gull.

J.A.