Best birding time they said

Like so many times it seemed that the best rarity time of the year had been in the end of April and beginning of May. Of course more and more birds were still arriving but nothing better was found – or at least the better ones were the same that we had already seen.

On the 10th of May in Saari we saw a couple of Slavonian Grebes and a Little Ringed Plover and heard a Sedge Warbler in Akonpohja, saw a couple of Gadwalls in Kanavalampi, a flock of Common Scoters and a couple of Long-tailed Ducks in Tarassiinlahti where we also saw a migrating White Stork. But then on the rest of the trip we saw only a Whimbrel, some Stock Doves and a Hen Harrier.

On the 11th day a flock of Greater Scaups and Common Scoters were in Härskiinmutka and in Moskuunniemi I heard a Wryneck. In the afternoon I was checking owl nest-boxes with Savo-boys and one female Ural Owl was found. Other birds we found were a Goshawk and a Blackcap.

On the 12th day I met Arttu Valonen and Matti and Liisa Kapanen in Siikalahti. While chatting we heard and saw a Red-throated Pipit flying over us. Later we saw also a Black Kite again. In the afternoon I went to check some nest-boxes but saw only a Hazel Hen couple.

On the 13th day I went to see a Tengmalm’s Owl that was nesting in an old Black Woodpecker nest-hole. Then in the afternoon we went to Saari and saw a female Capercaillie on the way close to the road. In Akonpohja we saw a couple of Garganeys, Ruffs and even 45 Spotted Redshank. In Karinmäki we saw a Hazel Hen couple and in Ollukka we checked a big flock of Barnacle Geese and found a Red-breasted Goose couple! In Pohjasuo we counted 92 Golden Plovers and in Pohjanranta we saw a Common Ringed Plover. Again several Stock Doves were seen so it seems that they are finally breeding In Parikkala.

On the 14th day we had the first SSP-ringing. We heard a Jack Snipe and a Red-throated Diver early in the morning and altogether we caught only 2 Lesser and 1 Common Whitethroat, a Sedge and 2 Willow Warblers and 2r+1c Reed Buntings. Our ringing place was still very wet. In the evening we headed to Saari where in Akonpohja we saw 2 Little and 4 Common Ringed Plovers. Then we drove to Kanavalampi where we put up photographing tents and hoped to get photographs of waders. Quite a few ruffs and some Spotted Redshanks were around but we hoped them to get closer in the morning. While waiting for the night we heard a Water Rail and a Black Woodpecker and saw a Garganey and a couple of Gadwalls.

But at night almost all waders left and in the morning there were only some Ruffs left. So we didn’t get many pictures and all other birds we saw were just the same as in the evening.

Once we had packed our tents we checked the other places in Saari and heard a couple of Wrynecks in Tarassiinlahti, saw a Red-throated Pipit in Jyrkilä, a Spotted Flycatcher in Akonpohja and a Bewick’s Swan in Pohjanranta. There were huge flocks of 15 000 and 25 000 Barnacle Geese in Pohjasuo and Akanavaara Tetrisuo and a Long-eared Owl was calling in Tetrisuo in the middle of the day.

On the 16th only bird to mention was the first Thrush Nightingale and on the 17th I saw the first Swifts. In Saari we saw 3 Little and 5 Common Ringed Plovers in Akonpohja, a Temminck Stint in Pohjanranta, a Dunlin and a couple of Garganeys in Kanavalampi and 112 Golden Plovers in Akanvaara Tetrisuo. Also some bigger flocks of Yellow Wagtails and again some Stock Doves were seen.

On the 18th I heard the first Common Rosefinch and on the 19th day I saw 6 Greater Scaups in Härskiinmutka. After we had checked again some nest-boxes we had to save a Barnacle Goose that had managed to get stuck to a fence from its foot in Siikalahti. There we saw also a couple of Redshanks. In the evening I hurried to Moskuunniemi Hernesaari to see arctic migration and managed to see a couple of flocks of Velvet and Common Scoters, 950 Long-tailed Ducks and an Oystercatcher, also an Icterine Warbler was heard singing.

On the 20th I heard first Garden Warblers and in the afternoon we finally found a Pygmy Owl incubating 8 eggs on one of many nest-boxes we checked. The same bird had been also nesting in our nest-box last summer but it was at least 5 kilometers from this one. We also saw a couple of Capercaillier and Hazel Hens. In the evening we checked a couple of fields and found a single Great Snipe standing in the middle of one field.

On the 21st we saw a Black Kite and an Arctic Tern in Siikalahti. Then we headed to Saari again and found a couple of Temminck Stints and a Redshank in Tarassiinlahti and a Black-tailed Godwit, a Dunlin and a couple of Temmincj Stints in Suurenjärvenliete. We also saw a couple of White-backed Woodpeckers and more Stock Doves again.

On the 22nd we went o Punkaharju Haukmäki and hoped to find some forest species. Only one Red-breasted Flycatcher was found but we also flushed a Capercaillie and heard a Red-throated Diver. In the afternoon we went to ring the nestlings of Ural Owl and once again we had a very aggressive mom-owl! Then we still went to ring nestlings of Starling and a male Wryneck in Tarvaslampi. On the way back home we still twitched a Golden Oriole in Moskuunniemi.

On the 23rd there were 200 Long-tailed Ducks and 2 Scaups in Härskiinmutka and in the evening I saw 865 Long-tailed Ducks migrating. Also a small flock of Common Scoters and a Short-eared Owl was seen. Then at night I went to a short round and heard a Nightjar in Sounio and some calls of migrating flock of Brent Goose in Sammallampi. On the 24th 7 Common Ringed Plovers were mirating in Siikalahti and on the 25th I finally saw the first Honey Buzzard – also a Black Kite was seen again. It also seemed that there were more Icterine Warblers around than in many years.

On the 26th we had SSP again and it was pretty good. We caught 2 Robins, 2 Common Redstarts, 2 Blackbirds, 2 Sedge Warblers, 4 Common Whitethroats, 3 Willow Warblers, 2 Pied Flycatchers, 3 Blue and 2 Great Tits, 3 Common Rosefinches and 1 Reed Bunting. We also heard a Golden Orioleand a Spotted Crake. In the afternoon we went to Saari again and saw a male Pheasant in Kanavalampi, a Goshawk in Tarassiinlahti, a Black-tailed Godwit and a Dunlin in Suurenjärvenliete, a Corn Crake (heard), 2 Ringed Plovers and 7 Temminck Stints in Pohjanranta, a Tundra Bean, 3 White-fronted and a late Pink-footed Goose and both a Short and a Long-eared Owl in Akanvaara Tetrisuo.

On the 27th I saw a flock of 130 Brent Geese and already 65 Swifts in Siikalahti. In the evening I heard a Blyths’s Reed Warbler in Moskuunniemi and also 163 Whooper Swans and 2 Oystercatchers were seen migrating. Also a nice couple of Golden Orioles were seen. Then I still continued to a short night-trip and found a Grasshopper Warbler both in Kontiolampi and Sammallampi, a Moohen in Siikalahti and a Spotted Crake in Kirkkolahti. On the 28th day in Siikalahti I saw 2 Tundra Bean and 2 White-fronted Geese and 101 Black-throated Divers. Then I was too tired and I had to go to sleep.

On the 29th we started Saari-trip by checking that Slavonian Grebes had arrived to Valkialampi. In Kanavalampi we saw 4 Tundra Bean Geese and heard a couple of Golden Orioles. In Jyrkilä we saw a single Brent Goose on a field (much rarer to see than Red-breasted Goose) and in Pohjanranta we saw 2 flying Bean Geese and a Temminck Stint and heard a Corn Crake again. But it really started to feel like the best spring was over.

On the 30th I checked the Tengmalm’s Owl nest and there were 2 youngsters watching from the whole. Then on my lunch-hour I twitched a Curlew Sandpiper in Pohjanranta. It was my first spring record ever in Parikkala. Also 4 Temminck Stints were seen. In the evening went jogging and saw a Short-eared Owl in Tetrisuo.

On the last day of May we went to see Tengmalm’s Owls and the nest was empty but we found one youngster perched on a top of one spruce.

J.A.