The greyness of autumn

September wasn’t the month to remember. On the first days I finally managed to photograph a Red-footed Falcon in Tetrisuo. But on the 2nd say I tried to twitch a Red Kite in Luumäki without luck. It had been there for a couple of days and had been seen still in the morning but then it was never seen again.

On the 3rd day I heard a Rustic Bunting and a Red-breasted Flycatcher and saw a couple of migrating Ringed Plovers. And on the 4th day we were ringing in Siikalahti and caught a Wren, a Dunnock, 8 Robins, 2 Sedge Warblers, a Lesser and a Common Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warblers and Blackcaps, 6 Willow Warblers, Blue and 4 Great Tits, 10 Chaffinches, 2 Yellowhammers and 4 Rustic Buntings. We also saw a Bluethroat, a Coal Tit and 4 migrating Rustic Buntings and counted 639 Cranes and 19 Great Egrets and so on.

On the 6th we tried to twitch a Montagu’s Harrier in Kerimäki Kitkasuo with Elissa Soikkeli but again had no luck. In Savonlinna city we managed to find a Mandarin Duck easily.

Next trip to mention started on the 9th of September when we drove to Joensuu Eno Palovaara and put up some mist-nets. Already in the evening we caught a Tengmalm’s Owl.

And on the morning of 10th the first bird on the net was a Red-flanked Bluetail! Other birds we caught were 2 Tree Pipits, 8 Dunnocks and Robins, a Bluethroat, a Redwing, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 3 Chiffchaffs, 5 Willow Warblers, a Goldcrest, 3 Great Tits, a Common and a Lesser Redpoll, 11 Reed and 50+2c Rustic Buntings. In the evening we saw and heard a Pygmy Owl and heard a Tengmalm’s Owl but didn’t catch them.

On the 11th day we doubled our mist-nets but caught about same amount of birds: 9 Dunnocks, 15+1c Robins, 4 Bluetails, 5 Chiffchaffs, 6 Willow Warblers, 4 Goldcrests, 4 Great Tits, a Willow Tit, a Chaffinch, 11 Common Redpolls, 14 Reed and 48 Rustic Buntings. And the best bird we caught was a Yellow-browed Warbler! We also saw at least 80 migrating Rustic Buntings and 11 Parrot Crossbills and so on.

On the 12th day we saw even 22 Great Egrets and 841 Cranes in Siikalahti and on the 13th day I counted 63 Cormorants in Härskiinmutka.

On the 17th day we were ringing in Siikalahti again and caught a Wren, 3 Dummocks, a Blackbird, a Fieldfare, 3 Lesser and 1 Common Whitethroat, 2 Blackcaps, 4 Chiffchaffs, 4 Willow Warblers, a Goldcrest, 7 Great Tits, 14 Chaffinches, a Yellowhammer, 6 Reed and 2 Rustic Buntings. Also 6 migrating Rustic Buntings were seen.

On the 18th day we caught a Tree Pipit, 2 Dunnocks, 2 Robins, 4 Blackbirds, 4 Chiffchaffs, 2 Blue and 3 Great Tits, a Treecreeper, 3+1c Chaffinches and 2 Reed Buntings. Only 3 migrating Rustic Buntings were seen and the best bird was a 2nd c-y male Pallid Harrier. In the afternoon a trip to Saari was very poor.

On the 20th of September a nice flick of 750 Brent Geese, 2 Bitterns, 798 Cranes and 18 Great Egrets were seen in the evening in Siikalahti. On the 22nd I saw 2 Bewick’s Swans, 40 Velvet Scoters and 860 Cranes.

On the 24th we were ringing again and caught a Blackbird control, 2 Wrens, 11 Robins, a Fieldfare, a Song Thrush, a Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaffs, 2+1c Blue and 16+2c Great Tits, a Willow Tit, a Chaffinch, 12 Yellowhammers and 5 Reed Buntings. Other birds seen were a Bewick’s Swans, 268 Brent Geese, 15300 other geese, 40 Velvet Scoters, a Red-throated Diver and a young Pallid Harrier and so on. Hanna also managed to photograph a Water Rail extremely well.

On the 25th day it was very windy and we caught only a Robin, a Fieldfare, 3 Blue and a Willow Tit and 3 Yellowhammers. 128 Brent Geese and 886 Cranes were counted. And this time Hanna got pictures of a Bluethroat.

On the 26th day I was in Saari again but saw nothing special. On the 28th in Siikalahti 5 Bewicks Swans, 380 Wigeons, 115 Pintails, 30 Tufted Ducks, 4 Scaups, 250 Long-tailed Ducks and 40 Velvet Scoters were seen migrating. On the 30th of September there were still 3 Barn Swallows flying in Kangaskylä.

October started also quiet. On the 1st day only birds to mention in Saari were 2 male Pochards in Akonpohja and a couple of Parrot Crossbills in Pohjasuo. We were there counting geese but we found only a couple of thousands in our counting area. In the evening we were in Tarvaslampi where we caught a Tengmalm’s Owl that we had ringed 364 days earlier in the same place. Also a Tawny Owl was heard calling actively!

On the 2nd of October we were in Savonlinna Punkaharju Punkasalmi with Vekka Kosonen and Oskari Saunisto but thick fog was ruining the morning. Anyway we had good time chatting together. We also visited Laakkii where we saw a Grey-headed and a White-backed Woodpecker. When we were back in Parikkala we twitched a Mute Swan in Koitsanlahti and it was my Parikkala year-tick number 200.

On the 5th day I saw a Gadwall in Siikalahti and on the 6th I was dipping again – this time in Espoo. I tried to twitch a Pygmy Cormorant in Laajalahti but it left a few hours too early and never came back. I waited until the dark and saw a Little Grebe but unfortunately didn’t get a Finnish-tick.

After a couple of bad trips the next birds to mention were seen on the 7th day when still 6 Lapwings were seen in Saari Pohjanranta and on the 9th day when a Peregrine was seen on migration in Siikalahti. And finally in the end of the week our autumn holiday started!


Ringing SSP and Red-footed Falcon

After our trip to French Guiana we drove late in the evening back from Helsinki to Parikkala. On the way we saw a Nightjar in Hamina and an Eagle Owl that almost hit a truck that was driving in front of us in Rautjärvi Kangas.

We were in Parikkala 1 a.m. and we just dropped our luggage at home and then went to Papinlahti to put mist-nets ready. And then after a couple of hours sleeping we were ready to open the nets and SSP-ringing started. We caught a Redwing, a Sedge Warbler, 3 Blyth’s Reed Warblers, even 22 Lesser and 15 Common Whitethroats, 9 Garden and 4 Willow Warblers, 2 Pied Flycacthers, a Great Tit and 2 Common Rosefinches. We also saw a couple of Grey Herons and heard a Great Egret calling a couple of times.

I wasn’t very motivated in birding after the trip but luckily the better times were about to begin. On the 8th of September there were already 13 Great Egrets in Siikalahti and also a Great Bittern and a Grey Heron was seen. Young Water Rails were calling and a few Stock Doves were seen in flight. On the 9th day we were still suffering from jet-lag when we heard a Whimbrel migrating over our house.

On the 12th day there was a flock of 250 Siskins eating stones in our garden. Some of the birds were so tired of eating them that I had to carry them away from the road.

On the 13th day we did a trip to Saari and found 6 Greylag Geese in Pohjanranta and 10 Stock Doves in Pohjasuo. On the way back we drove to Tarvaspohja where some non-birder had claimed to seen a Purple Heron. Of course there was no Purple Heron but a young Grey Heron and a Great Egret.

On the 14th of September we had SSP again and we got a Tree Pipit, a Common Redstart 1 control, a Blackbird, a Song Thrush, a Blyth’s Reed Warbler, 10+1c Lesser and 3 Common Whitethroats, a Garden and 3 Willow Warblers and 3 Common Rosefinches. In the evening we saw 19 Great Egrets in Siikalahti.

On the 15th day I saw a Grey Heron and a Great Egret in Härskiinmutka. During my lunch-hour I saw a stunning Greater Spotted Eagle flying towards north in Siikalahti.

On the 17th and 18th morning there were flocks of Common Scoters in Härskiinmutka and about 20 Great Cormorants. On the 18th I also saw finally a Red-backed Shrike in Siikalahti – where have they been this year? And the next morning there were 25 Cormorants and 81 Great Crested Grebes in Härskiinmutka. One grebe had tiny youngsters on her back.

On the 20th of September we drove to Helsinki to Bird Fair where Hanna was again working. On the way in Pyhtää Siltakylä we saw a young Pallid or Montagu’s Harrier while driving on the motorway where it was impossible to stop or even slow down.

In Viikki Hanna went to the fair and I walked to Hakala bird-tower. On the last days there had been huge numbers of Red-footed Falcons migrating north in Latvia and Estonia and some had already been seen in Finland too. One had been seen from the Bird Fair too. So we were scanning the sky for several hours and saw quite a few small raptors but most of them were other species or then some clearly migrating ones were in a bad light and flying very fast towards north. But after all we managed to identify 2 Red-footed Falcons. Other birds we saw were 2 Dunlins, 2 Temminck Stints and some Spotted Redshanks and Golden Plovers.

I went to the Bird Fair for the last hour and of course met so many friends there that I couldn’t really do any shopping. Then we helped to pack everything there. My brother Pirkka had been in a meeting in Helsinki and we met him right after we had managed to pack everything. And nicely our phones told than a Laughing Dove that had been seen in several place around Helsinki on last couple of weeks had just been relocated in Sipoo Söderkulla. It was only 20 kilometers drive to Söderkulla and there Jari Kostet was photographing a tired-looking dove that is not tickable (yet) in Finland. We took of course some pictures and then talked with several birders that arrived before we had to start driving to Kirkkonummi.

In Kirkkonummi we stayed with our parents and on the 21st morning we headed towards south with Pirkka and my father. We started birding in Billskog on the border-field of Siuntio and Inkoo and easily found a Red-footed Falcon that had been found there on the previous evening. We also saw a flock of 30 Linnets and 12 Golden Plovers.

Then after some driving I noticed 2 harriers flying over a field in Kämpbacka. They landed to a field but unfortunately were flying again when we got our car parked. They flew directly away but we could identify one bird as a young Hen and another as a young Pallid Harrier. Hanna also got some pictures where identification was possible.

The weather had been too good to see many birds in Hanko but anyway we saw a Velvet Scoter, in Vedagrundet, a Grey Plover, an Oystercatcher and 14 Caspian Terns in Svanvik, 150 Yellow Wagtails in Täktom, a young and very tame Curlew Sandpiper in Långören and so on. Then we still went to eat in Hanko before driving back to Kirkkonummi.

In the afternoon we still headed to Espoo Laajalahti with 2 cars so we could continue to Parikkala straight from there. In Laajalahti we saw 7 Curlew Sandpipers, 7 Dunlins, 2 Little Stints, 2 Great Egrets and so on – and of course met many birders. Then we had to start a long way back to home and my father drove Pirkka somewhere with a transportation to the airport.

On the way back home we stopped in Loviisa Vanhakylä where earlier during the had been a record-flock of 22 Red-footed Falcons! There was a ringer trying to catch them but without success. Anyway we saw 10 falcons there and stayed the rest of the evening there trying to help the ringer and get pictures but without luck. After all we were at home about at midnight.

On the 22nd of September on my lunch-hour I checked every field nearby and finally in Tiviä Tarhamäki I saw a single Red-footed Falcon flying on the sky with a Common Kestrel, but soon it continued toward north-east. In the evening we went to check fields in Saari but found no Red-footed Falcons only 3 Hen Harriers and Great Grey Shrike and so on.

On the 23rd day I found a Red-footed Falcon in Kolmikanta Koskuinmäki and in Siikalahti there were also 3 of them. In the evening 2 more were found in Tetrisuo and finally we managed to get some pictures of one of the birds that was perched on a top of a tree.

On the 24th we were hoping that a Red Kite that had been seen flying south in Kitee and Kesälahti would continue to Siikalahti. I had only my lunch hour and then evening but still we saw 2 Black Kites migrating, 3 Red-footed Falcons were still around and then in the evening we counted Cranes and Great Egrets and saw 475 and 22 birds.

On the 25th I heard a Common Ringed Plover and saw 22 Golden Plovers migrating. In the afternoon in Saari we saw a flock of 15 Long-tailed Tits in Akonpohja and in Pohjanranta we found and adult and a young Caspian Terns! Also 2 Stock Doves, 165 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Great Egrets and a Grey Heron was seen there. But the rest of the places had almost nothing, just a Great Grey Shrike still in Akanvaara Tetrisuo.

On the 26th at least 2 Red-footed Falcons were still in Siikalahti and also a Cuckoo was migrating. We checked all the fields nearby but found nothing. In Kirkkoranta we saw 2 Great Egrets. And on the 27th we had the last SSP of the season. It was still very warm summer day so there were no surprises. We caught a Robin, 3 Common Redstarts, a Sedge Warbler, 6 Lesser and a Common Whitethroat, 5 Garden and 7 Willow Warblers, a Spotted Flycatcher, 1+1c Blue Tits, 1+1c Bullfinches and 3 Reed Buntings. When we were already taking away the mist-nets I found a Red-footed Falcon soaring on the sky. But it was flying so high that it disappeared to the clouds. Then we went to Siikalahti where in few hours we saw 2 or 3 Red-footed Falcons, a Bittern, 2 White-tailed Eagles, a Goshawk and 6 local and 14 migrating Honey Buzzards and so on.

On the 28th morning we were ringing again in Papinlahti but this time we were playing some autumn-project birds from the tapes. But it was very warm and foggy so there was still no migration. We caught a Tree Pipit, a Robin, a Sedge and 2 Blyth’s Reed Warblers, 3 Lesser and 2 Common Whitethroats, 7 Garden Warblers, a Chiffchaff, 15 Willow Warblers, 2 Greenfinches, 4 Bullfinches and 3 Reed Buntings.

During the day we were again for a few hours in Siikalahti and saw again a migrating Black Kite. It didn’t make me happy as the Red Kite had already moved through Parikkala and had been this morning for several hours in Lappeenranta Vihtola where many had seen it. This was only the 4th ever in South Karelia and the first twitchable – and still missing on my list. We also saw a Red-footed Falcon, 14 Tundra Bean Geese and a late Golden Oriole.

On the 29th I saw 28 Cormorants in Härskiinmutka and in the evening we counted 584 Cranes and 15 Great Egrets in Siikalahti. On the last days of September I saw nothing even I did some birding.


Quiet first half of July

In July I wasn’t birding much. On the first days there were still Red-breasted Flycatchers feeding their youngsters to nest and In Joukio there were already more than 100 Barnacle Geese gathering.

On the 2nd of July we had SSP-ringing and we caught a Common Snipe, a Blackbird, a Fieldfare, a Redwing, 2+1c Sedge Warblers, 3 Common Whitethroats, 2+1c Garden and 2 Willow Warblers, 18 Blue and 8 Great Tits, 2 Chaffinches, a Yellowhammer and 3+1c Reed Buntings. In the afternoon I was jogging in Tarvaslampi and surprisingly saw a family of White-backed Woodpeckers and heard a couple of young Grey-headed Woodpeckers.

On the 3rd day we first went to photograph birds from the hide in Tarvaslampi. Then we did a trip to Saari and heard a Golden Oriole in Akonpohja, saw a Garganey and a Spotted Redshank in Pohjanranta, found a few Whimbrels, a Black-tailed Godwit and a Hen Harrier in Suurenjärvenliete and then went to check one pond where we had been told that there had been Red-throated Diver couple breeding in some years and again there had been a pair in spring. Unfortunately the pond was empty but we heard a couple of Golden Orioles and saw Long-tailed Tits nearby.

In Jyrkilä we saw 4 Stock Doves, in Karinmäki we heard a Corn Crake, an Icterine Warbler and young Long-eared Owls and then on the way back we saw a Black Kite soaring on the sky in Akonpohja. Then we still went to ring 9 Wryneck that were in tiny Blue Tit nest-box in Tarvaslampi. Then in Kangaskylä we saw a Nutcracker flying across the road. We stopped the car and found 2 or 3 birds which at least one was young fledling. They had been breeding somewhere nearby and still only now I got a year-tick!

On the 8th day I heard the Red-breasted Flycatcher last time. It seemed that fledlings were already quite far from the nest. On the same evening Harri Partanen called that he had got a call that there was an owl on the ground in Satumäki and Magpies were attacking it. We were soon there and found a young Long-eared Owl on the ground. We ringed it and hid it to a thick tree. There were at least two more young owls calling nearby so for sure their parent were soon coming to feed them.

On the 9th day we saw the first 2 Great Egrets of the season in Siikalahti. In Tetrisuo we saw 10 Stock Doves which some of them were young birds, so finally the breeding of this species was sure in Parikkala! In the evening we saw a family of Canada Geese in Kirkkoranta.

On the 10th day we had SSP again and caught a Common Snipe, a Whinchat, a Fieldfare, 3 Sedge Warblers, a Willow Warbler, a Pied Flycatcher, a Blue and 2 Great Tits and 1+1c Reed Buntings. We also saw a couple of Golden Orioles and 25 Common Crossbills. In the evening we did a quick trip to Saari but saw nothing interesting – only 4 Stock Doves in Pohjasuo.

On the 13th day I heard Nutcrackers calling and a Golden Oriole singing in Kangaskylä and a Golden Oriole calling in Siikalahti. On the 14th of July we drove to Helsinki. We stopped on the way in Hamina Tervasaari just to make sure that we are not missing Arctic Tern as a year-tick. It would have been ridiculous! Then we continued to Helsinki-Vantaa airport hotel where we stayed the next night. On the 15th of July we finally would start a long and long-waited trip together!


Ticks to my father and Midsummer time

On the 10th of June my father arrived to us for the weekend. He was one of many who had started to collect 100 bird-species in a year which had been a BirdLife Finland project for beginners for some years. Even though he had started +70 years old, he had managed to get more species every year. Now he was coming to do some serious birding with us for the first time. It was time to break old records…

Train arrived late as usual so we were in a hurry to go to eat to Karpalo restaurant. Then we had to hurry to drop our car to service which was going to take for an hour. So we had time to walk around Moskuunniemi with my father. We heard many common birds that we could study, for example a Blyth’s Reed Warbler and we also saw a Honey Buzzard.

After some relaxing in our home we headed to evening trip which we started with Nuthatches. They had left their nest but we found them from the forest nearby. Then we headed to Sinkkosennurkka to check a White-backed Woodpecker nest. A couple of young birds were calling from the nest and at least one of them was looking out for a while but adults were seen only briefly in flight. We also heard a Black Woodpecker drumming further. Then after we had checked that Red-breasted Flycatchers were still at home, we continued to Siikalahti tower from where we saw a Gadwall and then on dam-road we heard a couple of Reed Warblers but they were too far to hear for my father.

On Saturday the 11th day we started at 6 a.m. with a Golden Oriole and an Icterine Warbler in Likolampi. Then we headed to Melkoniemi forests where we hoped to find some Greenish Warblers or Red-flanked Bluetails. But they weren’t found. But we found a familiar Siberian Jay, an adult and a young Goshawk and several families of Common Crossbills and then heard a Crested Tit, a Wood Warbler and a distant Red-breasted Flycatcher. We also ringed 8 nestlings of Pygmy Owl from our nestbox.

During the day we visited Hanna’s parents in Tarvalampi but also ringed some tits and Kestrels there. Then we still went to check that Red-throated Divers were once again on their breeding pond.

In the evening we left to Saari. There we saw a Long-eared Owl and heard a few Great Snipes, a Nightjar, a Water Rail, a Spotted Crake, Bitterns, Corn Crakes, Blyth’s Reed Warblers, a Marsh Warbler and a couple of Grasshopper Warblers which one was also ringed. It was already morning when we still stopped in dam-road where another Marsh Warbler was heard.

We slept long and during the day we headed to Rautjärvi Kokkolanjoki where after some searching we found a Grey Wagtail that was alarming a lot. It probably had a young bird next to the track. Later we saw another young birds flying higher up on the stream.

In the afternoon we went to eat to “Assa” and then my father left to Kirkkonummi by train. In a couple of days we had managed to find 113 species that 102 species my father had managed to see or hear. Not bad from 75-years old quite beginner birder. My father had now 146 species this year so he has the new record already and still work to do to break at least 150 or maybe 160 species.

In the evening I went jogging and heard fledlings of Grey Woodpecker.

During the week Hanna went to photograph bird in different places every time the weather was ok. I was only visiting some places on my lunch-hour. Barnacle Geese started to bring their youngsters to beaches, Red-breasted Flycatchers were still feeding their nestlings, some Greenshanks, Spotted Redshanks, Green and Wood Sandpiper and a Ruff were already migrating south and some young White-backed Woodpeckers were seen and Golden Orioles were singing here and there.

On the 15th day I visited Lappeenranta and in Toikansuo I heard an Ortolan Bunting and saw a couple or Redshanks and a few Little Ringed Plovers. In Joutseno Kotasaari I heard a Great Reed Warbler and in Konnunsuo 3 Ortolan Buntings.

We started weekend with SSP-ringing ad caught a Robin, Sedge Warbler, 2 Common Whitethroats, 2 Garden Warblers, a Pied Flycatcher, a Chaffinch and 3 Common Rosefinches. Then in the afternoon we visited Saari but saw only a Short-eared Owl and heard a few Water Rails. We also ringed a few young Lapwings.

On Sunday the 19th pf June we visited Melkoniemi forests again and now saw a family of 5 Siberian Jays – amazing that they are still breeding! We also saw a family of Hazel Hens and checked that Pygmy Owls were soon ready to leave their nest. In Tarvaslampi we found a Wryneck breeding in one nestbox.

On the 21st day in the afternoon we found a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker nest in Siikalahti and as it had been raining quite a lot it was good to see that Red-breasted Flycatchers were still doing well. On the 23rd we were photographing Long-tailed Tit families and Striped Bugs in Siikalahti. We also saw another Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and the nesting bird too. Icterine Warblers were still singing. In the evening we headed to check best places nearby and heard a Great Snipe, a Nightjat, some Corn Crakes and saw a couple of Long- and Short-eared Owls. In Siikalahti we still heard a couple of Spotted Crakes and a Golden Oriole. Only real nightsingers we heard were just Thrush Nightingales and Blyth’s Reed Warblers.

On the 25th we woke up in Papinlahti as we had been sleeping on our carpets. In SSp we got a Blackbird, a Redwing, 3 Sedge Warblers, 2+1c Common Whitethroats, Blue and a Great Tit, 1+2c Common Rosefinches and a Reed Bunting. Other birds seen or heard were a Long-eared Owl, a Red-backed Shrike, a Linnet and a Yellow Wagtail. In the I we saw 3 Stock Doves in Tetrisuo.

On the 26th we heard a young Pygmy Owl and saw an adult and young Long.eared Owls in Papinlahti. Then we made a night-trip to places between Särkisalmi and Saati but heard only Thrush Nightingales, Blyth’s Reed Warblers, a couple of Corn Crakes, one Marsh Warbler and Nightjar and again saw adult Long-eared Owls and heard some youngs.

On the 27th day we visited Siikalahti and managed to run and catch a young Crane which of course was ringed. Red-breasted Flycatchers were still there and also a White-backed Woodpecker was seen.

The last days of June were very hot so I wasn’t birding much. Hanna still went out every morning to photograph and managed to get some nice pictures.


Beginning of June photographing

On the 1st of June after work I drove to Saari Pohjanranta to twitch a couple of Marsh Sandpipers. Other birds were all the same that I had seen on the previous day. I also made a stop in Akonpohja where I heard a singing Marsh Warbler.

On the 2nd day it was raining – I think last time it had been raining it had actually been snowing. So I visited again the wader places in Saari but saw only a Golden Plover in Akanvaara Tetrisuo.

On the 4th day we headed to Savonlinna Punkaharju to Lake Saimaa shore to ring a nestling of a Ural Owl that was in a nest-box close to Tapani Nisula’s cottage. The mama owl was shy so the ringing was easy. But the youngster was so big that it didn’t want to go back to the nest anymore. It had been seen practicing its wings already on the previous day so it was ready to go.

Then Tapani had a surprise for us and together with him and his cottage-neighbors Laura and Harri Helenius we left by boat to Saimaa to see Saimaa Seals that Tapani knew very well as he has been monitoring them for years.

Soon we were checking places where seals used to be but three first places were empty. But then we finally found a nice Saimaa Seal on a rock. It was a little bit wary, so we didn’t try to get close. Also another one was swimming nearby. But then the third pale seal was very curious-looking and we managed to get really good pictures. Here also was another young seal swimming too but it was diving all the time. On the island next to us there was a Red-breasted Flycatcher singing so the atmosphere was really nice!

We crossed bigger open water and saw an Oystercatcher on one rock and then found one more Saimaa Seal on a rock behind some reeds. Then we still drove to see some landscapes before headed back. It had been really nice trip in good company and very nice weather – thanks to Tapani, Laura and Harri!

On the 5th of June we had SSP-ringing again but the result was weak: only 2+1c Sedge Warblers, 1 Lesser and 3+1c Common Whitethroats and 1c Great Tit were caught. We also heard a calling Red-backed Shrike and a singing Golden Oriole.

Karoliina Hämäläinen and Laura Oinas had come from Joensuu to Parikkala to ring birds and their dream was to catch a Golden Oriole. They had been searching for an oriole for whole night but they hadn’t even heard a single bird. So I told them which place I thought might be the best and asked if they can catch an Oriole I could go to see and photograph it. And they really made it and caught an amazing male Golden Oriole! I had less than a kilometer by car to go to see the bird and it really was beautiful. Congratulation to Karoliina and Laura and thanks for calling me to take some pictures.

In the afternoon we still made a trip to Saari and saw 18 Rock Doves, 2 male Gadwalls and a Grey-headed Woodpecker in Akonpohja, a Tundra Bean Goose in Jyrkilä, a couple of Gadwalls in Suurenjärvenliete, a Short and a Long-eared Owl in Ollukka and a Linnet in Tarassiinlahti.

On the 6th day we went to photograph White-backed Woodpeckers and Nuthatches to their nests. We also heard one more Golden Oriole.

And on the 7th day we photographed a Red-breasted Flycatcher that was feeding nestlings. Hanna was on summer-holiday so she had more time for photographing. So in the evening she still went to Saari to photograph Short-eared Owl and managed to get some pictures. And I must say that we of course do all photographing so that we are not disturbing bird at all.

On the 8th day Hanna was photographing Sedge Warblers when she suddenly noticed a Spotted Crake on the reeds. Amazingly this crake came so close that Hanna managed to get good pictures! During my lunch-hour I went to photograph Nuthatches again. In the evening we visited Siikalahti and saw a Common Redshank that left towards south – it is autumn already…


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.