Dark and gloomy – as it always is in November

After 2 weeks in Säppi on the 1st ov November I visited Siikalahti and saw a Hawk Owl that Matti Lötjönen had found and also 150 Whooper Swans, Mallards, some Wigeons, 10 Tufted Ducks, 3 Greater Scaups, a flock of Black Grouses, a Coot, a Three-toed Woodpecker flew over me, a Greater Grey Shrike, a flock of Gold Finches and a lonely Brambling with a huge pox-virus tumor. In Härskiinmutka I saw a few Great Crested Grebes. After work I went back to Siikalahti and after some waiting saw a Great White Egret flying over me – it was the latest ever in Parikkala.

On the 2nd day I saw a Black-throated Diver and a White-tailed Eagle in Härskiinmutka and again a Great White Egret in Siikalahti but this was the last time that it was seen. On the 3rd day I saw a Smew, and a Long-tailed Duck in Siikalahti, a flock of 32 Smews, a Common Scoter, 4 Long-tailed Ducks, Waxwings and heard a Nuthatch in Särkisalmi.

On the 6th day we did suck-counts in Saari and still saw Whooper Swans, Mallards and Wigeons here and there, in Pohjanranta we saw a flock of 422 Barnacle Geese and a lonely Tundra Bean Goose and a flock of Goosanders with a Red-breasted Merganser. 5 Goldeneyes, 8 Tufted Ducks and a Greater Scaup were in Akonpohj and a Long-tailed Duck in Nivalahti. Outside the count we saw a flock of 30 Smews, another Red-breasted Merganser and 3 Velvet Scoters. Also some gulls and a couple of White-tailed Eagles were seen.

After the count we picked up Elissa Soikkeli and drove to Imatra Immalanjärvi to twitch. Luckily Great Northern Diver was found easily and it was showing quite well. It was my first identified big diver in South Karelia. On the way I saw a Pygmy Owl somewhere in Rautjärvi.

On the 7th of November I did winterbird-count. The weather was worse than had been in forecasts so I was very wet. But there were lots of birds anyway! I saw 95 Whooper Swans, a Wigeon, 4 Mallards, 6 Tufted Ducks, 3 Greater Scaups, 4 Goldeneyes, a Hazel Hen, 22 Black Grouses, a White-tailed Eagle, 36 Common Gulls, 2 Rock Doves, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 36 Waxwings, a Robin which was a new species to my counts, 2 Blackbirds, even 1229 Fieldfares, 2 Redwings, 13 Goldcrests, 98 Blue, 158 Great, 5 Willow, a 2 Crested and a Coal Tit, 2 Treecreepers, a Great Grey Shrike, 8 Jays, 15 Magpies, 163 Jackdaws, 22 Hooded Crows, 4 Ravens, 20 Tree Sparrows, a Chaffinch, 9 Greenfinches, 8 Siskins, 188 Common Redpolls, 17 Common Crossbills, 58 Bullfinches and 15 Yellowhammers.

On the 8th day I saw a Redwing in the village and a Great Crested Grebe, some Tufted Ducks and Greater Scaups and a Common Scoter and a couple of White-tailed Eagles around Lake Simpele. On the 10th day there were 3 Long-tailed Ducks but not many other ducks in Siikalahti anymore. On the 11th day I visited Siberian Jays and saw all 3 birds.

On Friday evening we drove to Kirkkonummi where we stayed with my parents. On the next morning we headed to Helsinki wherein Viikki we released a Starling that had been living with us for a couple of weeks. It had been attacked by Jackdaws and it was in really bad shape but now it was good to go. Then we continued to Fastholma where we tried to twitch a late Rustic Bunting without luck. We heard a Robin and saw some flocks of Bearded Reedlings, a Great Grey Shrike, a Common Scoter and a Smew.

Then we tried to twitch an Isabelline Wheatear in Vuosaari but it was also gone. Last night had been cold and wind had been northern. Then we did some shopping in Itäkeskus and Hanna continued to city to do more shopping but in the afternoon I headed to Lauttasaari to twitch a late Spotted Flycatcher. But I was too late and didn’t find it either. In the evening we went to Stam1na concert.

On the 14th day we drove back to Lauttasaari where we found the Spotted Flycatcher easily. I took some pictures of this bird and somehow it looked a bit brownish. An hour after we had left, we got a message that this bird might be a Mediterranean Flycatcher – or then some strange eastern subspecies. It was caught, measured and DNA was got so maybe soon we will find out what it was. It was also the last time it was seen as next night was very cold.

We still visited Espoo Laajalahti where we saw a young Golden Eagle and a Common Buzzard but no much else. In the afternoon we drove back to Parikkala.

During the week I saw a Blackbird in the village and a Goshawk and a Hawk Owl in Siikalahti. On Friday I did the last duck-count in Saari but there were only some Whooper Swans, 7 Mallards, a Goldeneye and some Goosanders. It started to feel like winter.

At weekend I participated rink-ball Finnish championship tournament even though I had quit playing almost a couple of years ago. But LaPo team from Lappeenranta needed a player and after all I was ready to join them. It was a good tournament and we got bronze-medals!

Next week winter really came! First all small lakes got frozen and it started to snow. On the 23rd day I still saw 5 Canada Geese and a Velvet Scoter in Härskiinmutka and a Hazel Hen in Muttelinmäki. On the 26th a Redwing was in a big flock of Fieldfares in Satumäki. Also some big flocks of Waxwings were feeding rowanberries. In Rautjärvi Kokkolanjoki I saw a couple of Dippers and in Imatra Immalanjärvi a Scaup and on Vuoksi river some Tufted Ducks and Cormorants.

At weekend we visited Siberian Jays and saw 2 of them. Also a Coal Tit and a couple of Hazel Hens were seen. On the last days of November it was snowing a lot and even Lake Simpele got frozen. Still on the 29th day I photographed a Velvet Scoter in Särkisalmi but on the next day even it was frozen!

J.A.