New tick!

On the 17th of March a couple of pairs of White-tailed Eagles were soaring in Siikalahti. In the late afternoon we started a long drive to Oulu and during the weekend we participated to local bird association PPLY 50-year parties and BirdLife meeting. Only birds we saw in Oulu were a Herring Gull, a couple of House Sparrows and then 3 Rooks that had just arrived to their territory in Raksila. But on the way back we saw a Pheasant in Siikalatva Piippola, a couple of Parrot Crossbills in Pyhäntä Korpineva and a couple of Snow Buntings in Vieremä Lehtoranta.

In Parikkala spring had taken some steps during the weekend and snow had melted a lot because of rains. On the 20th day during my lunch-hour I saw a Sparrowhawk, 3 Common Buzzards, a Golden Eagle and a Lapwing. On the 21st day I heard a Whooper Swan and saw a Goshawk, 6 Common Buzzards, 3 Lapwings and in our garden I heard a Goldfinch.

The next day was pretty similar but on the 22nd day I saw already 21 Lapwings and new arrivals were a Stock Dove, 3 Skylarks, a Blackbird and 6 Starlings. On the 24th day Lapwings were already here and there and new bird was a Canada Goose. Landscape was still very snowy and in the afternoon the weather changed cold and rainy again.

On Saturday the 25th of March the weather was cold and windy so we didn’t hurry to go birding. After we had once again seen the same Hawk Owl in Tetrisuo, we continued to Siikalahti Aittavaara where most of the Lapwings had decided to leave back to south but there were still some tens and also 22 Starlings and a Stock Dove. Then we drove to dam-road where we didn’t expect to see anything, but after some waiting Hanna suddenly shouted: “Bearded Reedling!”. She had heard one call from the reeds next to the dam. Of course then several cars were passing us along the road and we couldn’t hear a thing, but then we walked closer and I started to play calls from my phone. And soon we heard some answers and then found a couple of birds from the reedbed. Bearded Reedlings were moving on the snow and very slowly but after all they came close enough sp we could try to get some pictures. There were 1 male and 2 females. We of course sent some messages and soon there were local birders coming to twitch these beautiful birds. It was raining pretty hard for a while but after the rain the birds were found again and luckily everyone managed to see the birds. Surprisingly only a couple of twitchers came a little bit further. In the afternoon wind started to blow so hard that we had to be happy with our pictures and of course we were happy with the observation. There had been Bearded Reedling in Parikkala only in 1998 (a small flock in winter) and 1999 (Hanna heard a bird well) but for me it wasn’t only a Siikalahti and Parikkala tick but also a new bird in South Karelia!

Only other birds we observed in dam-road were a couple of Skylarks and Whooper Swans, Hanna also heard a Linnet. All Lapwings had left back to south.

On the 26th day the weather was awful. Winter was coming back! So it wasn’t a surprise that we didn’t find the Bearded Reedlings anymore. But there are lots of reeds in Siikalahti – hopefully they are staying!
On Monday the 27th I saw some Blackbirds in feeders and a couple of flocks of Snow Buntings. The Hawk Owl was still around but almost all migrants were gone. Just some more Snow Buntings and the same flock of Starlings were seen in Siikalahti. During the week it was very quiet. Mornings were really cold – it was even -17 degrees on the last day. A couple of Woodpigeons were only new birds.