Long weekend in Jurmo

On the 14th of March I had a short holiday and I had decided to go to Parainen Jurmo to get some feeling of spring. The driving weather was awful as all the roads were completely frozen, but I managed to get to Pärnäinen ferry-terminal just 15 minutes before Eivor left towards Jurmo.

Already in Pärnäinen I got a couple of year-ticks when I saw a couple of Common Eiders, a Great Black-backed Gull and later on the ferry I saw 6 White-tailed Eagles, a Long-tailed Duck, 29 Common Eiders, 2 Black-headed Gulls, 14 Great Black-backed Gulls, 3 Black Guillemots and so on.

When Eivor stopped briefly in Nötö, I saw a Rook, a Woodpigeon and 5 migrating Lapwings. It was already getting dark when the ferry was finally in Jurmo and in the harbor I saw a Grey Heron flying over the sea.

I walked to the bird-station where I met Timo Palomäki and Arto Aaltonen who had just started the log. So I soon knew pretty well what birds had been on the island and after I had eaten, we were ready to sleep. I had been traveling whole day so I was very tired.

On the 15th of March we woke up before 6 a.m. but soon we found out that there was very thick fog outside. Anyway we climbed to the hill to the daily migrationd watch. But the fog was so bad that soon Timo and Arto gave up and I stayed for the rest of the time alone almost without any observations. A Greylag Goose and a Snow Bunting was heard and some Skylarks seen.

During the day I walked the western route and counted all birds. A Black Grouse was flushed and 9 Greylag Geese migrated over me but otherwise it was very quiet. I still saw a Ringed Plover and a Yellowhammer before I turned to Heinäsaari. It was a long walk to the tip of Heinäsaari but it was worthy – I saw the Turnstone that had been overwintering there. It was the first overwintering Turnstone ever in Finland!

The visibility got a little bit better when it started to rain but still I didn’t see anything better than some ducks. But when I started to walk back I saw a Shore Lark flying over me with 2 Skylarks. When I was acl on the western route, I saw 28 more Skylarks, 2 couple of Lapwings and again the same Shore Lark.

I walked slowly back to the station when it got extremely foggy again. There were plenty of Blackbirds and Greenfinches visiting the feeder with a couple of Chaffinches and 3 Reed Buntings. After I had eaten I still did a short walk towards east and saw a Common Shelduck. But soon I walked back to the station to rest as it was not worthy to get wet.

When we were already sleeping Tarmo Lehtilä, Rusto Suksi and Ilkka Lehtonen arrived to the station. They had come to twitch the Turnstone as a month-tick and stayed on the station for weekend.

On the 16th day the twitchers left towards west early. Timo climbed to watch migration and together with Arto we headed to count western route.

It was still foggy and clearly less birds around than on the previous day. The Ringed Plover was found again and a couple of Shelducks on the lagoon. When we were turning towards Heinäsaari Risto called that they had seen 3 Purple Sandpipers in flight and then I heard Tarmo shouting that the Turnstone was just found.

We also walked to see the Turnstone again and after some waiting we saw a flock of 29 Purple Sandpipers and most of the flock landed to some rocks briefly. Unfortunately a wintering Dunlin wasn’t in the flock. We still saw 3 Black-headed Gulls and 4 migrating Eurasian Wigeons before we headed back to the route.
When we were back on the station I ate well and headed to walk to the forests. It was raining a lot but anyway I managed to find 3 Woodcocks.

In the evening the weather was excellent so it wasn’t a surprise that a Long-eared Owl started to call in the village.

On the 17th of March we headed to morning migration watch with a big group. Only Timo headed west. The weather was very good but we knew it was turning bad soon. The migration was very good and in 2 hours we saw 7 Razorbills, 2 Black Guillemots, 51 Canada, 3 Greylag, 3 White-fronted and 2 Tundra Bean Geese, 253 Common Eiders, 15 Long-tailed Ducks, 22 Common Scoters, 23 Red-breasted Mergansers, 7 Cormorants, 12 Lapwings, a Stock Dove and a Mistle Thrush. Also we saw at least 15 White-tailed Eagles and a female Black Grouse.

Soon the weather changed very windy, cold and wet, but I still did a long walk but saw only some Black-headed Gulls and a Woodcock.

I was wet when I got back to the station and soon I had packed everything and it was time to start walking towards the harbor. Only Timo was leaving to the island and he was going to stay whole spring.

The weather was so bad that we stayed inside the ferry all the way. Finally we were in Pärnäinen more than an hour early as the ferry didn’t stop in every island.

And the driving weather was again extremely bad! It took more than 2 hours longer than usually to get back home. Luckily I managed to drive safely and was at home after midnight.

J.A.