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!