Waiting for autumn

On the 1st if September I visited Siikalahti a couple of times, on my lunch-hour I saw a couple of White-backed Woodpeckers, a Common Ringed Plover, a couple of White-tailed Eagles and so on and in the evening we counted 578 Cranes and saw 18 Great White Egrets, 3 Grey Herons and still one late Nightjar.

On the 2nd day I heard a Red-throated Pipit and saw a couple of Black Woodpeckers and in the evening I counted the biggest number of Cranes ever in Siikalahti – 858 birds. 18 Great White Egrets were again flying towards Sokkiinselkä to roost, a Woodcock flew over and still 4 Water Rails were calling. On the 3rd day 6 Hobbies were still hunting and young Common Ringed Plover was flying around the bay with a young Dunlin.

On the 4th day I saw the first flock of Whooper Swans that had arrived from somewhere and surprisingly there was an adult Bewick’s Swan with them. It was an early record. 3 Golden Plovers and a Hen Harrier were also seen on my lunch-hour and after work I twitched a Common Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail in Simpele Kokkolanjoki Lahnanen. Then in the evening we were working hard to make Saari Pohjanranta a better place for waders in the future.

On the 5th of September we started trying if there were any Rustic Buntings moving in Siikalahti and put up a few mist-nets. We caught 3 Dunnocks, 2 Robins, a Redstart, 2 Blackbirds, a Redwing, 4 Lesser and 2 Common Whitethroats, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Blue, 5 Great and a Willow Tit, a Treecreeper and 2 Chaffinches but not a single bunting. From the dam-road we saw also 4 Cormorants, 2 young Honey Buzzards, 2 White-tailed Eagles, a Hen Harrier, a Merlin, a Common Ringed Plover, a Stock Dove and 14 Gold Finches.

On the 6th day we caught a Dunnock, 2r+1c Robin, a Sedge Warbler, 2 Blackcaps, a Goldcrest, 2 Great Tits, a Chaffinch, a Reed Bunting and 4 wonderful Rustic Buntings. At least 3 more Rustic Buntings were calling around the mist-nets and we also saw a Hen Harrier, a couple of Rough-legged Buzzards, a Merlin, 19 Golden Plovers, a Common Ringed Plover, a Stock Dove, 3 Sand Martins, a Bluethroat, 3 Red-throated Pipits and the best bird of the day was a migrating Black Kite.

After I had done a 2 hours run, we still went to Siikalahti to count ducks. We saw a Greylag Goose with 3 Tundra and 1 Taiga Bean Goose, 783 Wigeons, 49 Teals, 592 Mallards, 14 Pintails, 2 Shovelers and so on. The best bird I saw was an eagle that I saw very briefly but it looked like an almost adult Golden Eagle but I couldn’t rule out the same age Eastern Imperial Eagle… Luckily a man who lives next to the place where I saw the bird saw the bird too and he happened to photograph a lot and he got some pictures of it and from the pictures I could identify the bird as a Golden Eagle – but I still don’t understand what such an old bird is doing here in this time of year?

On the 7th day a Bewick’s Swan was still in Huhmarinen with the same geese but on the next day it was gone. Then I counted 578 Cranes, saw a migrating flock of 60 Common Scoters and now 20 Great White Egrets.

The next few days were quiet, but on the 11th day I saw a Great Grey Shrike and the first migrating Coal Tit. In the evening we tried mist-netting again and caught a Redstart, a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warblers, a Blue Tit and a Chaffinch.

On the 12th of September we were ringing whole morning and caught 5 Robins, a Lesser and a Common Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler, 2 Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warblers, 3 Goldcrests, 3 Blue Tits, a Treecreeper, a Reed Bunting and because of pretty good migration 17 Chaffinches and 3 Bramblings, but again no project-species. We also saw 11 Bean Geese with an early Pink-footed Goose, 10 Cormorants, a Hen Harrier, stunning young Pallid Harrier, 2 Goshawks, a Rough-legged Buzzard, nice flock of 20 Bar-tailed Godwits, 10 small waders that probably were Dunlins, a Little Stint, a Yellow Wagtail and a Nutcracker.

On the 13th day a Bewick’s Swan was found in Särkisalmi with Whooper Swans, 78 Barnacle, 58 Canada and 3 Tundra Bean Geese. In the evening 20 Great Whites, 3 Grey Herons and a Bittern, 580 Cranes, a Whinchat and a Nutcracker were seen. On the next day only new birds were a Red-throated Pipit and 3 Coal Tits.

On the 15th day we did duck-counts again and counted 1019 Wigeons, 393 Mallards, 24 Shovelers, 6 Pintails, 35 Teals, a Gadwall, 22 Barnacle Geese and so on. In the evening we put up the mist-nets but caught only a Robin and a Blackcap. But we estimated 750 Cranes and 20 Great Whites and a Bittern were seen again.

On the 17th day there were already 1000 Barnacle Geese and 250 Tundra Bean Geese with 4 Greater White-fronted and at least 1 Taiga Bean Geese in Siikalahti and I still heard a Water Rail calling. On the next day there were already 3000 local and 3000 migrating Barnacle Geese but better were 1450 Brent Geese in 3 flocks. Also a Lapwing and a couple of Ruffs were seen during my lunch-hour.

J.A.