Autumn birding in Parikkala

On the 13th of September I saw the first migrating flocks of Barnacle Geese, a White-tailed Eagle, the first Goshawk of the year in Parikkala (strange!), a Wren and a Lapland Bunting in Siikalahti. On the next day I saw a Nutcracker in Kangaskylä and the rest of the week I was in Hämeenlinna getting some education.

On Saturday 17th of September we had a traditional bird-race in former councils Saari and Uukuniemi that nowadays are included to Parikkala. We woke up before 5 a.m. and at 6 o’clock we started in Akanvaara Tetrisuo where we had almost nothing else on the foggy fields than Black Grouses and a Hen Harrier. In Pohjanranta we had a Marsh Harrier but the wet bushes were almost empty. After 1.5 hours we continued towards Tarassiinlahti. On the way we stopped in Kuposenmäki where a Rough-legged Buzzard and a Grey Heron were the best birds. When we parked to Tarassiinlahti we saw a Goshawk and 2 Nutcrackers and our third team member Jani Varis had started there (in this rally it was ok to split to 2 groups if only one car was used) and seen a flock of Brent Geese and a Bluethroat.

In Jyrkilä we counted 500 Cranes and 750 Barnacle Geese. There was also a strange white-headed hybrid goose which probably was a hybrid between a Barnacle and a Ross’ Goose. We walked quite a lot on the fields and managed to find a good bird when a Great Snipe flushed right under my feet. Next we continued again to Tetrisuo where many common pipits, Lapland Buntings, Skylarks and a flock of Golden Plovers were found. In Pohjansuo we found another Great Snipe, much more of the same common passerines and also 25 Snipes but nothing better either.


Next we continued to Uukuniemi Lammintaus where we saw a Canada Goose, 3 Hobbies, a Woodcock and saw and heard a strange “e-ly” Chiffchaff that seems to be common this autumn. We dropped Jani to watch raptors to Kumpu view-tower and continued to Niukkala and Papinniemi. The round took almost 2 hours but only some Red-necked Grebes, a flock of Long-tailed Tits, a Merlin and a couple of other common species were found.

In the last 2 hours we still visited Akonpohja where another Grey Heron, the 5th and 6th Hen Harrier of the day and some Coots were found. Our last place was Kanavalampi where 163 Teals (our only ones), a Great Grey Shrike and a Hazel Hen were added to our list. With 78 species we came 4th in the race.

In the evening I had an floorball match but after that I drove to Saari Mikkolanniemi where all the other birders were spending the evening. It was lots of fun once again!

On the 18th of September I walked around the fields in Siikalahti but didnt find any Great Snipes. In the afternoon I saw 18 Bean Geese with a single Pink-footed Goose. Also a White-backed Woodpecker, a Merlin, a Hobby and an Osprey were seen. On the 19th day I saw a Three-toed Woodpecker, a Black Woodpecker, 2 Goshawks, 2 “e-ly” Chiffchaffs and a Sedge Warbler. In Likolampi I saw again a Nuthatch and late in the evening an Eagle Owl carrying its prey in the same place while I was jogging.

On the 20th of September I saw about 1000 Barnacle Geese, 90 Bean Geese, 2 Red-throated Divers, a Merlin and 2 very late Little Ringed Plovers. The first Great Grey Shrike had also arrived to Siikalahti. On the 21st day I got a message that there was a Great Grey Owl in Tiviä. I managed to twitch it briefly but I had to hurry back to work and the bird was not seen later so I didn’t get any pictures. In the afternoon I saw a White-tailed Eagle, a Peregrine, a Hen Harrier, a Marsh Harrier and a Nutcracker.

On the 22nd day there were thousands of geese migrating but the rain stopped the migration in the afternoon. Anyway I saw some 3000 Barnacle Geese, 135 Brent, 300 Bean and 30 White-fronted Geese during my lunch-hour. A Peregrine was still in Siikalahti where also a flock of 30 Velvet Scoters were seen migrating. When it was raining I went to check all the closest fields but I found only one small flock of geese there. A couple of flocks of Golden Plovers and 150 Whooper Swans were seen.