Autumn in Siikalahti and a bit in other places too

Great White EgretOn the 14th of Septempber it felt like autumn when we parked to Siikalahti dam-road in dawn. We put up the mist-net and started counting Cranes leaving their roost. Cranes were getting up to the sky in too big flocks and they were impossible to count but 8 Great White Egrets were easy to count.

It was still pretty dark when I found a reddish harrier flying past us and it really looked good. Luckily it was soaring so low that there were trees on the back-ground and we could see it well enough to identify it as a young Montagu’s Harrier.

We saw also 3 Honey Buzzards, 3 Hen Harriers, 28 Common Buzzards, 3 Kestrels, 2 Merlins, 2 White-tailed Eagles, 3 Marsh Harriers and 2 Ospreys so raptors were moving.

But it was very quiet on mist-nets, only a Wren, 2 Robins and 2 Yellowhammers were ringed. A Moorhen was calling but still we couldn’t see it, 4 Cormorants and also 6 Brent Geese were seen.

When the weather turned worse, we headed to Likolampi where we put up a trap for Nuthatch. There had been a male that we had ringed 3 years earlier but also an unringed female that Hanna caught a couple of days later.

On the 15th day we were again in Siikalahti until midday and caught 7r+1c Robins, a Sedge Warbler, an adult Lesser Whitethroat, a Blackcap, 4r+1c Great Tit and a Yellowhammer. A Black Grouse was lekking, a Grey-headed Woodpecker calling actively and a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and even a migrating Three-toed Woodpecker were also seen. Now we managed to count 741 Cranes and also 6 Great White Egrets and a Grey Heron were seen.

Cranes
Lesser WhitethroatBlackcap

Early in the morning Chaffinches and Siskins were moving but other migration was surprisingly quiet. Some bigger flocks of Wigeons were seen, altogether 500, with about 50 Pintails. 2 Hen Harriers and a Hobby were only better raptors. Surprisingly the best birds were waders as we saw 2 flocks of Dunlins (54 birds) and 4 Grey Plovers. On the way back home we went to check 2 more Nuthatches in Kirjolankangas.

During the first days of week I didn’t see much: On Tuesday I saw 5 Rough-legged Buzzards and 8 Great White Egrets. On Wednesday I counted 1300 Barnacle Geese, 60 Brent Geese, 50 Bean Geese and 12 Greater White-fronted Geese. 110 Cranes were migrating, a Bittern was still seen, again 6 Great White Egrets, 4 Ruffs and a migrating Three-toed Woodpecker. In the evening I saw a Great White Egret, 751 Cranes and a Woodcock.

On the 20th of September I saw the first Waxwings and 8 Cormorants in Härskiinmutka. In the afternoon my parents arrived to Parikkala for weekend. In the evening we headed to count Cranes and saw 747 Cranes and saw 4 Great White Egrets, 2 Grey Herons, a Rough-legged Buzzard some Bean Geese and so on.

On the 21st day we headed to dam-road early but mist-netting was quiet, only 2 Robins, 3 Great Tits, 5 Blue Tits and a Yellowhammer were caught. A Bluethroat and a Dunlin were seen and 57 migrating Jays counted. When my parents arrived we still saw Great White Egrets and Grey Herons, a Grey-headed Woodpecker, a flock of 18 Long-tailed Tits and so on.


Bluethroat

But then we headed to Saari. In Pohjanranta we saw a Rough-legged Buzzard, in Uukuniemi Suurenjärvenliete a Merlin and a Hazel Hen, in Jyrkilä a White-tailed Eagles and a Great Grey Shrike. In Tarassiinlahti we finally found lots of geese as I had promised to my parents that we will see lots of them.

From Tarassinlahti tower we saw about 10000 Barnacle Geese on the lake and some thousands on the fields too. A Rough-legged Buzzard and a White-tailed Eagle were hunting and a White-backed Woodpecker flew past us. I was checking the swimming geese for the fifth time when I found a Red-breasted Goose! It wasn’t easy to see in the middle of the flock and we lost it after Hanna had also seen it. But luckily I found it later from the field and we all could see it well.

Rough-legged Buzzard

In Karinmäki we saw a Merlin and in Kanavalampi a young Red-throated Diver. In Pohjanranta we found another big flock of geese with one single Bean Goose which was only grey goose we saw in Saari. The rest of the evening was spent in Tarvaslampi with our parents.

CranesOn the 22nd day the wind made mist-netting impossible so we quit after only one Bullfinch and one Yellowhammer. Barnacle Geese were migrating but surprisinglt western route, but we estimated about 13000 birds. 310 Brent Geese, a Bittern, Great White Egrets, a Bewick’s Swan, 10 Rough-legged Buzzards, 316 Cranes, 1270 Wood Pigeons and so on were seen. When my parents arrived we headed to bird-tower and saw a Smew and a Taiga Bean Goose that was in a flock of Tundra Bean Geese. Then we still went to visit Kullinsuo and Lahdenkylä fields but saw nothing interesting there. After we had eaten it was time to say goodbye to my parents. In my evening jog I still saw a Peregrine in Siikalahti.

During the week on the 24th day I counted 6500 Barnacle Geese but grey geese were still missing. On the 25th day I saw a Nutcracker in Kangaskylä and 6 Rough-legged Buzzards in Siikalahti. On the 26th day a Bewick’s Swan, 15 Cormorants and the last Swallow were seen in Härskiinmutka. Other birds during the week were the same familiar birds seen also before.

On Friday I started the weekend by driving to Joensuu to twitch a young Red-backed Shrike in Höytiäinen. Luckily I saw the bird pretty well even though it was mobile and stayed very low and wasn’t so easy to most of the time. I also saw 6 migrating Bewick’s Swans, a Golden Plover, a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and surprisingly also a pale adult Arctic Skua.

On Saturday we spent the whole day in Siikalahti and tried to see as many species as possible in Siikalahti. We started walking to Raikanniemi and back from the dam-road and saw 50 common species. Only better ones were a Grey-headed Woodpecker, Wren and a Water Rail. We also heard some flocks of Common Scoters migrating above the clouds. During the day we still saw 1000 Brent Geese, 31 Black-throated Divers, 6 Red-breasted Mergansers, 6 Great White Egrets, 2 Grey Herons, 5 White-tailed Eagles, 4 Goshawks, 3 Rough-legged Buzzards, a Peregrine, 215 Cranes, a Lapwing, 3 Grey-headed Woodpeckers, 2 White-backed Woodpeckers, a Three-toed Woodpecker, 100 Waxwings and so on. Altogether we saw 76 species during the day.

On Sunday the 29th of September we did a trip to Saati but there weren’t many birds. After some searching we found some big flocks of geese but we weren’t interested of them. We had hoped to find something better, but only birds to mention were 8 Long-tailed Ducks in Tarassiinlahti and the same Red-throated Diver still in Kanavalampi.

Rough-legged Buzzard

On the last day of September there were at least 13000 Barnacle Geese and some hundreds of grey geese in Siikalahti. Also 3 Long-tailed Ducks and 4 Smews were seen.

J.A.