Dark times

After a week in Säppi I still saw a Crane in Kannas on the 29th of October. Hunters were chasing the bird that had wing completely broken. I think it was a right thing to do to shoot it as weather was getting colder. Whooper Swans were still here and there mainly on the fields as most of the bays were frozen. In Härskiinmutka I saw a Black-throated Diver, in Lahdensuo a flock of 28 Snow Buntings and in Siikalahti in small open water area lots of Whooper Swans, 20 Tufted Ducks, 20 Mallards, 15 Wigeons, 2 Long-tailed Ducks and 18 Goldeneyes.

On the 30th of October I saw a funny flock of Geese in Härskiinmutka, there were 13 Barnacle, 6 Tundra Bean, 1 Taiga Bean and 1 White-fronted Goose. In Kirkkoranta I saw 112 Mallards, 2 Wigeons, a Smew and a White-tailed Eagle. On the last day of October I visited Siikalahti and saw 30 Wigeons, 20 Mallards, 16 Tufted Ducks, 13 Goldeneyes and a Scaup.

On the first days of November it was cold and Siikalahti got almost completely frozen. On th e1st day I still saw 2 Wigeons, 10 Tufted Ducks, 5 Goldeneyes and of course Whooper Swans. In Kangaskylä I saw a Nutcracker and then surprisingly found a Stock Dove with Rock Doves. It seemed it was a part of the flock already so maybe it will try to overwinter?

On the 2rd day I visited Lappeenranta and saw a Hawk Owl in Ruokolahti Oritlampi and stopped in Immalanjärvi where I saw a Tufted Duck, a Scaup, 3 Long-tailed Ducks and a Velvet Scoter.

On the 4th day I did the traditional winterbird-count. The weather was bad but there were lots of Fieldfares, Redpolls and also Waxwings so there were more birds than ever! Siikalahti was still almost completely frozen, but after all I counted 26 Whooper Swans, 6 Mallards, 3 Goldeneyes, 7 Goosanders, 11 Black Grouses, a Great Crested Grebe, 11 Common Gulls, 1 Herring Gull, 20 Rock Doves, 1 Stock Dove, 2 Grey-headed Woodpeckers, 11 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 61 Waxwings, 806 Fieldfares, 1 Song Thrush, 2 Goldcrests, 8 Long-tailed Tits, 34 Blue Tits, 127 Great Tits, 3 Coal Tits, 6 Willow Tits, 1 Crested Tit, 4 Treecreepers, 13 Jays, 13 Magpies, 99 Jackdaws, 31 Hooded Crows, 4 Ravens, 2 Tree Sparrows, 10 Chaffinches, 1 Brambling, 44 Greenfinches, 2 34 Goldfinches, 4 Siskins, 135 Redpolls (+1 Lesser Redpoll), 2 Arctic Redpolls, Common Crossbills, 58 Bullfinches and 24 Yellowhammers. Only mammal seen was an Otter.

On the 7th of November I saw the Stock Dove again and in Siikalahti I saw 10 Barnacle Geese, 1 White-fronted Goose and 5 unidentified grey geese in too bad light. Also a Wigeon, 6 Goldeneyes, a White-tailed Eagle, a White-backed Woodpecker, 3 Chaffinches and 2 Goshawks were seen.

On the 9th day I saw 4 Common Scoters in Koitsanlahti and a Great Grey Shrike in Ristimäki. Goldfinches and a Stock Dove (like in many days later too) were seen in Kangaskylä. On the 10th day I counted 301 Whooper Swans in Siikalahti and also 4 Canada Geese and a White-tailed Eagle were seen there and 2 Bewick’s Swans in Kaukola fields nearby. On the way to Lappeenranta again I stopped in Immolanjärvi and saw 2 Scaups, some Long-tailed Ducks and a Velvet Scoter.

On the 12th day Siikalahti had melted completely open because of the warm days and Bewick’s Swan was still there with Whooper Swans and 3 Taiga Bean Geese, a Wigeon, 6 Mallards and 3 Goldeneys. Also a White-backed Woodpecker was seen again. In Vartialahti I saw a Great Crested Grebe and in Kaukola a Great Grey Shrike.

On the 13th day I visited Simpele and saw a Dipper in Kokkolanjoki. On the 14th day a Great Crested Grebe was still in Vartialahti, a Bewick’s Swan in Siikalahti and a Nutcracker and a Redwing that Matti Lötjönen found in Kangaskylä. On the 15th day a Black Woodpecker was in Kangaskylä, 2 Bewick’s Swans in Siikalahti and a Great Crested Grebe in Härskiinmutka. On the 16th of November only birds to mention were 3 Long-tailed Ducks in Tähtiniemi. On the 17th day I found a Great Black-backed Gull in Koitsanlahti. It is surprisingly rare bird around here! Also 2 Common Scoters and 1 Velvet Scoter were there.

At weekend I was in Helsinki and on Saturday in Bongariliitto meeting. On Sunday I did some birding in very bad weather. I headed in the afternoon to Tuusula to twitch a Pink-footed Goose in Ruskela and found the bird easily. Then I got a call that there was a Little Gull in Tuusulanjärvi nearby and went to see it. I found the bird soon but it wasn’t a Little Gull but a Kittiwake! It didn’t have dark patch on it’s neck which confused other birders that had seen the bird already on the previous day. It was really rare bird to this area and there were some twitchers in the evening and more in the next morning when it had suddenly disappeared.

On the 20th day I visited Imatra again and in Immalanjärvi I saw some Long-tailed Ducks and a Velvet Scoter. On the 21st day there were 48 Mallards in Siikalahti and a Scaup with them. A White-tailed Eagle and a flock of Chaffinches were also seen. In Kangaskylä I saw a Nuthatch and a Stock Dove again.

On the 24th day I visited Soininmäki and heard calls of Pine Grosbeak but saw nothing else. Anyway Pine Grosbeak was a year-tick! At weekend I was having games in Lappeenranta but managed to do some birding too. On Saturday I saw a Starling in Joutseno Pätilä, a Great Crested Grebe, a Cormorant and 2 Grey Herons in Lappeenranta Luukkaansalmi and a Nuthatch in Pappilansalmi. On sunday I was birding with Sampsa Cairenius and we saw a Grey Heron in Joutseno Pulpinlahti, 67 Bramblings in Punnanlahti and a Teal and 2 Wrens in Lappeenranta Toikansuo.

On the 27th of November I finally saw 3 Pine Grosbeaks which 2 of them were nice males. On the 29th day I visited Soininmäki and saw 3 Siberian Jays. On the last day of November I surprisingly found 3 Tundra Bean Geese in Mantkanniemi where were also 2 Mallards and 2 Goldeneyes. In Kirkonkylä I saw a Nuthatch and Stock Dove was waiting for December and real winter in ordinary place in Kangaskylä.

J.A.