Waiting for winter

Once we were back from Azores I was birding short trips almost every day. It had been very warm autumn and it still stayed warm fo a long time. On the last days of October I saw still several Great Crested Grebes and some Black-throated Divers and the first Goosanders started to get to flocks. In Siikalahti there were still a small flock of Barnacle Geese and a lonely Brent Goose which had a strange curvy bill. There were also plenty of Whooper Swans, some Mallards and Wigeons and 2 White-tailed Eagles. In Kangaskylä there was still a small flock of Starlings.

On the 1st of November started a Parikkala & Rautjärvi bird club’s November rally and I started it with a Pygmy Owl in Koitsanlahti. Otherwise on the first days there were still some big flocks of Fieldfares with some Redwings and I even saw some Pine Grosbeaks in one of the flocks. Some Smews were gathering to Tiviänlampi but not as many as usually. There were also a Tufted Duck and a Scaup. On the 4th day I visited Imatra Immalanjärvi where were some Common and Velvet Scoters and Long-tailed Ducks. In Rautjärvi Kopsala I saw a Common Buzzard. On the next day I saw a small flock of Brent Geese in Punkasalmi.

On the 6th of November I did a winter-bird count. It means 18.5 kilometres walk from our home around Siikalahti. I saw 4 new species for the route: a Bewick’s Swan, 11 Canada Geese, a Blackbird and a migrating Rough-legged Buzzard. Other good birds or numbers were 5 Wigeons, 30 Mallards, 55 Whooper Swans, a Goldeneye, 2 White-tailed Eagles, 34 Common and 5 Herring Gulls, 2 Fieldfares, 32 Long-tailed Tits, 112 Jackdaws, 2 Sparrowhawks, 7 Goldcrests and 2 Coal Tits. Altogether I saw 38 species which was a new record.

On the 7th day I went to Melkoniemi forest where I saw 4 Hazel Hens and a Capercaillie. In Tarvaspohja I saw a Black-headed Gull. On the 8th day I saw 2 Cormorants in Haikanniemi and on 9th a Waxwing in Kangaskylä. On the 10th of November I visited Melkoniemi again and managed to find 3 familiar Siberian Jays.

On the 11th of November I did the last trip for some time and saw a Red-necked Grebe in Joukionsalmi, an Arctic Redpoll in Tähtiniemi and a Dipper, a Three-toed Woodpecker and another Rough-legged Buzzard in Simpele. In Härskiinmutka I saw another Cormorant.

The winter didn’t come in November at all. Well, there was a couple of colder days but it was still mostly raining not snowing. On the 18th day a Black Scoter and a Great Grey Shrike were seen in Rautalahti, another Great Grey Shrike in Moskuunniemi, 4 Canada Geese in Kirkkolahti, a Great Crested Grebe and a Red-necked Grebe in Haikanniemi and a Teal in Simpele Kokkolanjoki.

On the 19th day I drove to Salo to BirdLife weekend. On the way I picked up Markus Keskitalo and we stopped in Espoo where we saw 50 Wigeons, 25 Gadwalls, 12 Teals, 6 Smews, a Coot and a White-tailed Eagle in Laajalajhti and a Stock Dove in Suomenoja.

The rest of the weekend was busy with lectures. It was nice to see Kalle Larsson with whom I stayed in Salo. On the way back on the 20th day we tried to twitch a late Spotted Flycatcher in Lauttasaari, but we couldn’t find it. In Koivusaari we saw a massive flock of 50 Grey Herons.

During the last days of November I still saw a Great Grey Shrike in Siikalahti, Goosanders, Whooper Swans, Common Gulls and a Herring Gull in Lake Simpele but nothing else there. In Kangaskylä a Nutcracker was once again in railway-station and the last and 67th species to my November list was a Grey-headed Woodpecker in the 27th day in Kirkonkylä. On the same day there was still a Wigeon in Kirkkolahti too.

J.A.