Winter continues and continues

March was still very quiet with birds. It was still freezing cold and lots of snow everywhere. So in the beginning of month I saw mostly familiar birds which the best ones were the same Three-toed Woodpecker in Siikalahti, the same White-tailed Eagle in Härskiinmutka, a Goshawk and a Great Grey Shrike in Tetrisuo and the same woodpeckers and Long-tailed Tits on our feeder in Siikalahti. We tried to ring some birds on our feeder and managed to catch a couple of Grey-headed Woodpeckers and quite a few Long-tailed Tits but with White-backed Woodpeckers we had no luck.

On the 14th of March we saw the first migrants of the month as a Whooper Swan was flying around in Siikalahti and a Herring Gull was flying over the frozen Lake Simpele. On the next couple of days I saw some Herring Gulls more and when the weather was finally good, we went to listen to owls on the 16th day evening. Luckily we heard even 14 Tengmalm’s Owls and a couple of Ural Owls.

On the 18th day I saw 11 Herring Gulls and when we were jogging before sauna with Miika Soikkeli in Tarvaslampi, we saw a Dipper in Myllyjoki. On the 22nd day we did a short evening-drive and saw a Great Grey Owl and a Ural Owl in Oravaniemi.

On the 24th of March it started to feel like spring finally. About 10 Whooper Swans were making noise in Siikalahti and I also saw a couple of White-tailed Eagles, a Sparrowhawk, 3 Common Buzzards, 20 Lapwings, a couple of Herring Gulls, a Woodpigeon, 2 Skylarks, a Blackbird and 7 Starlings. Only year-ticks were Woodpigeon and Skylark as all other species I had seen already on the 1st of January.

On the 25th day most birds had flight back to south as there was still too much snow. Only a Skylark, a Stock Dove and 4 Snow Buntings were seen. And even though the wind was hard and southern, there weren’t many birds to see on the next day either. 13 Lapwings, 2 Woodpigeons, a Black Woodpecker, a Great Grey Shrike and a Snow Bunting were only birds to mention.

On the 27th of March we woke up before 1 a.m. and soon were driving towards Heinävesi. At 3 a.m. we were on our area and started to listen to owls. After a couple of hours we finally heard a Ural Owl and a Pygmy Owl. But soon sun was rising. During the morning Hanna was skiing a long way on forests and I was driving every single track and road in northern part of our area while stopping a lot. The best birds we managed to find were a Three-toed, a White-backed, a Grey-headed and some Black Woodpeckers, some Hazel Hens, a couple of Common Crossbills, a few Long-tailed Tits, some Bullfinches, Treecreepers, Goldcrests and plenty of Willow and Crested Tits, Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Jays that were so called point-species in this Wilderness bird-race. The best bird was a Siberian Jay that I found.

When I had picked up Hanna, we drove every single drivable road in our area but found mostly the same species, mostly just tits and Great Spotted Woodpeckers. One more Hazel Hen, Black, Grey-headed and White-backed Woodpecker were found too and also a Sparrowhawk, A Coal Tit were seen.

At 3 p.m. the race was over and it was only on the next day when we got the results by email. We were second in this race while the winner-team had got much more points, but then the rest were quite far behind us. It had been quite nice to do birding in completely new place, but I must say that our area hadn’t been good.

On Sunday the 28th of March we were 5 hours in Siikalahti and saw 10 White-tailed Eagles, 16 Common Buzzards, 6 Cranes, 70 Lapwings, 3 Stock Doves, 25 Woodpigeons, a Black Woodpecker, 3 White-backed Woodpeckers, 40 Skylarks, 35 Blackbirds, a Long-tailed Tit, 45 migrating Great Tits, 35 Starlings, 12 Snow Buntings and 6 Reed Buntings.

But even though the weather was still good until the end of the month, only birds to mention on the 29th were a Siskin and a flock of 28 Snow Buntings, on the 30th day a couple of Mallards, a Stock Dove and a Goshawk and on the 31st day a couple of Taiga Bean Geese, 2 unidentified geese and a Stock Dove.

J.A.