January 2011

Boring January

First of January ticks

On the 1st of January we drove to Asikkala to start the New Year with a number 1st of January tick, the 1st ever Middle Spotted Woodpecker in Finland. At 9 a.m. we parked next to Päijänne building and after we had talked with many friends that had also decided to start a year like us, we walked to Melakuja feeder where the woodpecker had used to visit during last days.

The first bird of the year was a Yellowhammer and soon also Great Tits, Redpolls, Greenfinches, Hooded Crows, a couple of Siskins, a Sparrowhawk, Blue Tits, Jackdaws, Bullfinches, a flock of 6 Waxwings and Rock Pigeons had been seen.
After a half an hour someone spotted a woodpecker landing to the top of one larch and there it was, right on the same tree we had seen it in November. A Jay landed to the same tree and soon also a Great Spotted Woodpecker that attacked Middle Spotted Woodpecker so it dropped lower to the same tree. Then we decided to keep on going towards new 1st of January ticks. When we were back to our car we saw some Magpies.

We kept on birding with Kalle Larsson and Marko Kaukinen and continued to Lahti Polttimo where we were first as Kalle and Marko had managed to get lost. A Goshawk flew over us and a Little Grebe was found right away. The grebe disappeared but luckily it was found again when Kalle and Marko finally arrived. So we continued to Nikkilä where Kalle knew a place where a crazy Capercaillie had been staying in some backyard in last days. Finally we found the right place and after talking to a couple of locals we found the bird perched on a grill in one terrace.

Soon we continued to Kujala dump where 7 Twites had just been found. There we first saw only corvids, also Ravens, and then I found a male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker which was even better than Twites as it was a new 1st of January tick again. Soon the Twites were found too and we started a long drive south. In Orimattila we saw 3 Black Grouses.

We drove until Vantaa where a Goshawk flew over us before we parked to Veromiehenkylä where a Crested Lark was on the feeding place in front of a small restaurant. The bird had stayed there the whole winter – and it was my all time 1st of January tick number 100!

Kalle and Marko continued to try to find Hawfinches and a Robin, which we weren’t interested at all so we continued to Helsinki Vallila where we easily found 2 female Teals with some 70 Mallards. Next we drove to Helsinki city to try to see an Eagle Owl that used to perch on one roof but it wasn’t there maybe because of a hard wind. A Herring and a Common Gull and also a House Sparrow were seen. Next we continued to Espoo Kaitalahti to try to find Bearded Reedligs. We walked quite a long in very deep snow but couldn’t find any reedlings.

After all we gave up and drove to a McDonalds nearby. Also Kalle and Marko came there and after some time we were ready to start a long way back home. But then we got a message that our friends were trying to find a Tawny Owl in Laajalahti so we still continued there. Our old friend Andreas Lindén was there trying to hoot so that the owl would answer and once we heard a very promising call but not well enough. So after some time we started to drive towards Parikkala.

We still stopped in Lappeenranta Toikansuo where we tried to find an Eagle Owl. The bird was not perched on its usual places so we stopped and I started to hoot. Immediately it flew to the top of closest streetlight and started to hoot back. Amazing! It was my number 102nd 1st of January tick.

On the 2nd of January I went to birding to Imatra where I first saw some Goldeneyes in Vuoksi River. Then I continued towards the border road where a Grey-headed Woodpecker flew over my in Näträmälä. A Hawk Olw was found easily in Räikkölä fields and in the village I found a Brambling with Tree Sparrows, Willow Tits etc. In Salo-Issakka there were 2 Grey-headed Woodpeckers on the feeders and also a Crested Tit and a Nuthatch etc. A flock of 4 Black Grouses were found nearby.
Next I went to try to find a Marsh Tit that had been in Teppanala almost whole December but I found only a flock of 5 Chaffinches. In Vuoksi I saw a Smew, some Goosanders, 3 Cormorants and 2 albino Mallards. In Niskalampi I met some other birders that had found a nice flock of 26 Pine Grosbeaks! After that I decided to drive back home – I just ticked a Dipper in Simpele on the way.

The winter had been so hard that the birding in Parikkala was really wasting of time. So I was just sporting. I was playing rink-bandy and visiting a gym a lot.

On the 6th of January we went to ski to Melkoniemi forests with Pekka Punnonen but we couldn’t find Siberian Jays, only a Hazel Hen was found. In Tarvaslampi we saw a Grey-headed Woodpecker.

On the 7th day I saw a Great Grey Shrike in Moskuunniemi and soon another one in Kangaskylä. On the 8th I drove to try another couple of Siberian Jays and I found them very easily even though Pekka hadn’t found them on the previous day. I was able to drive until the birds, which is not normal, but there were some forest cuts so the road was open. In Siikalahti I saw the 3rd Great Grey Shrike in a couple of days.

On the 9th we tried to find a Collared Dove in Taipalsaari with Pekka, but only interesting bird of the day was a Goshawk in Toikansuo.

On the 14th of January afternoon I started to drive towards Hanko where we had a Twitchers Association weekend, but my car broke down so I had to leave it to Imatra. I continued to Kirkkonummi by train and managed to loan my parents new Polo so on the next morning I could do some birding too before the meeting.

I drove straight to Hangonkylä where I found pretty easily 3 Stock Doves, 17 Wood Pigeons and a Collared Dove that were wintering there. Also more than 10 Chaffinches were seen. But otherwise it was very quiet even though I was in the southernmost place in Finland. The sea was completely frozen, only a couple of Herring Gulls and a couple of Goosanders were found flying far over the ice. One Starling was also seen in the city before I continued to Tvärminne to meeting.

The weekend was fun and we had very long meeting and finally finished on midday on the 16th of January. I then drove to Kirkkonummi and soon continued to Parikkala by train. On 18th I got my car back and I hope there is everything working now!

On the 20th of January I saw a flock of 9 Black Grouses in Siikalahti and in Kangaskylä the Rock Pigeons had started to breed already – they were hooting from the nests even though it was very cold.

On the 21st of January we drove to Imatra again with Hanna. We went first to Lakasenpelto where a new Marsh Tit had been found on the previous weekend. After some searching we found it and also a Sparrowhawk. This was only the 2nd twitchable Marsh tit in South Karelia for the autumn – winter even though there had been a couple of hundreds in Finland! In Niskalampi we found a White-backed Woodpecker and a Treecreeper, in Vuoksi 8 Cormorants, 15 Goosanders, a Smew 1 albino Mallard and a Great Crested Grebe that had been found a couple of days earlier. In Räikkölä the Hawk Owl was found easily and we got some pictures and video of it. We saw it catching a vole too.

On the 30th of January we participated to a Garden twitch. In Tarvaslampi we did see some birds like 12 Ravens, 35 Great Tits and 28 Yellowhammers, but in our own garden there were almost no birds at all because of very hard northern wind. On the last day of January I still saw a Blackbird in Satumäki.