Common spring birds (mostly)

In the beginning of April there weren’t any surprises in birding. In Peltola a couple of Greylag Geese were with 800 other grey geese and there were more than 10 Bewick’s Swans with Whooper Swans. A lonely female Pochard was swimming in open water area in Siikalahti.

The spring was so early that Siikalahti was melting fast so I had to do the first waterbird count already on the 4th of April. 17 Bewick’s and 330 Whooper Swans, 2 Taiga Bean, 600 Tundra Bean, 250 Greater White-fronted, 3 Greylag and 42 Canada Geese, 16 Wigeons, 6 Teals, 94 Mallards, now also a male Pochard, 30 Goldeneyes, a male Smew, 6 Goosanders and a 2 Coots were seen. Other birds that were seen during the count and after it were 5 White-tailed Eagles, 2 Goshawks, an early Osprey, a Golden Plover, a Black-headed Gull, 4 Stock Doves, a Long-tailed Tit and a couple of Gold Finches.

On the next day I stayed again in Siikalahti for a few hours but saw only a couple of Pintails and Tifted Ducks, a Sparrowhawk, a Common Snipe, 23 Black-headed Gulls and 14 Snow Buntings. Hanna spent whole morning in a photo-hide next to the field and tried to get pictures of geese. The best pictures were got from Hooded Crows. It was a long morning as Hanna got out only when a White-tailed Eagle flushed all the geese in the afternoon.

On the 6th of April I did a short lunch-hour visit to Siikalahti but finally found a Pink-footed Goose that was in a big flock of geese. Also a female Marsh Harrier had arrived. In the evening we found a 2 c-y Rook in Peltola field.

On the 7th day the weather was nice and warm, so it wasn’t a surprise that 13 Barnacle Geese landed to the goose-flock. A female Hen Harrier was seen briefly but then we saw 3 Golden Eagles migrating in same time! Also 2 White-tailed Eagles were on the sky then. Hanna spent the day and evening again in photo-hide.

Golden Eagle

After my work-day I went back to Siikalahti but there hadn’t been any more eagles. I stayed there until the evening and saw 2 adult White-tailed Eagles, 7 Rough-legged Buzzards, 2 Common Kestrels, a Common Curlew, a White Wagtail, a couple of Redwings, 18 Fieldfares, a Mistle Thrush and about 350 Black-headed Gulls and 20 Common Gulls were flying over the bay. Both Pintails and Tufted Ducks were seen six pairs.

In the evening of the 8th day I saw 20 adult Bewick’s Swans swimming and probably there were more on the fields. 200 Mallards were flying between the field and the bay and again I saw 6 Rough-legged Buzzard migrating. The same Rook was still flying around and in Särkisalmi I heard a Robin singing.

On the 9th I counted already 61 Barnacle Geese in Peltola. After work-day we packed our car and started driving south. We stopped in Joutseno Korvenkylä to twitch a male Common Shelduck but then continued towards Virolahti. On the way we saw a Green Sandpiper and stopped in Ylämaa Väkevänjärvi but saw nothing interesting there. In Virolahti we put up a camp in Lakakallio.

On the 10th of April we headed early to Leerviik and there we watched to the sea for whole morning with Hanna’s sister Elissa and brother Miika. We counted 890 Cormorants but saw also a Gadwall, Common Eiders, Oystercatchers, some Black-throated Divers and Great Crested Grebes, a Grey Heron, a Lesser Black-backed Gull and a Razorbill that had something wrong as it was swimming in strange position all the time and wasn’t diving at all.

During the day we drove to Vilkkiläntura where we saw a couple of Shovelers and Garganeys. In Hämeenkylä fields I saw a Meadow Pipit and then in Kurkela we tried to see raptor for a couple of hours but saw only a Merlin, a Marsh Harrier, an Osprey, some Common Buzzard and Sparrowhawks and of course White-tailed Eagles. In Lintulahti and Hanski we saw nothing better.
On the 11th of April the morning was very quiet, only 560 Cormorants were counted migrating. After visiting Lintulahti again we headed to Hamina. We visited Klamila and Kattilainen on the way but then parked to Lupinlahti when it was snowing very heavily. Anyway we managed to find 3 Caspian Terns and hear a Redshank calling. Next we drove to Tallimäki where we found a Collared Dove after a little bit of searching.

In Kirkkojärvi we tried to see raptors but the weather was against our plans. We saw only a Goshawk and a Marsh Harrier. From the tower we heard some Water Rails and we also saw an old nest of a Penduline Tit.

Next we drove to Salminlahti but saw only plenty of Grey Herons. Then we decided to drive to Kouvola Junkkarinjärvi where we saw 40 Common Snipes and I saw briefly a Jack Snipe too. We still tried to twitch a Red-breasted Goose but found no geese at all and then a Black Redstart without luck either. We had planned to do birding in Kymenlaakso for one more day, but the weather forecast was so bad that after all we decided to drive back to Parikkala.

On the 12th of April I did a waterbird count again. The weather was luckily getting bad later in Parikkala, so I managed to count all bay in time. I saw 26 Bewick’s and 179 Whooper Swans, 220 Tundra Bean, 250 White-fronted and 880 grey geese, 30 Barnacle Geese and 8 Canada Geese, 84 Wigeons, a male Gadwall, 80 Teals, even 563 Mallards, 19 Pintails, 22 Pochards, 58 Tufted Ducks, 81 Goldeneyes, amazing 85 Smews, 5 Goosanders and 53 Coots. Also 83 Lapwings and 16 Curlews were counted. Also 27 Meadow Pipits were seen and a Grey-headed and a Lesser Spooed Woodpecker heard. We still managed to twitch an Oystercatcher in Saharanta and 3 Haw Finches in Kirkonkylä before the weather turned bad.

a href=”http://www.caligata.com/birdersdiary/?attachment_id=9261″ rel=”attachment wp-att-9261″>On the 13th day we did only a short drive to the fields nearby in the morning as the weather was still crap. 3 Lesser Black-backed Eagles, a couple of Stock Doves and a Brambling were seen. In Moskuunniemi we heard a Nuthatch. When the weather was getting a little bit better we went birding to Saari, where we first counted 300 Teals in Akonpohja, then twitched a Great White Egret in Pohjanranta where also 3 Green Sandpipers and a flock of 1000 Wood Pigeons were seen. In Jyrkilä we saw a Goshawk, a Hen Harrier and a couple of Stock Doves. In the evening we still went to Siikalahti where we saw a Greylag Goose and heard even 10 Water Rails. While driving home we saw a Long-eared Owl flying over the road.

After Eastern the weather stayed pretty bad. Anyway I visited Siikalahti every day, usually a couple of times. On the 14th day we saw a Garganey, a Shoveler and a Slavonian Grebe that was with 4 Great Crested Grebes. In Kirkkoselkä we saw a Black-throated Diver and counted 1500 gulls when the sun was setting down.

On the 15th of April a Green Sandpiper was the only bird to mention on the lunch-hour, but in the evening we found a Song Thrush, a Grey Heron and counted 22 Bewick’s Swans. On the next day I saw already 5 Marsh Harriers but the weather was still so bad that on Friday we started to check our owl nest-boxes. No owls were found but a Hen Harrier was seen and in the evening there was an early Spotted Crake calling in Siikalahti.

On the 18th day we continued checking the nest-boxes but they were empty. Dunnocks, a Wren, a Goldcrest, a Hazel Hen, some Black Grouses and then surprisingly a Wood Lark were found. We also saw a Hen Harrier and a Merlin. In the evening we visited Siikalahti but saw only swans and geese.

On the 19th day I did the duck-count again but most of the migrants were gone. 1500 Tundra Bean and 400 White-fronted Geese and especially 45 Bewick’s Swans were numbers to mention. a Gadwall male was still chasing a Mallard female and also a Garganey was seen. After the count we headed to check more nest-boxes and after a long day we had checked altogether 75 nest-boxes without any sign of owls! But a couple of good records were made as we saw a couple of Two-barred Crossbills and a flock of 4 Cormorants migrating.

On the 20th of April a couple of Greylag Geese were in Siikalahti and an Oystercatcher again in Kangaskylä. On the 21st day 27 Bewick’s Swans, a Red-necked Grebe and a Greenshank, altogether 6 Great Bitterns and 14 Water Rails were found in Siikalahti. Then the next day was so quiet that I already started to think that I wouldn’t see any better birds in whole spring…

J.A.