May birding

Spring was coming slowly but every day something new was seen. On the 13th of May we were in Siikalahti from 6:20 a.m. to 1 p.m. and saw 71 Black-throated Divers, a Red-throated Diver and heard a couple of Bluethroats. A Pallid Harrier looking bird was seen a little bit too far. In the evening we had to come back to twitch a family of 4 Red-breasted Geese that Jarmo Pirhonen found.

On the 14th day we did the first SSP-ringing and it was surprisingly dry and green in our mist-netting area. We caught 2 Fieldfares, a Lesser and 2 Common Whitethroats, 2 Willow Warblers, a Pied Flycatcher, a Common Redstart and a Chaffinch and controlled a Great Tit. While ringing we head a Siberian Chiffchaff singing shortly and a Little Ringed Plover migrating and then in one migrating flock of Barnacle Goose we saw 2 Red-breasted Geese.

During the midday we were in Siikalahti and there was saw a 1st summer fulvescens-type of Greater Spotted Eagle. In the evening we still headed to Saari and on the way we saw some Long-tailed Ducks, Common Scoters and 2 Greater Scaups in Härskiinmutka and one more Red-breasted Goose in a big flock of Barnacle Geese in Lääviensuo. In Pohjanranta we still saw 4 Temminck’s Stints and a Marsh Sandpiper and later we still found a couple of Short-eared Owls and Great Snipes.

On the 15th day only bird to mention was late at night when I heard a Nightjar in Sounio and on the 16th day I saw a couple of Honey Buzzards and heard a Wryneck in Siikalahti. In the afternoon we went to Saari with Arttu Valonen and the tour started well when a Great Reed Warbler was singing in Akonpohja. Also 4 Gadwalls were seen there and later we found a couple of Common Rosefinches but nothing else really.

On the 17th day Swifts had arrives and geese were really migrating big time! I saw 4 Brent Geese too but all the time sky was full of flocks of Barnacle Geese. A late Merlin was also seen. In the evening we checked some owl-nestboxes but they were all empty. A Red-backed Shrike and a Spotted Flycatcher were seen and at night we still visited Siikalahti where we heard a Spotted Crake and saw a Long-eared Owl.

On the 18th day we were in Oravaniemi Ehro for whole morning but saw only 24 Velvet Scoters, 4 Greater Scaups and 3 Red-throated Divers. A Black Kite was flying around and a too distant eagle was seen but it really looked like a Lesser Spotted Eagle. During the day we twitched a Stone Curlew in Tohmajärvi Värtsilä Hopeakallio with Arttu. It was quite distant so pictures were really bad. On the way back to Parikkala we saw a Hen Harrier and a Red-backed Shrike. In the evening we still saw a Short-eared Owl in Tetrisuo.

On the 19th day the first Garden Warbler was heard in Moskuunniemi and a Reed Warbler in Siikalahti. In Saari Akonpohja we saw 3 Gadwalls and in Pohjanranta a Black Kite, a couple of Temminck’s Stint and at night we still heard a Great Snipe and saw a Long-eared Owl.

Hanna stayed a night in a hide again and tried to photograph ducks and waders. I went early to Siikalahti again and saw a couple of Oystercatchers, 74 Black-throated Divers and 112 Ruffs. Then I went to pick up Hanna from Saari but there we saw nothing new. In the evening we went to Papinlahti to make everything ready for SSP and heard a Corn Crake there.

On the 12th of May we had the worst SSP ever – only one Willow Warbler and one Common Whitethroat were ringed and one Common Whitethroat was controlled. A Golden Oriole was singing and during the day in Siikalahti we saw 14 Honey Buzzards and heard an Icterine Warbler.

On the 22nd day a Blyth’s Reed Warbler was singing in Kukonkanta and on my lunch-hour I hurried to twitch a Broad-billed Sandpiper in Pohjanranta. In the evening I visited Siikalahti-tower where are less birds than ever! Only ducks were a Gadwall couple. The funniest observation was an Elk family that crossed the bay.

On the 23rd day I saw a Temminck’s Stint and head a couple of Golden Orioles on my lunch-hour and . In the afternoon we headed to Saari with Arttu but all geese had gone. Only a couple of Tundra Bean Geese were still seen and a couple of bigger flocks of Yellow Wagtails were still found on the fields. In the evening we were in Hernesaari but there were too many mosquitoes so we had to give up before the sunset. We still twitched a River Warbler in Ristimäki and then checked some more places but all I found were a Blyth’s Reed Warbler, a Long-eared Owl and a Spotted Crake.

On the 24th day we were in the evening in Härskiinmutka where were less mosquitoes and we surprisingly saw 4 Great Egrets flying towards southwest. At night I heard a River Warbler and saw a Ural Owl and a flock of Barnacle and Brent Geese.

On the 25th day we went early in the morning to Soininmäki forest and there we tried to twitch a Greenih Warbler that Arttu head heard on the previous morning. But only better bird we found was a Red-breasted Flycatcher which was my 200th species in Parikkala this year! On my lunch-break I saw a Red-backed Shrike in Siikalahti and in the afternoon we headed to Saari to make duck-counts. We saw 4 Gadwalls, 6 Garganeys and a Black Kite again and heard altogether 5 Golden Orioles. Then we decided to drive to Kitee Kesälahti Pivanganpolku where we twitched a Firecrest. Unfortunately it started to rain almost immediately after we had heard and seen this nice bird.

On the 26th of May I saw 2 Black Kites in Siikalahti and a Redshank, a Ringed Plover and a Heuglin’s Gull in Pohjanranta. At night a couple of new Great Snipes, a Common Grasshopped Warbler, some Corn Crakes and Nightjars and a Long-eared Owl were found. On the 27th day we went to Punkaharju to check the last empty nestboxes. In Haukmäki we heard a Red-breasted Flycatcher and saw a Greenish Warbler. In the afternoon we twitched another Firecrest that was found in Joutseno – it was the first ever in South Karelia. Then we still went to Kotasaari where a Great Reed Warbler was singing, to Konnunsuo where a Hen Harrier and a couple of Ortolan Buntings were found and to Imatra Immalanjärvi where a Common and a Great Reed Warbler were heard. In the evening we still did a boat-trip with Arttu to Kurhonselkä where we saw some gulls, terns and breeding Barnacle Geese and so on.

On the 28th day the morning was spent in Ehro but only one flock of Long-tailed Ducks were migrating. We continued in Siikalahti where we saw a bit more than a thousand Brent Geese and more than hundred Whooper Swans, again a Black Kite, a Hen Harrier and so on. In the afternoon I showed to our good old friend Harri Orenius a White-backed Woodpecker, a Ural and a Tengmalm’s Owl and a Nuthatch on their nests. On the 29th day a couple of Black Kites were seen in Siikalahti and a new River Warbler was heard in Tiviä.

On the 30th and 31st night we did a long tour with Arttu but all we found were Spotted Crakes, Water Rails, Corn Crakes, a Long- and a Short-eared Owl, a Great Snipe, Blyth’s Reed Warblers and a couple of River Warblers – so nothing new. On the last day of May I still saw a Red-backed Shrike in Lahdensuo and a 2 Temminck’s Stint in Suurisuo. We ended the month by twitching a probable Lesser Scaup in Kouvola Lappalanjärvi. It was a bit late so there wasn’t enough light to see it well so I couldn’t celebrate my 400th Finnish-tick yet. I hope there are some good pictures taken earlier. The bill looked good for Lesser Scaup but otherwise it was too much Greater Scaup-like. After all I did put it to my log as a Greater Scaup.