Windy Hailuoto bird-race

On Friday the 10th of August we had once again driven to Hailuoto where we gathered to a bird-race. This time we had 2 teams: me, Pirkka and Miska Loippo and then Harry Nyström, Jarkko Rutila, Jari Kiljunen and Antti Vierimaa.

We were in our cottage quite late but anyway we had fun evening and ate a lot and had sauna once again.

On the 11th of August we woke up after some hours sleeping at 5 a.m. And less than an hour later our team headed once again towards Riisinnokka. The weather forecast was very bad and the wind was supposed to get really strong but once we had walked to Riisinnokka, we found out that the wind wasn’t too bad yet.

At 7 a.m. the rally started and it didn’t look too good in Riisinnokka until a Peregrine flushed all the waders from Tömppä and even though there weren’t too many species, at least there were lots of birds. Better species we found were Golden and Grey Plovers, lots of Caspian Terns, a couple of Little Terns, Little Gulls, a couple of Shelducks, some Smews, 90 Cormorants and 4 migrating Black-throated Divers. We also saw surprisingly many raptors: several Kestrels, a Honey Buzzard, a too distant harrier, a male Hen Harrier and a Sparrowhawk.

When we were walking back to our car the wind started to rise and there were almost no passerines in Rautaletto. A Bullfinch was heard and on the parking place we heard a Song Thrush.

Our Coal Tit spruce-forests had been cut down but we stopped several times anyway but got only some common species but luckily in Koninnokka we saw a Dunnock and a Wren.

In Kirkkosalmi we found a Garganey, Gadwalls, 3 Grey Herons, some Spotted Redshanks and saw a migrating flock of 14 Bar-tailed Godwits. We also walked in the reeds for some time but found nothing.

In Järventakusta we found only Skylarks, Whinchats, Meadow Pipits and a Reed Bunting but while Miska was visiting a shop, we found both sparrows, Yellowhammers, Greenfinches, a Common Redstart and saw a Hobby flying over us.

Then we drove until Ojakylänlahti where wind was already too strong and water very high. But in Potti we saw briefly a young Pallid/Montagu’s Harrier disappearing behind the trees. Pökönnokka was smaller than usually because of the water, but we found a couple of better birds when a couple of Red Knots were seen migrating with Bar-tailed Godwits and far on the sea we saw an Arctic Skua.

In Potinhamina we could watch to the shore in a calm place and also the light was excellent, so we managed to find a couple of Turnstones, Temminck Stints and more Red Knots. In Huikku the wind was so strong that we didn’t get out at all but finally saw some Red-breasted Mergansers.

While driving we finally saw 2 Fieldfares and in Ulkokarvo we found a Scaup in a distant flock of Tufted Ducks. But nothing else was found.

In Pöllä we saw a distant eagle that was flying just on the tree-top level. Finally it was showing well and it was a Greater Spotted Eagle!

In Kuivasäikkä the wind was so strong that sand was flying in the air, so we just turned back and continued towards Patelanselkä which didn’t give us anything new either.

Before Koivukylä we saw a single Jackdaw in flight but from the fields we found nothing new. In Marjaniemi we saw a Lesser Black-backed Gull and soon we continued towards Keskiniemi.

On the sandy road we got some shelter from the trees and saw a Cuckoo, a family of Black Grouses, some Spotted Flycatchers and heard a Waxwing.

In Keskiniemi we walked on the windy beach for some time and saw an Oystercatcher, some Whimbrels and a Green Sandpiper before it was 7 p.m. and the rally was over.

The results were given in school and it was the tightest bird-race I had ever been! 3 teams got 104 species but we had the most ace-species (species that only we had seen) and won. Even the 6th and last team had got 97 species and altogether 131 species had been seen.

When we were back in our cottage Harry had once again bought some prices for our teams, then we had smoke-sauna and again just enjoyed the company of very good friends.

On the 12th of August we woke up so that we left birding at 8 a.m. with Pirkka, Miska and Jarkko. We headed to Järventakusta first where we saw a Hen Harrier. Then in Kuivasäikkä we found several Sanderlings and a Little Stint but no Litte Terns for Jarkko.

In Keskiniemi we saw more Sanderling and Little Stints, Grey Plovers, Whimbrels, a Red Knot and some other waders too and almost the same species were found in Mäntyniemi.

After we had got stuck to soft sandy road a couple of times, we drove back to our cottage where the others had already cleaned and Harry and Antti had already left to Oulu. We packed our cars and soon it was time to say goodbye to Pirkka too.

It was a long way back to Parikkala. But after all it had been a nice weekend with good friends again!

J.A.