Early spring trip to Jurmo

On the 6th of April Veikka Kosonen picked me up very early and we started a long drive. In Lapinjärvi Pukaro we had to stop we we found 2 Grey Partridges on the snowy field. Then we continued until Salo where we twitched Collared Doves and saw a Pheasant and a flock of Common Pochards. It was very wintery in Salo too as last night it had been snowing everywhere in Finland.

After some shopping we continued until Parainen Nauvo Pärnäinen where we carried our stuff into the ferry and saw a Coot. We stayed all the ferry-trip on the dock and saw some Common and Velvet Scoters, Long-tailed ducks, a few Black Guillemots, a small flock of Greater Scaups, a couple of Curlews and so on. Finally we were in Jurmo which was all covered by snow! We were told that there was now more snow than in whole winter thanks to last night.

It was very hard to get our stuff to the bird-station because of the snow. We didn’t really have much time for birding left but we saw a Stock Dove and a Wood Lark on the meadow and on the feeder there were plenty of tits, robins and so on and a couple of Dunnocks.

On the 7th of April Veikka and Jouni Saario woke up early to mist-nets. We headed to do morning sea-watch while the rest went to walk the western route. With Timo K. Palomäki and Vesa Virtanen we were seawatching under a pine that gave some shelter from the wind. We saw more than a thousand Common Scoters, a couple of Common Shelducks and Greater Scaups, a Black-throated Diver, an Arctic Skua, 82 Razorbills, 2 Green Sandpipers, a Lesser Black-backed Gull and a Snow Bunting.

It was so quiet on the mist-nets that Veikka could stop early and we went together to count the eastern route. We saw 10 Rock Pipits, a Common Redshank and a couple of Wood Larks. On the way back towards the station we still saw a Hawfinch. During the day we saw also a Marsh and a Hen Harrier.

The 8th of April was pretty similar. We seawatched with Vesa Virtanen and Teijo Saari and when Veikka was free, we headed to count western route. Near the harbor we managed to twitch a Caspian Tern that Vesa had seen flying over then station. Best bird in west were a Dunlin (schinzii) and a Jack Snipe. But the best birds of the day were seen in the evening at the station where we first saw a Hawfinch and then a Ring Ouzel. During the day snow has finally melted mostly so the expectations were getting higher.

The 9th of April was a bird-day as ringers were busy with 358 ringed Robins. But nothing better was caught. Best bird of the morning was a Tree Pipit that was flying around. It was quiet on the sea but a single Slavonian Grebe was swimming close to the shore. With Timo and Teijo we counted western route and saw a couple of Gadwalls, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a flock of Purple Sandpipers, the same Dunlin, a Jack Snipe and a Twite. As I though I hadn’t walked enough we still went to east with Veikka and saw a couple of Shovelers, a couple of Slavonian Grebes, a Black Redstart and a Whinchat. In the evening a Tree Sparrow, a couple of Rooks and a stunning male Black Redstart were seen close to the station. During the day we had counted altogether 56 Chiffchaffs.

On the 10th day there were still some birds moving and 166 Robins were ringed. The best bird of the seawatch was a Common Guillemot which was Teijo’s 200th Jurmo-tick. We also saw a flock of 3 migrating Hawfinches and a Rook.

With Veikka and Teijo we headed west and saw a nice Steller’s Eider that was swimming on the lake and then flew nicely past us.

Next days weren’t good at all even though the weather didn’t seem too bad. On the 11th day we counted more than 2000 migrating Common Scoters and saw a also 2 Steller’s Eiders. In west we saw 35 Purple Sandpipers and in east a Black Redstart. There was almost no birds on the nets and only a few Chiffchaffs were seen, but 20 Rock Pipits was a good number.

And the 12th day was as poor. More than 2000 Common Scoters and a Red-throated Diver were seen but mist-nets were empty. In west we saw a Red-necked Grebe, Purple Sandpipers and a Dunlin. Altogether 4 Black Redstarts and 9 Wood Larks were seen but I didn’t see a single Chiffchaff. In the evening we heard an Eagle Owl calling a couple of times and with Veikka we heard a Great Bittern calling while migrating.

On the 13th of April we were working hard again but only birds to mention were a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Dunlin and a Tree Pipit. It was good to see some Coal Tits too as some of them had survived their long travels.

The last morning we seawatched with Veikka and saw more than 2000 Common Scoters and 100 Razorbills. I finally saw my first buzzard in Jurmo which was a Rough-legged Buzzard and we also saw a Common Tern. Then we still walked the western route in hard rain and saw quite a good selection of the same birds than every day.

On the ferry we climbed to the deck again and it was full of other birders. Only new bird was an Osprey.

On the way back home we stopped in Hyvinkää Kytäjä where on flooded fields we saw a Green-winged Teal after some trying. It wasn’t easy because of it was with about 600 Common Teals and they were mostly behind some bushes. We still saw a Long-eared Owl crossing the road in Luumäki and finally about at midnight I was at home. Veikka still had some driving left.