Early spring

In the beginning of March there was almost no snow, which is really no normal! On the 2nd day there were 12 Whooper Swans and a couple of Mallards in Siikalahti and also the same Nuthatch was still around. In Kannas I saw an Arctic Redpoll and in Kirkkoselkä some Herring Gulls and a couple of White-tailed Eagles. On the next day there were 20 and then on the next 34 Whooper Swans and also Herring Gull-number came up up to 62 birds on the 6th of March.

On the 7th of March I did a winter-bird count and saw 35 Whooper Swans, 2 Black Grouses, 7 Rock Pigeons, 2 Black, a Grey-headed, 18 Great Spotted and a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, 3 Blackbirds, 39 Blue, 98 Great and 5 Willow Tits, a Great Grey Shrike, 12 Jays, 23 Magpies, 45 Jackdaws, 56 Hooded Crows, a Starling, 7 House Sparrows, 30 Tree Sparrows, 16 Greenfinches, 2 Goldfinches, 19 Siskins, 176 Common Redpolls, 2 Common Crossbills, 11 Bullfinches and 32 Yellowhammers.

In the evening we did an owl-trip to Melkoniemi and heard a Long-eared Owl, 3 Ural Owls and a Tengmalm’s Owl so it seems that we might have better owl-year after many years!

On the 8th day we were in Siikalahti for some hours and saw an early Merlin, 2 Common Buzzards, a Snow Bunting, a Skylark and 3 Lapwings. In the evening an Eagle Owls couple was heard.

On the 9th day 78 Whooper Swans, 11 Lapwings, a White-tailed Eagle, a Common Buzzard, 2 Stock Doves, 3 Skylarks and a Snow Bunting was seen in Siikalahti. But then a couple of next days were rainy and only better birds were some White-tailed Eagles, a couple of Stock Doves, 4 Goldfinches and on the 12th day already 105 Whooper Swans.

On the 13th of March an early female Wigeon in Siikalahti. Also 2 male Goldeneyes, now 143 Whooper Swans and also very early Bewick’s Swan and 2 Tundra Bean Geese were found. The weather was now colder and rainy so only some lonely Lapwings were seen.

But then on Sunday the 15th of March the wind was from south again, but still it was quite freezing. We stayed in Siikalahti from 10:15 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and saw some Common Buzzard, a Goshawk, 3 Stock Doves, a Starling, a Bewick’s Swan, 200 Whooper Swans and then got a price when a Golden Eagle was seen migrating.

On the 17th day it was cold again and nothing new was seen in Siikalahti but in Särkisalmi I found 3 Canada Geese. And on the next day the same and one more Canada Goose was in Siikalahti.

On the 19th day a new noisy Bewick’s Swan couple had arrived to the flock. Also 3 Taiga Bean Geese were with Tundra Bean Geese. An early Bittern had started calling weakly and also a couple of Goosanders, 60 Lapwings, 10 Skylarks, a Stock Dove, a White-backed Woodpecker, a Grey-headed Woodpecker, 4 Common Buzzards and 21 Starlings were seen. But then the northern wind got strong and nights were very cold. So on the 20th day only a Stock Dove and a Woodpigeon were seen migrating south, 19 Skylarks were flying around and on the Whooper Swan flock there were now 4 Bewick’s Swans, 6 Greater White-fronted Geese, 11 Canada Geese and of course some Tundra Bean Geese. I also saw an “asiatica” Nuthatch that was still around.

I started the weekend with a crazy twitch. An amazing early White Stork had been found in Joutseno in the evening and it was roosting in a tree visible, so I went to twitch it in the middle of the night. In the morning we stayed in Siikalahti from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and saw 22 Tundra Bean Geese, 10 Greater White-fronted Geese, 4 White-tailed Eagles, 3 Stock Doves, 28 Skylarks and a Common Crane arrived to the bay. In the evening we did a owl-trip but heard nothing else than very noisy ice from the lake.

On Sunday Hanna was spendin the whole morning in a hide trying to photograph swans and geese but the night was very cold and birds weren’t moving almost at all. From 8:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. I saw a Sparrowhawk, a Linnet, 2 Goldfinches and 2 Reed Buntings. The Common Crane was still around and also some Woodpigeons and a flock of 32 Snow Buntings were seen.

On the 23rd of March the wind was finally southerns again but still the sky was almost empty. But I saw a lonely Twite migrating over me calling and then found a lonely goose arriving to the bay against the sun. Lonely geese are often interesting so I followed it until it started to land to the flock of swans and geese that were swimming on the bay and it indeed was a Greylag Goose. So two pretty good birds were seen in a short visit.

On the 24th day I counted 290 Whoopers and 88 Tundra Bean Geese. In Särkisalmi I heard a Nuthatch. On the next day a Wigeon couple had arrived to the bay and Common Crane had got a couple. Bittern was also calling better already. I visited Siikalahti a couple of times shortly but still saw already 53 Woodpigeons so migration had really started. The best birds were found in Särkisalmi where were early couples of Pintail and Smew.

On the 26th of March there were 7 Bewick’s Swans and 2 Greylag Geese with the flock and also a Coot and some Common Teals had arrived to the bay. In Särkisalmi Jouko Rantanen found an amazing early Gadwall that I managed to twitch. Both subspecies of Nuthatch was seen. On the 27th day mostly the same birds were seen but now there were already 320 Tundra Bean Geese and 40 Greater White-fronted Geese. A female Hen Harrier was seen briefly and a Common Snipe flew over us. In the afternoon we did a tour in Saari but saw mostly just some swans and geese. A Rough-legged Buzzard was in Ratila, a couple of Cranes and 3 Bewick’s Swans in Pohjanranta.

On the 28th day 600 Bean Geese and almost 100 White-fronted Geese , 100 Mallards and 7 Wigeons were counted. Two Bitterns were calling, 2 Mistle Thrushes, Linnets and Goldfinches were migrating and 5 Stock Doves, 5 Reed Buntings and 22 Snow Buntings seen. Otherwise the day was quiet.

On the 29th day the weather was much worse but birds better. I saw a Lapland Bunting and a Wood Lark migrating with Skylark-flocks. A Common Kestrel arrived and a Merlin was also seen. Also a stunning flock of 80 Snow Buntings was seen.

On the last days of March the weather was really bad. It was snowing and cold. So I was mostly checking the geese and swans and counted 370 Whooper Swans, 15 Bewick’s Swans, 900 grey geese and 48 Canada Geese. A female Pochard was swimming with Goldeneyes in a small open water area on the bay.


J.A.