The first Finnish-tick twitch of the year

I had been waiting for a free weekend for a couple of weeks as a Red Kite had stayed in Nakkila for a long time and I really wanted to go to twitch the first Finnish tick for the year. I managed to get Pekka Punnonen and Sampsa Cairenius to join to the twitch and finally at night of 13th of December we left driving towards west. It was a long drive but we made it in time and had breakfast in Pori before we continued to Yyteri. There we walked along a slippery path to the first bird-tower where we were when the sun rose. There we realized that we had to walk until the 4th bird-tower which was a long walk but with Sampsa we made it even though the paths were really dangerous. Sampsa walked even more to see Munakari island better but luckily the bird that we were searching was seen in flight so I also saw it – it was a Knot which is a craze winter-record and also a year-tick for me.

We really lost too much time in Yyteri but finally we continued to Nakkila Järvikylä to twitch the Red Kite. It had been seen already and once we got there there was no other twitchers anymore. After 1 hour Pekka found first on White-tailed Eagle and soon I found another one very far in south-east. And soon I found one more raptor following them and there it was – a Red Kite! The bird was really far but it was flying closer. We lost it behind some trees but after some time Pekka found it perched on the field not too far anymore. I was hoping to get some pictures, but soon it was flying again. I managed to get one crappy video of it flying before it disappeared again. Soon it came close to us to a place where it has been seen often but it dropped behind the forest too soon again.

We still waited for some time and saw a Stock Dove flying over us – I have now seen a Stock Dove in every month in Finland. Other bird seen or heard were a Common Buzzard, a Black Woodpecker and a Great Grey Shrike.

Then we drove to Pori again where we tried to find a Tundra Bean Goose in Halkokari, but found only 3 Grey Herons. Then we headed towards Kauhajoki but twitched a Crane in Lavia Ruojärvi on the way. In Kauhajoki we ate well and then continued to Teuva Opintola Bed&Breakfast to have sauna and sleep.

On the 14th of December we headed early to Kauhajoki fields. We were trying to twitch a Snowy Owl that had been staying there for a long time. We first went to Anintie bird-tower but when we couldn’t see the owl there, Sampsa stayed there but with Pekka we left driving around the fields. We searched it for 3 hours before getting back to Sampsa and then did another tour around every single place where the owl had been seen but we couldn’t find it. We did see a White-tailed Eagle, a Goshawk, 2 Sparrowhawks, a Merlin, a Great Grey Shrike, a Chaffinch and a Linnet but the owl wasn’t found. After more than 7 hours searching it started to get dark so we had to give up and start driving back home. It was a long drive but after all I was at home 11 p.m.

J.A.