Year changes in Oulu are

On the 30th day we drove a long way to Oulu where we met my brother Pirkka in Kemira’s small open water place where we twitched a Brent Goose that was wintering with lots of Mallards as a winter-tick.

On the 31st day we woke up before 7:30 a.m. and before 8 o’clock we headed towards Oulunsalo harbor. At 8:30 a.m. the ferry left towards Hailuoto and between the icy sea we sailed to Hailuoto and after 30 minutes we were driving towards Marjaniemi.

In Marjaniemi Pirkka knew the feeder where in the past he had been twitching a Black-throated Accentor. There were people in the cottage and soon we met the owner who was kind and we discussed about twitching both now and on the next day when there would be more twitchers. Owner was putting more food to the feeder and soon after she had left Yellowhammers started to arrive. And almost immediately Pirkka noticed a European Serin that had also arrived next to the feeder. Soon it flew inside one of the feeders where it was impossible to see.

When the Serin left after Yellowhammers we tried to get a bit closer with Hanna to get better pictures but once the birds started to come back, they were a bit too shy so soon we walked back to our ordinary position. And then Serin arrived again to the ground under the feeder. When it left again, we decided to leave too.

Back in Oulunsalo we saw a flock of Black Grouses in Riuttu and a Pheasant in Pajuniemi. Then we twitched a Common Crane in Kempele Alakylä and then headed to Oulu to search a Siberian Tit that had been seen about a week earlier. But we didn’t find it. Then we headed to Tyrnävä to search any new birds but found only some flocks of Yellowhammers. While we were already leaving we saw a male Merlin with a prey in flight.

In the afternoon we did some shopping and then went to buy some food. In the evening we watched a movie and relaxed.

Fireworks started at 6 p.m. and at 11:15 p.m. we left to check if Brent Goose was still in Kemira. Of course there were fireworks there too and only 3 Mallards were present. Soon some other first of January tickers arrived but there was nothing to see. Just before midnight we drove to Kemira pools to see that there were about 100 Mallards flying in the dark sky. So soon we went to sleep.

We woke up at 6 a.m. and soon we were again in Kemira and checking ducks but there were only about 200 Mallards and no Brent Goose. So we soon continued to Riuttu where we caught 7:30 a.m. ferry. Other twitchers were also on the ferry and soon we were driving towards Marjaniemi again. There we again met the owner of the cottage who must have thought that we are crazy as it was still completely dark. But in few minutes we heard several Yellowhammers arriving to feeder. After 10 or 15 minutes Markku Santamaa arrived and told that he had heard Serin on the way from the parking place.

And after 10 more minutes at 9:15 Serin arrived next to the feeder where it was easily seen by everyone before it flew inside the feeder again. We had got the first tick of the day but still we talked with some friends and saw Great Tits and a Blue Tit as a year-tick before decided to start driving back towards harbor.

We stopped in the village shortly but saw just some Tree Sparrows and then on the way to harbor we saw some Magpies, a Willow Tit, a Red Crossbill and some Great Spotted Woodpeckers. On the ferry we saw a beautiful sunrise while talking more to some friends and saw no birds at all.

In Huikku we saw the same Black Grouse flock again and in Oulunsalo we saw some Jackdaws. The Crane was hiding somewhere but some Hooded Crows and a Greenfinch were seen. As there was still no reports of Brent Goose, we decided to drive towards Liminka. In Kempele Honkanen we saw 4 Collared Doves easily and on the way we saw a Raven. In Virkkula we met some other twitchers. They had heard that a flock of Grey Partridges had been seen flying behind the information center, but they hadn’t seen them at all. We waited for some time until I decided to walk to the field and check if they were in vegetation behind one long ditch. I could see something on the snow about 150 meters from me and called the rest to come and take a scope with them – and there they were – at least 4 Grey Partridges.

Next we drove back to Kempele Alakylä where the Crane was now present and saw a Jay and some Rock Doves on the way.

And then we headed to Oulu where we ticked a Rook in Raksila and then in Hartaanselkä we saw a couple of Goldeneyes but nothing else. We hoped that the goose might have moved there. In Hietasaari we heard some Bullfinches and when the sun was already setting, we headed to Kemira where only the same amount of Mallards was present.

It was already getting dark when we headed again to Hietasaari to try to see a Pygmy Owl but only year-tick was a Blackbird.

In the evening we got food from Sauraha Nepalese restaurant and checked once again Kemira. And after we had watched a movie we went to check it again and now there were more than 300 Mallards but still no Brent Goose.

After all I got only one first of January tick – Serin. My goal had been 2 so I would have got my 150th tick which is so big number that I could have retired but now I must continue at least one more year.

On the 2nd of January we woke up before 8 a.m. and soon we were ready to go to Kemira again. Now there were about 1000 Mallards but still nothing else! Then we said goodbye to Pirkka and left driving toward Kajaani.

On the way we saw a flock of 12 Pine Grosbeaks in Vaala, 30 Common Redpolls in Paltamo and some Black Grouses and so on. Finally we were in Kajaani and Ämmänkoski where we met some other birders too. But unfortunately there was no sign of Mandt´s Black Guillemot. It had been seen still on the previous day but now it was gone. We saw only 3 Whooper Swans, some Common Redpolls, Red Crossbills and 4 Otters. We went to eat and still came back to check the river but before it was getting dark, we decided to start a long way back home. On the way we saw no birds at all and finally we were at home pretty tired.