Wood For The Trees

I didn't have a lot of time on my hands this weekend, so I had to make do with some brief stops for birds I knew to be around.
Saturday I nipped down to Porkkala, hoping to connect with a Great Grey Owl seen in the morning. It had gone by the time I wandered down, but this gorgeous female Three-toed Woodpecker was giving herself up in the car park.

A few White-Tailed Eagles and Goshawks were floating around Saltfjarden, and a pair of Grey-headed Woodpecker were whistling near the golf course. On Sunday I took the opportunity to see an over-wintering Woodlark in Vantaa, close to Viiki. 
Unfortunately when I showed up it was being pushed around by a few of the "Big lens, No bins" brigade. Two in particular were completely useless, telling me how calm the bird was after they had flushed it. I left the site, taking the dogs to a local dog-park, and returning when things had calmed down.

A bit of patience, and the bird would walk to you. 
And a cracking bird it was too. I don'…

Wayward Pines - Update

January 21st 2018

Saturday began with a planned trip to Porkkala. Up to 3 Three-toed Woodpecker had been present there during the week and that seemed as good a place to start as any.
On the way down, just past Järsö, I stumbled across a large flock of Yellowhammer right by the road. The flock was conveniently located just at a little-used turn off, below a stand of young pines, providing a little bit of cover, so on a whim I decided to stop and check through them. 
I have been on the lookout for Pine Bunting since I moved here, but getting views of flighty flocks of 'Hammers is not exactly easy. 
I came close in 2016, when we came across a distinctive looking bunting in Myrans. However we lost that bird and never saw it again. Gutting.
Pulling the car up above the field, I scanned through the closest 'Hammers feeding just through the trees, and in a couple of minutes, there, just below the trees, was a female type Pine Bunting.
Those who are already aware of me finding Pine B…

Lemon Larks and Monster Munchers

Saturday was a day for Shore Larks.

Where late last year there was one, which I failed to see, now there were three, and I decided a few kilometers out of the way was no trouble.

The golf course on the border between Espoo and Vantaa was undergoing some works, the disturbed ground and weeds providing perfect habitat.

I don't see many Shore Larks in a given year, usually only one, but usually these are in the most exposed, windswept locations imaginable, high open hill-tops, coastal, icy shipyards. Not places conducive to prolonged, comfortable viewing.

Shore Larks - great fun watching these snow boarding gems skid around on the snow. Their tracks through the snow were distinctive as a result. Listen or that cracking little call halfway through this video. Definitely one to learn for beaches in Ireland.
These were a joy to watch, in a nice sheltered valley, as they skid about in the snow. Stunning birds.  Other goodies around the valley were vocal Grey Headed and Lesser Spotted Wo…