Stealing Time

It was a busy weekend of socializing, meaning any birding I managed had to be snatched here and there.

With most of Saturday booked up with indulgent barbeque (the weather is too good not to partake in the Finnish obsession with grilled meat), I set out early for Porkkala. My targets were Red Breasted Flycatcher and Greenish warbler, both of which are now in (though Greenish are not in full strength yet).

I was successful with a few Red Breasted singing along the road at "moose meadow" but failed to find any singing Greenish (yet).

This beautiful make Red Breasted Flycatcher gave a wonderful performance, singing from stumps relatively low down for them, in an area of flooded forest. Absolutely stunning bird.

Red Breasted Flycatcher is one of those birds that I still cannot believe I get to see on such a regular basis, and is one of my favorite species here, especially when they look like this.

Red Breasted Flycatcher - not the most red breasted you can get, but still a little cra…

Hotting up

It was kind of a 3 day weekend, with Thursday off for Ascension day.Lots of birds had over the course of the 3 days, especially in terms of inbound Passerines, but with the heat involved, up at 28 degrees in some places (Helsinki was the hottest location in Europe over the past few days), things got very hazy, very quickly, making phonescoping difficult. 

So hot out!! Milk was a bad choice!Pure blue skies made viz migging very tough and I encountered virtually zero soaring species the whole time.Thursday I made a morning trip to Laajalahti. I was in the mood for some waders and was rewarded with nice views of my first Temmincks stint of the year, Little Ringed Plovers, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper, Bar Tailed Godwit, and Spotted Redshank.

Barwits - decent scarce wader hereOf course, the old reliable monsters, Caspian terns, were in situ. Always incredible.

My first Common Rosefinch of the year was singing away near Maarintorni, and a Penduline tit flicked through briefly.Spotted Crakes whipped a…

Snakes and Adders

Migration continues apace as we push into May, and birds continued to jump onto the garden list.

Cuckoo, Little Gull, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Wood Warbler all had featuring roles.

I'm loving, in particular, the Pied Flys and Little Gulls.

This male Pied Flycatcher appeared mid week, instantly singing and throwing his weight around. He had a few squabbles with a pair of Great Tits who are building in one of the nest boxes. Apparently they are often the more dominant cavity nester and will push Great tits etc out. However he seems to have left them be for now, focusing on the other plentiful boxes we've placed. After several days of constant singing, he attracted a rather cute female yesterday. He has space for several in the garden, so hopefully he finds a couple more for his Mormon lifestyle.

What a great little song
The first Little Gull appeared on the lake over a month ago, though that wasn't viewing from the garden. This week, however, several have been hanging around t…

Estonia 2018

With the Vappu (May holiday) weekend on the horizon, we chose to avoid the mentalness of what is, essentially, the Finland Paddy's day, and take a few days across the gulf in Estonia.
Estonian birding has some noticeable differences to Finland, with some key species, such as White Backed Woodpecker, being much commoner/easier to see, and a number of species which are virtually absent from Finland.
We chose a delightful cabin on Airbnb, near Haeska, on the north side of Matsalu bay.

If you have never been to Estonia, go. If you have never been to Matsalu, Go! And if you have never experienced the Arctic migration of wildfowl and other northern birds, at Matsalu, GO! The first couple of weeks of May are often an incredible spectacle.
The ferry leaving Helsinki produced some overdue year ticks in the form of Eider and Common Scoter.
We arrived to the cabin at 6 p.m and after a quick meet and greet with our hosts, being shown all the workings of our rental and their inevitable fawning …