So Damn Hot

The weekend gone by was oppressively hot. Temperatures soared into the low 30s at one point and were consistently around 28 degrees Celsius.

Normally, at this time of year, both weather and birding conditions would mandate a horrifically early start to beat the heat, and encounter birds at their most active.

Unable to manage such an early start, I settled for a little bit of wader action on the old patch at Laajalahti.

Failed breeders and the first juvs of many species are on the move and there were some nice goodies on show. Best of which were some close up Temmincks stint.

Temminck's Stint

A large number of Green Sandpiper, both adult and juvs among them were good for the location, with the Little Ringed Plovers also seemingly having had a good breeding season. 
Other waders included Dunlin, Snipe, Wood Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank and Ruff. The usual Caspian Terns had yet to have any juvs in the roost.
Raptors included Osprey, Hobby and Marsh Harrier, whilst best of the Passerin…


The dry heat we had been experiencing for the past couple of months has yielded to the typical July humidity.
At times here, the humidity reminds me almost of rainforest conditions as the air clings to your skin and lungs, making birding a monumental effort.
This weekend we were, again, up at Hämeenkyrö, which meant another visit to Tampere dump.
Baltic Gull numbers were up significantly since I last visited, but nothing reminiscent of Heuglins present this time around.
Nonetheless they are rather stunning birds and I spent quite a bit of time with them and, of course, absorbing the variation in Herring gull that occurs here.

The back of the dump again held plenty of Blyth's Reed Warbler, with several still pumping out song even a week into July, and in the middle of the day.

Stupid stick.

Super on show

Otherwise the weekend was mostly about the raptors.
A float by Black Kite on the dump was my first of the year (one of two which had been in the area to my knowledge), and everywh…

Baby On Board

Just a little over two weeks ago, our newest family member arrived.

A midnight dash to the hospital, on Tuesday 19th of June, produced a crepuscular Hobby hunting en route (bright nights, of course, approaching the solstice) and this was the last species we saw (because birders note these things) before our daughter, Lyra, was born just 5 hours later, arriving at 5.00 a.m on the dot.

Lyra - fresh out of the oven
Two days later we got to take her home to meet Kuura, who took to her instantly, as we suspected she would. 

I took a little bit of parental leave as we adapted to Lyra's arrival and new "schedule". All in all she has been very manageable, sleeping well and feeding well. When awake, she's no bother, curious about everything around her and no crankiness. 
What should have been a hectic, frazzled chore instead became a near two week blissful combination of relaxing in the continued, record long stretch of hot weather. Taking long walks with Kuura, cool dips in …

Finnish Focus On... Blyth's Reed Warbler

Blyth's Reed Warbler. A species I openly admit I did not give enough love to back in Ireland.

It's understandable though. A brown skulker in a hedge, giving the odd "tac" call, desperately trying to see if it has a short primary projection etc, is not the most exciting experience you can have in Irish birding. That, of course, is having a Fea's petrel bank up into your scope or a Pallid Harrier glide into view or a Baltimore Oriole pop up beside you at the tennis courts on Cape Clear.

Here, however, they are not brown skulkers, well...they are, of course, but not when they arrive in. And even after they establish themselves on territory you can always come across one or two which are showy.

When they make landfall they can't wait to proclaim their presence, singing at any time of the day, from any suitable patch of habitat. They're often not brown as adults either, in my opinion, more silvery, khaki and white and often delightfully showy.

Clean and crisp