When Birders Have Weddings

We had a small event over the past 10 days. Just a slight change of pace.

Actually it was a bit manic the past two weeks. Last minute sorting of things. Guests arriving from all over Europe. Showing people around.

But we got there.

The first guests to arrive were my best man, Ciarán Smyth and his family, on Wednesday evening. 

I had taken Thursday off to take him and sister, Laragh, out birding around Helsinki. Alas, after weeks of good weather, Thursday was simply horrendous. 

We braved it regardless, and managed a few nice bits, like singing Red Breasted Flycatcher and River Warbler. But it really was a hideous damp day, and we all appreciated the sauna and beers in the evening.

Ciarán "enjoying" a damp day on Sundsin tower

Common Rosefinch - Ciarán Smyth

Sub-adult male Red-Breasted Flycatcher - Ciarán Smyth

Slavonian Grebe - Ciarán Smyth
River warbler - Ciarán Smyth
Red-backed Shrike - Ciarán Smyth
Friday we had to head to our venue and get everything ready for the big day, Saturday. It all went off without a problem, and we even managed to work a bit of birding into the festivities, racking up a pretty decent list for the wedding.
Wedding Birding - Fred Wilhelm Photography
 
Wedding list - pretty decent, multi-lingual haul

Wedding Birding - Laragh Smyth

With the happy occasion done and dusted, we were free to entertain a few of our guests during the week, whilst a few of the Irish birders headed off east in search of goodies. More on that later.

On Thursday news came through of a Great Grey Owl in Matinkylä. We were due to be in Matinkylä that evening, for a "grilli" (bbq) anyway, but I picked up the phone to Hanna, who was showing my parents around Fiskars, out west of Helsinki, and told her to get my old man back to the city in quick time. The bird hung around the whole day, and I managed to see it myself that evening. It was a bit mosquito bitten around it's left eye, but a stunning bird nonetheless. I believe this is the first June record for the area and a real jammy catch up for my da, considering he didn't head east with the boys. 

Great Grey Owl - Stunning bird, a bit mosquito savaged around it's left eye the poor cratúr.


We celebrated the owl well into the evening with beers and meats from every animal. 

Grilli is life

On Saturday I managed to get out for the day with the old man, and Dara Fitz. We started out at Laajalahti nabbing River warbler and Marsh Warbler in quick succession. 


River Warbler

From the tower we had the usual bunch of Caspian Terns, a few Great White Egrets and a few adult Little gulls. The first failed breeding waders were also returning, with a handful of Ruff, Spotted Redshank and Green Sandpipers about. 

Spotted Redshank

Caspian Terns

Common Rosefinch

After dropping Dara back to his family in late morning, we continued on West to Kirkkonummi, picking up several Honey Buzzards, Osprey, Hobby and White-Tailed Eagle for our trouble. 

The old man on Sundsin Tower - what a view

A pair of Red-backed Shrikes and some calling Hazel grouse were also welcome, but otherwise it was hard going, with not much singing so late in the day. 

We finished up the day at Suomenoja, watching Slavonian Grebes feeding young chicks. Cracking little fluff balls.

Slavonian Grebe
 
Baby Slav - D'Awwwwwwwww

On Sunday, Rob Vaughan and Shane Farrell were back in the city with a morning to kill before flying home, so we started at Laajalahti, watching Caspian terns, ruff, spotted Redshank and Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, before heading over to Viikki for Citrine Wagtails, Bearded Reedling, White-Tailed Eagle and Great Reed warbler.

Immature White Tailed Eagle - monstrous

The Faddler and Disco enjoying Laajalahti

All in all it's been a great couple of weeks catching up with friends, good food and good birding...oh...and that whole getting married thing...that was kind of OK.

Trip report to come from the three lads who went east. Should be fun. 

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