The Heat Is On
A fairly warm and sunny weekend, which you would think would be no obstacle to birding.
Unfortunately, these kind of weather conditions in Finland, in July, are not the best for viewing birds.
Most songbirds have given up singing now, and by the time 9a.m rolls around it can be too hazy to deal with.
I decided to chance my arm with a bit of gulling on Saturday morning at Ammassuo dump, half hoping for a juv Caspian gull, which should be starting to turn up any day now...
Only kidding, Large gulls suck, I was actually hoping for a raptor of some decency. As this rather tasty looking Steppe Eagle is located down in Turku, I was thinking it, or something equally good could be soaring around.
When I pulled up an adult White Tailed Eagle was instantly obvious over the dump, quickly followed by a displaying male Honey Buzzard. But that was pretty much it on the raptor front. The gull front wasn't worth talking about.
I then moved on to an area of fields near Kauhala. I've had luck here in the past when the fields have been freshly ploughed, finding a juvenile Caspian Gull here last year. Nothing was ploughed yet, and likely won't be for another month, however I was hoping for maybe some Shrikes or other passerines.
I got a fright when I rounded a corner, and there was a raptor sat on wires at the end of a lane. I expected it to be a Buzzard or a Marsh Harrier, so was very surprised to see it was a ringtail harrier. There shouldn't be any ringtail species around here within reason. Now and again you get a breeding pair of Montagu's in the capital area, but they're a rare sight. Certainly Hen or Pallid shouldn't be on the cards. Nonetheless it seemed it was one of these two rather than Monty's.
Unfortunately the haze was ridiculous (as you can see in the pic below). A few brief flight views showed four primaries...but a terrible state of moult. Structurally and gizz-wise it felt like a Pallid Harrier and my gut tells me that's what it was. One that got away.
Probably never know. Feck. Feckity feck.
After giving it an hour or more hoping it would reappear, I made my way to Laajalahti. Some nice late summer waders treats were on offer, principal among which were Curlew Sandpipers.
Curlew Sands are a real late summer treat, the first wave typically being Summer adults.
Common Crane - Gotta love the dinosaurs
Today I gave it a couple of hours at Maarintorni again, but same situation. Lot's of haze and not much movement of birds. A juv Black Tailed Godwit was the only sign of fresh birds, and a decent scarcity.
Spotted Redshank were also around, and as per usual were the Caspian Terns.
The moon is often visible during the entire day this time of year, but seemed particularly close today. Never tried phonescoping it before. Quite pleased with the results.
We need some movement now. Soon the waders will begin moving in earnest, and we will see juveniles of most species, assuming they had a decent year. Raptor rarities, loafing around Finland, may also start to make an appearance. Bring em on.