Showing posts from January, 2018

Finnish Focus On...Black Throated Diver

Two things have Black Throats on my mind, a recent online request for information on where to see summer plumaged Black Throated Divers, and the fact that we have just bought a new house. Country, Lake-side living awaits us, and that means constant exposure to the sound of these amazing looking beasts.
The sound of Black Throated Divers, along with Crane and Black Woodpeckers, is one of the quintessential sounds I associate with Finland and Summer. 
Long lazy evenings with barbeque and sauna by the lake as these beautiful silver surfers echo over the landscape.
A stunning plumage 
I am vengeance. I am the night.
Long lazy evenings with barbeque and sauna by the lake as these beautiful silver surfers echo over the landscape. Bring it on.

Finnish Focus On... Goshawk

There's a game I like to play, whenever I have Irish birders visiting here or I'm in continental Europe birding with other Irish birders. I call this game "What made that a Goshawk?"
I play this game when we come across a Goshawk whilst driving, which is the most frequent manner of seeing them, where you often have only seconds to ID one.
I played this game recently when Cathal Forkan and Joe Proudfoot visited.
Driving around ring 1 in Helsinki, Joe picked up a Goshawk sitting on a lamp post. We zoomed by, but both lads were happy it was a Gos. So I asked the question. "What made that a Goshawk?"

Juvenile/1st winter Goshawk - Juvs are pretty easy and distinctive in their way. However I have often gotten the first impression that I have a harrier on my hands rather than a Gos. Their overall coloration is striking in this regard.

The answer to this question?

"It was f*ckin massive"

...and that, believe it or not, was the right answer. It's a pe…

The "Sorry Brian" Tour - A Visit From Ireland

A few months ago I was contacted by Brian McCloskey after he saw some shots of Hawk Owl from Helsinki.
He put together a cunning plan for himself, Cathal Forkan and Joe Proudfoot to avail of cheap flights to the city.
There was just one snag...Poor Brian had some last minute college exams sprung on him, meaning he could not travel...and thus the Poor Brian tour was born.

On Saturday I took Cathal and Joe out west, starting off at a Black Grouse lek. I was somewhat worried that perhaps we were too early in the year. When we arrived the bog was silent with no snow present and it was looking a bit of a washout. We moved back into the woods looking for Hazel Grouse. We had barely moved more than 70 meters when we heard the bubbling calls of male Black Grouse coming from behind us. Back to the bog and there we found 3 cracking males sitting up on some stunted trees.

Black Grouse - male
The lads in mid-tickage
From here we moved back along the path but had no luck with Hazel Grouse. We h…