A Month Of Sun-Days

The weather of late has been exceptional. Too exceptional. We have now had well over a month of dry, hot, sunny days and clear blue skies. Forest fire warnings are in place. Barbeque embargos. Cats and dogs living together. Mass hysteria.

I'm not complaining, except on one particular issue. It's not the best scenario for seeing migrating waders.

Now into June, I had yet to see any migrating Broad Billed Sandpiper, so we decided to hit Laajalahti for the morning and see out the heat of the day at the in-laws.
Laajalahti was very dry, but nonetheless we managed a few year ticks, including one each of Broad Billed and Curlew Sandpiper.

Broad Billed Sandpiper - one of my favorite wader species. Truly unique little things with amazing calls. I always like to cash in on their migration every late spring/summer. Distant but appreciated.

Other good birds included one first summer Little Gull, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Red Backed Shrike, Common Rosefinch and Icterine warbler.

Red Backed Shrike - Male. A regular haunt for these at Laajalahti, among the flooded stumps of birches.

We saw out the heat of the day with a delicious barbeque and a snooze (the age-ing) and in the evening I nipped to Suomenoja.

The usual suspects were present here, lots of duck with chicks, Slavonian Grebes etc.
Night singers weren't very active, but I did manage to find my target here, singing Marsh Warbler. Unfortunately he was often obscured or low in vegetation, and against the light, but still nice to connect with for the year.

Marsh Warbler 

On Sunday morning I fancied some Greenish Warbler action. I made my way, pre-breakfast just a short way up the road to Hvittorp. I didn't have to search too long, with 2-3 birds singing in a relatively small area around the villa.

Greenish Warbler - Usually an extremely mobile singer, barely stopping for more than a few seconds on any one perch in my experience, I was blessed when this individual took to an exposed perch for several minutes, belting out that brilliant little song.

Greenish Warbler - Greenish Warblers always want treats. "Treat, treat, treat-treat-treattreattreattreat"

Treat Treat Treat

In total I had 3-4 birds in song, 2-3 at the villa and another a little along the main road to Hvittorp.
Other good birds included lots of Garden Warblers, and a singing Icterine warbler along this road.

A morning walk with Kuura produced a flick through male Red-Breasted Flycatcher about 1km from the house and several more Robocopping Icterines as well as a few Wood Warblers.

Otherwise the only eventful news concerned a reptilian lifer midweek, in the form of this beautiful Slowworm. 

An "illicit" garden tick, I encountered this lovely female on the main road just a couple of hundred meters from the house. It seemed a little stunned or sluggish, and wasn't moving too fast as I narrowly avoided it. Knowing Hanna was driving a short distance behind me, I did a breakneck turn and pulled in sharply. 

I watched in horror as Hanna drove by, missing the thing by just a few centimeters. 

I jumped out, and realizing that it was a Slowworm, and not a snake as I had originally thought, I scooped her up off the road. 

I've encountered many reptile species in my travels around Europe, but for some reason just never managed to see a Slowworm, so I was really delighted with this.

I hope she has a long and happy life around our compost heaps.


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