Rapturous Raptors

Sunday was to be a day of splendid raptor watching.

The forecast had been to be dry, if a little on the grey side. Unfortunately, that did not materialize as quickly as hoped.
I started the day down at Porkkala with a bit of sea scanning. A White-Billed Diver had been seen here a few days back, likely the same one that had been in Helsinki and I hoped to connect. 
It was not to be, however conditions were good for duck, and several hundred Long Tailed Duck were scattered around the bay.
These birds are astounding to see flying in numbers and a real treat of the Finnish coast. A beautiful duck in any of it's plumages, and a couple of White-Tailed Eagle regularly making attempts on the flocks gave a number of good flight views.
2 female type Velvet Scoter were the best of the seaduck on offer.
From here it was back north to the Saltfjarden area. A stakeout in the car park produced two immature Golden Eagle soaring around over the distant forest, while Grey Headed Woodpecker called f…

Pihabongaus 2020

The Big Garden Birdwatch came around again and my garden rose to the challenge.

Couldn't have asked for better weather. Blue skies, beautiful light and on the cold side, meaning feeders were active.
The hour started out well with a 2nd Cal White-Tailed Eagle chasing a Mute Swan at the far side of the lake. 
Several Goosander were present along with a couple of Goldeneye, Red Breasted Merganser and a single male Smew.
The usual party of Great Spotted Woodpecker put on a good show, with two birds drumming 

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 4K video. Select highest resolution in YouTube.
Other decent birds in the hour included Robin (always scarce in Winter but our garden has one or two every year), Willow Tit, a flock of Northern Long Tailed Tit, Goshawk and a calling Black Woodpecker.

Tree Sparrow


Notable absentees included Whooper Swan (herself had two in the bay Friday), Bullfinch (usual a flock of 7-8), Grey Headed Woodpecker (Usually a male…

Mild And Manky

The warm winter continues as the year and decade begins, but there's been some enjoyable birding nonetheless, in between the wet days.

As often happens at this time of year, I felt the urge to year tick the best bird in the universe, Hawk Owl. It's not been the best winter for owls, but as always, there's one of two Hawkies for the having.
I was lucky that there was one individual near the in-law's place, so it was a simple matter to align a visit for Lyra with them and a bit of superb owl watching.

The bird was present in a spruce by the car park when I arrived, but almost immediately did a close fly-by, giving great flight views, before heading to a copse in the center of the open area.

Hawk Owl - The best bird in the universe. End of.

Hawk Owl - 4K video - select maximum resolution in YouTube.

It was then on to Laajalahti, where, having seen Black and Grey Headed Woodpecker along with the owl, I rounded off the woodpeckers with White-Backed, Lesser Spotted and Three…

2019 Review

The year started with finding some black and yellow stunners, these cracking Shorelarks.

Shore Larks - These are pretty scarce birds and always delightful little skitterers.

Shorelark - A hard bird to beat.
It was also a good winter for Hawk Owl and Rough Legged Buzzard in the area.

Hawk Owl - The Best Bird in the Universe

Rough Legged Buzzard - Always class.
An obliging male Parrot Crossbill was also one of the Winter's highlights. You rarely get to see them in this manner.

Parrot Crossbill
Winter Owls were also top billing, with Pygmy Owl present in our garden and others in the neighborhood.

That silhouette.

Pygmy Owl 
This Great Grey Owl also gave itself up in the city.

Gandalf - Hard to beat a Great Grey Owl
We then made a trip to Andalucia, Spain for a family meet up and some choice birding.

Azure-Winged Magpie - a long desired lifer