Flying Home For Christmas

It's been a busy Autumn with a few birds of note. 

One of my smaller patches, Suurpelto in Espoo, produced a flyover White-Backed Woodpecker which I was well impressed with. Combined with a male Grey-Headed Woodpecker in the reedbed for some reason brought my list of woodpeckers at this site to 6.



White-Backed Woodpecker - a nice ID if I do say so myself

The garden also produced the goods, with the first ever Lesser-Spotted Woodpecker visiting the feeders (they visit the garden daily, but we've never seen them take food before). This male has now come in regularly.




Lesser-Spotted Woodpecker



A male and female Grey-Headed Woodpecker are a daily feature.

Greater Spotted Eagle has become a pretty regular winter feature in Kirkkonummi these days, surprisingly. 

I managed to catch up with the bird at Salfjarden where it showed very well for a number of birders present.


Greater Spotted Eagle 


I also made sure to get my eyes on the first Hawk-Owl of the winter, a bird near Lautasaari, with a bonus Great-White Egret (rare in winter). 



Hawk-Owl - as always, important to see the best bird in the universe on the regular.








Great White Egret




It was then, however, time to pay a visit home-home, to Ireland. Our first visit in 3 years thanks to the damned COVID (which yes, is real, whichever nutters may read this and say otherwise).

Seeing family and friends, as always limits free time for any birding, but nonetheless we took the time go and see Rob's Double-Crested Cormorant. Had to be done really.




Double-Crested Cormorant - Thanks Rob.





We then carried on out to Lisadell and Raghly. No joy with the Cackling or Canada Goose, but the Green-Winged Teal was still knocking around.



Green-Winged Teal

A Great-Spotted Woodpecker in Lisadell was a real sign of the times, but it was nice to just see things like Great Northern Divers etc in big numbers (rare in Finland). 2 Long-Tailed Duck were the best of the rest in the area.

We then carried on south and home, but not before stopping off at Lough Arrow, where I found a fetching drake Lesser Scaup. A nice result! And a lifer for herself!


Lesser Scaup - Lough Arrow

We also paid visits up and down the Dublin, Meath and Louth coasts where we could. 









The Blackrock Ring-Billed Gull was nice to see. Been a few years since we have encountered this species. 




Another nice find was a female Surf Scoter at Ben Head, Co . Meath, with several Velvet Scoter also in the area. 


Velvet scoters

We made our usual stop in Baldoyle to check the Brent Geese, where it was nice to find a Dark-Bellied Brent and several of these Grey-Bellied Brant things. No idea what is going on with these at present. I've had Grey-Bellied in the past at Seagrange, But they seem to be everywhere these days! Was pretty sure I had one distant at both Swords and Gormanstown too, with Brian McCloskey having several others around North Dublin.





Dark-Bellied Brent






Grey-Bellied Type


And a day trip to Wexford, an area I haven't been birding in for about ten years now was also nice.



Spoonbills - longstaying birds, nice to see, even if they didn't get up to much.

Brent were on the cards here too, with about 5 Dark-Bellied on offer, a few more of the Grey-Bellied things and what looked suspiciously (though briefly) like an Immature Black Brant, which did a disappearing act behind the flock/rise in the field.






Dark-Bellied Brent




Thing





Possible Black Brant

Tried for the 3 Black-Necked Grebe at Rosslare, but don't think I was in quite the right spot. 

Unfortunate to see the absolute state Irish Rare bird news sharing is in these days. 

The Band group is doing a good job of disseminating all rare bird news, especially compared to the national WhatsApp group, which was reasonably quiet over the course of the festive period. 

But it seems a lot of news is locked away, perhaps in more local WhatsApp groups, or even just birders being very early 90s and posting news late in the evening.

As it turned out, a Gerry O'Sullivan had seen the grebes in question, which would have been nice to know/ask for directions on.

Nonetheless, finished the day out fairly well with Marsh Harrier (trash for me these days), a number of Ring-Tail Harriers, Bearded Reedlings and 2 Glossy Ibis at Lady's Island.

A really enjoyable trip, and a decent return of finding for just a few days birding on the auld sod.

Gonna try and visit more often now things are a bit more travel stable.

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