maandag 9 februari 2015

Where to Watch Birds in Winter in Finland

During winter time, forests in Finland are usually quite empty with birds... it is the silence that dominates the forest's sounds. Despite this, you can still do some birdwatching; lots of people feed birds in their gardens! The variety of species is not very high, but every now and then some nice species can turn up. Tits (Great, Blue, Willow and Coal Tit) are usually found, followed by Yellowhammers, Tree Sparrows, Waxwings, Bullfinches,Fieldfare, the less usual Blackbirds and also regularly Redpolls. In a feeding place south of Joensuu there have been observations White-backed Woodpecker, Eurasian Nuthatch spp. asiatica and also good numbers of Hawfinches; a rare visitor in Karelia.

Last week sunday (Feb 1st) I went to the feeding place to see if I could take some photos and see some nice species; I felt like doing some birdwatching because it had been a while!

I spent some 1,5 hours there, enjoying myself with the Waxwings and other birds, but I hadn't seen my target species yet. Then after long waiting both White-backed Woodpecker and Nuthatch showed up simultaneously! I was able to take some good pics of both species, very exciting!

Below some of the results:
 The White-backed Woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos), male
 Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea asiatica),
 Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes), male
 Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus)
Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella)
Mealy Redpoll (Acanthis flammea), adult male

woensdag 4 februari 2015

Faab in Finland

There I am, after a year of zero blogposts. Faab is on an adventure again: Finland this time! A month has already passed since I've been here and I promised myself (and others) that I would start with my blog again, so there is no way of avoiding it anymore :) The past weeks I have been quite busy with all sorts of stuff, so I didn't find the time yet to write something.

On January 3rd I flew from Amsterdam to Helsinki where I met Roni and his girlfriend Annika. The first two days were spent in Helsinki, doing some sightseeing and birding (and eating my first Moose meat!). On monday the 5th, we set off to Joensuu, a city in Eastern Finland where I am spending this semester studying forestry! On the way we dipped a Hawk Owl, but connected with a nice group of Two-barred Crossbills. Also, we saw our first groups of Pine Grosbeaks, and I managed to ring my first Grosbeak! The 6th we mainly did Grosbeak ringing, catching 22. And on wednesday the 7th, the real life begun: the orientation days of the university started at 12.00. The next days were spent doing all kinds of practical stuff for the uni, and of course meeting a lot of new people! So far it's been a lot of fun, making new friends, doing real Finnish stuff (Saunaaa, ice swimming, ice fishing etc) and studying at another university is also challenging!

Birdingwise I haven't had a lot of time for it yet! Not that winter birding here is superb exciting, but still there are some nice things to see around. The Waxwings haven't bored me yet; I see hundreds everyday, while cycling to the uni!

Below some pictures:
 Pine Grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator), adult male and adult female
 Pine Grosbeaks, together with some Waxxies
 Roni with a 1st winter male Grosbeak
 Roni & Johanna with some grosbeaks
 Arctic Redpoll (Acanthis hornemanni), 1st winter, my first Arctic Redpoll (discovered from my appartment!)
Two-barred Crossbills (Loxia leucoptera), 20 birds near Punkaharju

And some other non-bird photos:
Joensuu: the forestry capital of Finland!