29 April, 2008

Warm night, new backyard singers and morning birding trip to the big lakes

Common Redstart
Last night was warm, in fact the warmest during this year, temperature was over +7 deg. C already early in the morning. And when I opened the kitchen window during breakfast, three new artists were singing outside: Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus), Wood Warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix) and Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus). And of course the Pied Flycatcher who arrived yesterday. Not bad.

This morning my targets were the big lakes around Valkeakoski; lake Mallasvesi and lake Vanajavesi. At first I checked the nearby bays of Mallasvesi and found two new species for this year; 4 Red-breasted Mergansers (Mergus serrator) and Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos). Good start, so I headed straight to Vanajavesi, which looks more like a sea than a lake. Fortunately weather was totally calm and there was no ruffle in the air, so the visibility was perfect. And soon I found one species I was looking for; two flocks, 6 + 10 Black Scoters (Melanitta nigra) were resting in the middle of the lake, kilometers away from nearest beach. But no Long-tailed Ducks yet, nor any migrating Loons. From nearby bay I found a 2nd year Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo), pair of late Smews (Mergus albellus) - they should be much further north already- and many more much common birds.

261 Little Gulls!

From huge lake Vanajavesi I drove to nearby lake Vähäjärvi, a small eutrophic lake in the middle of fields of Ritvala. This lake is nowadays only a shadow from it's previous glory days, when it was full of waterfowls and waders. But today it provided still a sample of it's previous power; 261 Little Gulls (Larus minutus) were catching midges in the middle of the lake together with 104 Black-headed Gulls (Larus ridibundus). This big number of Little Gulls is exceptional here, so it was a pleasant surprise. And one more new species for 2008 was found too; lonely Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola) was flying around, calling all the time for it's fellows.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, pretty nice list you can get around those lakes! :D