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.