21 September, 2009

Mystery bird - perhaps a Cockatiel

I went birding yesterday evening with Roni and our first stop was the small pumping station in the dell of Vanhakylä fields. There is quite often some interesting passerines in the fields around the pumping station, and our intention was to search for Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus), which would have been a lifer for Roni.

But sometimes the plans change... Around the pump is a tiny birch wood and when we approached it, we heard a loud "kreee - kreee - kreee" from tree tops. Sound was really pretty loud, we heard it well about from the distance of 100 meters. I thought first that there's some shrike in some tree top, but could not see anything. Soon we noticed that the bird is hiding inside tree tops. And suddenly it flew few meters, inside another tree top. About size of a thrush, very odd flight style, fast wingbeats, like Fieldfares (Turdus pilaris) in their territories during spring. Not sure, but the bird had possibly a long tail. The situation was just too fast to make good observations, only few seconds, and sun was right behind the bird... It continued the loud "kreee" calls, but suddenly changed it to jingling sound, something that I had never heard. I was really puzzled... We tried to get even closer, but then the bird went totally silent - and disappeared like a fart into Sahara...

So, what was it? Behaviour was very similar compared to Monk Parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) that I saw in Barcelona, Spain, last year. But Monk Parakeets were bigger and even louder than this bird. After some phone calls, several e-mails and hours of listening parrot sounds from the net, I'm quite sure that the bird was a Cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus), but I can not be 100% sure. Perhaps soon when the weather gets colder, it's behind someone's door or window, trying to get in, like it's relative last week in Lempäälä.

Photo by Jim Bendon from Karratha, Australia, in Wikimedia Commons

From Vanhakylä we continued to Ahtialanjärvi lake, a birding hotspot in Lempäälä. Hundreds of waterfowl; Eurasian Wigeons (Anas penelope), Mallards (A. platyrhynchos), Eurasian Teals (A. crecca), Northern Pintails (A. acuta), Tufted Ducks (Aythya fuligula) and many more. But the more interesting ones for us were the shore birds: 13  Dunlins (Calidris alpina) and 8 Ringed Plovers (Charadrius hiaticula). According to Tatu Itkonen, who checked the lake by boat, there was totally about 950 waterfowls, 1 Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus), 1 Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus) and more, but those we missed. Anyway, this evening was very interesting...

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