28 February, 2010

Red-throated Loon, Dipper and more

Winter vacation started, finally some time for birding too. Well, the trip on Saturday the 27th was combined birding and shopping trip with my sons, so we concentrated on easy locations. At first we tried to find Black Grouses (Tetrao tetrix), but today they were somewhere deeper in the forests, so we let them stay there and drove to Herralankoski rapids in Lempäälä. Good choice, there were 5 Goosanders (Mergus merganser) and 1 Eurasian Dipper (Cinclus cinclus). Latter was a new one in my year list 2010.

From Lempäälä we moved to Tampere. After delicous Kääg (aka Kag'h) lunch in best Chinese Grill of Tampere, we drove to Eteläpuisto park, to see the waterfowl of Viinikanlahti bay. It's the best open water area in Pirkanmaa county during winters. Full of Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) - hundreds of them, 9 Goosanders (Mergus merganser), Smew (Mergus albellus) and one more for my year list: Red-throated Loon (Gavia stellata) - photo below. Very nice! And just a right time to switch to shopping - phone rang and my wife asked us to pick her up. More birding trips next week, if the weather allows, now there's raining water, sleet and snow...

15 February, 2010

Feels like a spring

Here in Valkeakoski we have still about 45 cm of snow and cold weather, temperatures vary from -6 to -20 °C. Sounds like a winter, does it? But when you get out, you can see and hear the signs of spring. European Greenfinches (Carduelis chloris), Great Tits (Parus major) and Blue Tits (Cyanistes cyaneus) are all singing. First Goosanders (Mergus merganser) and female Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) have arrived to open streams of Valkeakoski. Probably these waterfowl do not come from very far, I guess they have been wintering somewhere in Baltic Sea. Anyway, every year these first scouts arrive in February, no matter how mild or cold the winter is. I just wonder when the first Gulls will arrive this year...? Soon, if I'm not totally wrong.