21 March, 2011

Early spring birding in snow desert

Herring Gulls, stalking at fishermen
 Birds and birders here in north have to adapt to the fact that spring comes slowly and 99% of the landscape is covered with ice and snow. So, it's essential for both birds and birders to find all possible oases in this white desert.

The oasis in this case is naturally a place where birds will find something to eat. Roadsides with no snow, dung piles in the fields, dumps, open streams or rivers, feeding places, spots where fishermen leave garbage fish etc.

So, last Wednesday I went to search for these oases, with ultimate goal in my mind to find some new birds for this year. No Skylarks yet, but still I managed to find first 1 and later 3 Snow Buntings. The first one was in the dung pile in Kannistonmäki fields and the rest 3 were on the road side in Kuurila.

Fishermen were again on the ice of Rauttunselkä near Viidenummero. About 10 Herring Gulls, 3 Great Black-backed Gulls and an adult White-tailed Eagle were stalking at them, waiting for carbage fish.

Later I saw also 3 Whooper Swans and 10 Goosanders in small open water area near Valkeakoski, where local paper mill lets warm condensation water flow to nearby lake.

Dung pile, where I found the first Snow Bunting of this year
During weekend we got even more snow, about 10 cm. Perhaps during this week the spring really comes. Or not, we'll see...

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