06 April, 2011

Mute Swan surprise

On 27th of March I noticed that our local Mute Swan has a ring in it's right leg. Naturally I thought that the bird is one of those Mute Swans that local bird ringers Jote Ahola or Markku Alanko had ringed years ago. Still, I wanted to read the ring, just to get sure when it was ringed.

So, last Tuesday I was feeding swans with my son Roni in Putaanvirta, in centre of Valkeakoski. There were both Whooper Swans and one Mute Swan, which was pretty tame. It climbed on the pier, just in front of of us, only 2 metres away, so I was able to take good photos of the ring.

But only several days later I took a better look at my photos and to my surprise I noticed that the ring is not Finnish, but a Danish ring! Wow! I sent the data of my record with enclosed photo of the ring to the Natural History Museum of Denmark. And yesterday I received the reply. The Mute Swan was ringed on 21st of March 2010 in Munkholmbroen, near Holbæk, Sjælland, Denmark, 895.5 km southwest from Putaanvirta. Now we know where this Mute Swan spends the winters!

05 April, 2011

Big rush started!

Eurasian Kestler in the fields of Linnanen

The pool plug was opened last night! Night was clear and warm, so the migration started with full power. Lot's of new species arrived during last night and the migration continued till the evening.

The landscape changes now all the time. The heavy rain that we had here yesterday has melted quite a lot of snow and that led to flooding especially in countryside. Today we had a sunny day, but tomorrow we will get more rain and for day after tomorrow, the prediction is a torrential rain! That will create big flood lakes for waterfowl and waders - good for birds and birders, but not so good for farmers.

Taiga Bean Geese in Linnanen

Back to this morning. I did a great trip with Jussi Kallio. The first new birds for this year were a singing European Robin and flock of 10 Redwings, both in Lahinen. Soon after that we stopped in the middle of the fields of Linnanen for one hour. Chaffinches, Skylarks, Snow Buntings and Wood Pigeons were flowing to north, while big numbers of sedentary Northern Lapwings, European Starlings and Skylarks with smaller numbers of Eurasian Cranes, Taiga Bean Geese, Meadow Pipits, Black-headed Gulls, thrushes (including 3 Mistle Thrushes) and some other species were resting and flying around the fields. Eurasian Kestler was the first bird of prey for today, following soon by Northern Goshawk.

Linnanen was a real Eldorado today, as other fields around were still covered with more snow. Still, the Whooper Swans or their sounds were almost everywhere. We saw also many Canada Geese and several Eurasian Cranes. Also lot's of Mallards and Goldeneyes, some Common Teals and Goosanders and about 30 Eurasian Coots. Two Rough-legged Buzzards were flying to north in Konhonvuolle. Nice surprise was also the first Small Tortoishell on the roadside in Metsäkansa.

Later in the afternoon I did another trip with my son Roni. In addition to above we saw two Lesser Black-Backed Gulls and a migrating White-tailed Eagle.

Not a bad day...

04 April, 2011

Spring winter turned to spring, finally!

Fields of Linnanen on 30th of March
During last 10 days the weather has changed totally as the termic spring (daily mean temperature over 0°C) started two days ago. Warm moist air flowed from Central Europe to Nordic countries, creating rain and fog.

So, no more walking over the hard snow, thaw takes care that hard snow turns back to soft. In fact the snow started melting immediately, and first signs of flooding are already visible. If the rains continue, we will have excellent floods on the fields, where waders and waterfowl have perfect resting places.
Below I'll write day by day what has happened, so you can get an overview how the change from spring winter to real spring happened.

27.3. Almost -15°C during night. First Mute Swan was today in Putaanvirta stream. It is a very tame and hungry individual, with a ring in the leg. The ring itself was a surprise, but I'll write about it later in separate story.

28.3. Cold nights continue, even though the daytime temperature is above zero. I saw the first Merlin today; it flew fast past my car in afternoon in Lotilansalmi.

Bewick's Swan (left) with Whooper Swan

29.3. Nice surprise today in Iso-Vuolle; an adult Bewick's Swan among the flock of Whooper Swans. Bewick's Swan is a small rarity here, so I made a rare bird alert and at least couple of twitchers came to see it. The Bewick's Swan was there still in the morning of 30th but disappeared after that.

The morning of 31st of March was still cold

30.3. - 1.4. The weather was still very cold and during daytime only few hours above 0°C. Some Skylarks, Northern Lapwings, Starlings and other scouts have been seen here by other birders, but personally I got only two new species for this year on 30.3. when Common Buzzard was soaring to north in the Fields of Linnanen and two Linnets were heading to northeast in Iso-Vuolle. I saw also two adult sedentary White-Tailed Eagles in Rauttunselkä.

2.4. Last night was warm, but still too foggy... as the fog prevents most of the birds to migrate. Still something new: Northern Shrike in Kuurila fields. Also, I saw the second Merlin for this spring, in Iso-Vuolle.

Starlings arrived on Sunday


3.4. But on Sunday it started! I didn’t actually do any birding on Sunday as we visited the relatives of my wife, but during drive to Hämeenlinna and back I managed to see a flock of 20 Starlings in the roadside in Hattula and unexpectedly the first Eurasian Oystercatcher on the ice of Rauttunselkä! It felt a bit odd to see the Oystercatcher before Lapwings and Skylarks!

Northern Lapwings and Hooded Crow

4.4. Both Sunday and Monday were too foggy for the big rush. Still, the birds seem to a have huge pressure to get to their breeding sites... When I opened the door in the morning, a flock of 10 Blackbirds flew over our house. No doubt, they had arrived during night. After that I did a nice few hour trip in heavy rain and fog, with lot's of new species for this year;  14+1 Skylarks, a flock of 83 Northern Lapwings, 2 Eurasian Wigeons, 18 Eurasian Coots, 17 Black-headed Gulls, 6 Common Gulls (aka Mew Gulls) and 2 Great Crested Grebes. In addition those also 12 Snow Buntings were nice!

The fog may fade away for tomorrow, so the big rush may start...