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...

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