18 May, 2016

Battle of Towers 2016 in Tykölänjärvi northern tower

Early morning view to the lake Tykölänjärvi
Photo by Tom Eklund

On Saturday 7th of May it was again time for friendly "Tornien Taisto", in english "Battle of Towers", for the 23rd time, arranged by BirdLife Finland, encompassing 300 bird watching towers throughout the country and over 2,300 people. The battle pits the Finland's bird watching towers against each other to observe the greatest number of bird species in the space of eight hours, from 05:00 to 13:00. This year’s winners were the towers in the western coastal cities of Kokkola and Pori, where over 110 birds were identified.

The inland tower with the highest count of bird species, 96, was located at Sysmäjärvi Lake in the eastern city of Outokumpu.

Over 220 bird species were reported in all this year, with a rare sighting of a small gull native to Siberia and the Arctic the most noteworthy sighting of the day. Ross’s gull (Rhodostethia rosea) was sighted at the Röyhynsuo tower in south-central Janakkala.  It has only been seen eight times in Finland prior, the last time in 2012.

Whinchat near our tower

Our battle started in chilly weather, but lot's of species were still singing around us. Five Black-throated Divers (Gavia arctica) were calling in nearby lake Mallasselkä, two male Grey-headed Woodpeckers (Picus canus) were calling to each other, the other on left side of tower and the other on the right side. Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes), Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus), Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) and many more. After first hour our count was already 50 species!

The new tower of Tykölänjärvi
Photo by Tom Eklund
And when the sun climbed higher, the weather got warmer and finally we had to reduce clothing. It felt like a summer! We got new species almost till the end, of course not with the same speed as in the beginning but the final result was a pleasant surprise for us: 78 species, our best ever result! We could have got even one more if my old IPhone 4 had not ran out of battery: Ville found two Long-tailed Tits close to the tower when he was guiding a visitor group, he tried to call me, but failed... 

We had also a secret weapon in this battle....

Our secret weapon gave us two species: Eurasian Wren and Wood Warbler :)

Here is our full list:

  1. Taiga Bean-Goose (Anser fabalis)  2
    goose sp. (Anser/Chen/Branta sp.)  152
  2. Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  
  3. Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)  12
  4. Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)  4
  5. Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  16
  6. Eurasian Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)  6
  7. Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)  5
  8. Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)  4
  9. Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)  10
  10. Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)  6
  11. Black-throated Diver (Gavia arctica)  6
  12. Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)  30
  13. Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)  3
  14. Great Bittern (Botaurus stellaris)  1
  15. Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)  3
  16. Eurasian Marsh-Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)  1
  17. Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)  1
  18. Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana)  1
  19. Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra)  4
  20. Common Crane (Grus grus)  4
  21. Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)  9
  22. Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)  3
  23. Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)  1
  24. Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)  13
  25. Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)  1
  26. Ruff (Calidris pugnax)  12
  27. Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)  5
  28. Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)  10
  29. Little Gull (Hydrocoloeus minutus)  8
  30. Mew Gull (Larus canus)  10
  31. Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)  6
  32. Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus)  3
  33. Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)  1
  34. Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)  10
  35. Stock Dove (Columba oenas)  1
  36. Common Wood-Pigeon (Columba palumbus)  30
  37. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos minor)  2
  38. Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)  2
  39. Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius)  2
  40. Grey-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus)  2
  41. Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)  2
  42. Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo)  2
  43. Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius)  5
  44. Common Magpie (Pica pica)  4
  45. Eurasian Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)  20
  46. Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix)  10
  47. Common Raven (Corvus corax)  3
  48. Skylark (Alauda arvensis)  2
  49. Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  2     plus 5 unidentified martins or swallows
  50. Willow Tit (Poecile montanus)  1
  51. Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)  10
  52. Great Tit (Parus major)  10
  53. Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)  1
  54. Goldcrest (Regulus regulus)  1
  55. Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)  6
  56. Wood Warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix)  1
  57. Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)  2
  58. Eurasian Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)  1
  59. Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca)  1
  60. Robin (Erithacus rubecula)  8
  61. Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca)  1
  62. Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)  2
  63. Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)  1
  64. Blackbird (Turdus merula)  6
  65. Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)  10
  66. Redwing (Turdus iliacus)  4
  67. Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)  8
  68. Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  5
  69. Dunnock (Prunella modularis)  1
  70. Western Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava)  3
  71. White Wagtail (Motacilla alba)  2
  72. Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)  3
  73. Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella)  4
  74. Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)  8
  75. Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)  10
  76. Greenfinch (Chloris chloris)  3
  77. Siskin (Spinus spinus)  1
  78. Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)  3

Next year we don't have to think a second where we will battle :)

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