25 June, 2016

Midsummer is offspring time - but can you identify them?

Pair of Great Crested Grebes with their three offspring today

Lot's of nestlings and fledged offspring out there at the moment. Some are still tiny and bald, waiting for food in the nest, some are already full grown juveniles. They are all easy to identify when they are with their parents, but how about lonely young birds - can you identify them?

Just for example, what is the species below? I will tell it at the end of this text.

Waterfowl, gull, tern? And which species?

Fortunately, all the young birds are easy to learn when their parents are close to them. So take some time to study them now and next year it will be already much easier.

Hint: This old book from 1980 is still worth of gold if you manage to get a copy of it somewhere.

Or you can borrow it from me if you wish.

At the same time, the variety of breeding bird species here is changing. Some decades ago we didn't have here White-tailed Eagles at all, Whooper Swans and Common Cranes were scarce. On the other hand some previously common species have now either turned scarce or disappeared totally. Golden Oriole is now rare as well is the  Rustic Bunting. And the Ortolan Bunting has disappeared totally from this region...

One of the newcomers is the Barnacle Goose. Three birds were today in Putaanvirta, right in the downtown Valkeakoski. My son Roni found them and called me while I was walking around the Riippusiltojen Lenkki (Suspension Bridge Trail). I'm not so sure if this is a good thing that these geese will settle down here... they are just too tame and tend to poop everywhere in parks and beaches..

Barnacle Goose to in Putaankari today

In the above mentioned trail, I saw also two Greenshanks, resting in small rocks in the middle of the lake. They took off soon and continued migration to south. Lot's of Mallards, Black-headed and Mew Gulls, some Herring Gulls too.

Dirty Black-headed Gull

Couple of Wood Warblers, Blackcaps and Spotted Flycatchers here and there, but no photos of them this time ,all hiding in forest canopy. Only the Chaffinch was a bit co-operative:

Chaffinch in Sointula

So, the mystery nestling? It's a Common Gull aka Mew Gull. Adult is a medium-sized gull which breeds in northern Asia, northern Europe and northwestern North America. The North American subspecies is commonly referred to as the Mew Gull, although that name is also used by some authorities for the whole species.

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