17 October, 2016

Thousands of Waxwings and Thrushes

Bohemian Waxwing
On Sunday the 16th of October I did a few hours birding trip by bike to nearby hotspots. The landscape was full of Thrushes, Waxwings and Starlings. In southern downtown of Valkeakoski there was a flock of 1500 Bohemian Waxwings, one of the biggest I've ever seen here. Air was full of their pleasant ringing "sirrrr" sounds, as from 1500 small bells. In Lotilansalmi the soundscape was totally different; a mixture of furious chatter of 2500 Fieldfares, ringing sounds of Waxwings, rich repertoire of  Starlings and solitary calls of Redwings and Mistle Thrush.

Fieldfares
I continued to landfill areas of Kalatonlahti and Mahlianmaa, nice places for birders both. Found nine Meadow Pipits from Kalatonlahti and Lapland Bunting from Mahlianmaa, nice! Thirteen Grey Herons were flying around and a flock of 60 Brent Greese rushing southwest, nice to see both flocks. Actually I was looking for Siberian Accentor, but no luck. Maybe later this week, who knows, there seems to be lot's these rare sibes now all around Europe.

13 Grey Herons
Today Juhani Lokki ringed a Siberian Accentor in Anomaa, Hattula, it was a new species for the area of our local birding society, number #293! I wouldn't be surprised if we get #294 still during autumn, could be finally time for Pied Wheatear or Desert Wheatear, who knows
- well, only Sendari knows ;)

13 October, 2016

Shrike! And a lifer! But what is the species?



On 12th of October 2016 I received an alert of Isabelline Shrike (Lanius isabellinus) in Sastamala, some 70 kilometers away from my home. Wow! I started to arrange transportation - as I don't have currently a car, which suddenly turned out to be a big problem and I almost gave up. But fortunately Risto Vilpas called me and asked if I would like to come with him. Of course, thanks Riku! 

Time was already about 16:30 when we left Valkeakoski and we were bit worried whether we would arrive to observation site in time, sunset would be after two hours, in 18:30. But no worries, we were there well in time and got a chance to watch this beautiful shrike about 30 minutes! 



But is it Isabelline Shrike? Or Turkestan Shrike aka Red-tailed Shrike (Lanius phoenicuroides) ? Some birders had already paid attention to certain characters of this bird like whitish underparts and rusty crown. Or is this just an intermediate bird between Isabelline abd Turkestan...?

See also the drawings of Worfolk.

Anyway, the debate continues and no matter what the species is, it's a lifer for me. Thank you Sendari and thanks to Vesa Korhonen for photos!