Sunday, 7 October 2012

Hopeless Hoopoe...

According to Tiira, Birdlife Finland's bird observation system there had been a Hoopoe spotted in the South East area of the City of Rovaniemi at the start of last week and it had been regularly spotted all the way up to Friday morning (05/10). So having not been out properly in awhile due to other commitments I decided to go out on Friday and look for the Hoopoe, definately not a bird I expected to be seeing in Northern Finland in October.

The bird had been hanging around the Vennivaara neighbourhood in the Kylväjäntie-Villapolku area apparently which didn't mean much to be but I checked some maps and asked some people who already seen it and set off on my bike. The area is not too far from Jängislahti which I have talked about in previous blogs so I set off rather optimistic.

The weather for the last 3 weeks has been fairly miserable with lots of rain and combined with being busy with University it's been fairly quiet on the birding front so it was nice to be out, even though it was still raining.

I headed off to the Vennivaara area which I found fairly easy (seeing 2 Common Gulls and plenty of Fieldfare on the way) and I was told it had been hanging around people's back gardens and the park areas. So this is where I looked.....for nearly two hours! And surprise surprise I didn't see anything apart from a few Hooded Crows, Magpies and Great Tits. So by now I was pretty wet and getting cold and decided to give up. I took an alternative way back though through the residential area instead of going back to the main road and I am glad that I did.

I was cycling along one of the paths between the houses which always have plenty of trees either side when I noticed some movement up at the top of some pine trees. I stopped to have a look and it was 3 Redwings but there was something else up there too. Then 6 birds flew out of the canopy down to some rowan trees packed with berries in the garden below and to my delight they were Waxwings. A new bird for me that I have always seemed to have missed back in the UK when we get an influx. They were very close too, sometimes down to just a few feet. I watched them for 30mins and tried to get some photos, 14 in total I counted. As I was walking around this small path I noticed a lot of activity maybe 100 metres down the road at another back garden.

I walked down to the garden and it was alive with activity. There was only a small feeder with some peanuts but there were c20 Greenfinch, 4 Willow Tit, 2 fighting Red Squirrels and more Waxwings eating rowan berries all around me. It definately cheered me up after dipping on the Hoopoe and with the weather. Then sometime flew very close to my head and landed on the trunk of a tree 4 feet away. It was a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a bird I had never seen that close or well and it hung around too so I managed some photos of that as well. In the trees beside the garden there were 2 Treecreepers also so some nice additions to my Finnish List. Some pictures below.

Finnish Bird List additions:
40. Common Gull
41. Waxwing (Bohemian)
42. Great Spotted Woodpecker
43. Treecreeper

On the 27th September I also attended a presentation at the Artikum here in Rovaniemi for the publication of the new Rovaniemi Breeding Bird Atlas. Unfortunately the presentation was mostly in Finnish (no surprises) but some of the more important points were given in English also. But at the end there was a table with several copies of the atlas (a really top quality publication) and when I asked how much they were I was greeted with the answer "Just take one, they are free". To say I was surprised was an understatement but took one I did and some leaflets of birding sites in English.

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