Wednesday, 31 October 2012

More Winter Birding...

Hasn't stopped snowing for the last 3 days but it has become a lot milder with the temperature floating about between minus 4 and plus 1.

Yesterday (30/10) in the afternoon the forestry exchange students were invited along with the Finnish forestry students to the Pilke Science Centre. This centre is also the head office for the goverment owned forestry and natural resource agency Metsähallitus.

The building itself is close to the Arktikum, the arctic museum and education centre here in Rovaniemi but more importantly is the Arktikum gardens which is one of the more productive areas for birding and the previous day 30 Pine Grosbeaks had been seen there. So after the Pilke Science Centre it was a good chance to check the area only just across the road even though it was quite windy, snowing and getting dark already but you have to be in it to win it! 

Three of us cycled around to the garden and had a look around but it was very quiet. We hung around for maybe half an hour and decided to leave. Just as we were about to leave a flock of about 20 noisy birds landed at the top of some birch trees. They were Common Redpolls, a life tick for me actually so I was pleased. I scanned them all as closely as I could in the poor light but couldn't find any Arctic Redpolls unfortunately.

Common of Mealy Redpoll (Carduelis flammea)
 As I was watchign the Redpolls I turned to my girlfriend and said "still would love to see some Long-tailed Tits" and not 30 seconds later she spotted some. Had really wanted to see a "Northern" Long-tailed Tit whilst I was here, mission accomplished! There were about 15 in total. Couple of nice species to see without much effort at all. For those of you who don't know, Northern Long-Tailed Tits differ from those throughout central Europe and the UK. The Northern race have completely white heads and look like cotton balls with long tails when flitting about in the trees.

Northern Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus caudatus)

Finnish Bird List additions:
46. Common Redpoll (Lifer)
47. Long-tailed Tit (Northern Race)

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