Friday, 26 October 2012

Waxwings everywhere...

It's been quite awhile since I last posted, almost 3 weeks actually. I wouldn't say a lot of exciting things have happened more that I have been very busy with coursework and the weather had been pretty miserable up until 10 days ago.

Not a whole lot to report on the birding front but a few exciting things to note (for me anyway).

Last weekend us UK forestry exchange students, Czech students and Suvi our Finnish friend went to one of the many free cabins in the forest about 30km South of Rovaniemi. There had been the first snow a couple days before and even most of it had melted in the city there was still a fair bit left on the ground where we were going and it was starting to get nice and frosty. It was a great night with -4c outside and some (not me) seeing faint Northern Lights from the fire tower near to the cabin. I did get to see a lone Siberian Jay again which is always nice. On the way back to Rovaniemi two of the people in our car apparently saw a Golden Eagle but I didn't even manage to catch a glimpse of it.

View from the fire tower
Fire Tower
Looking down on the cabin.
At the start of the week Waxwing numbers were really starting to build up in the city with 1200 seen in the city centre on Wednesday. Outside the student accomodation here in Kuntotie there is a small courtyard area which has a few Scots Pine, Norway Spruce and most importantly plenty of Rowan trees loaded with berried. Unfortunately the one outside my balcony is pretty bare (probably because it doesn't get much sun) but there are plenty others close enough. I didn't think it would be long before they started trickling in and they did maybe 10 at first but by the end of this week there were up to 120. I did attempt some photos but they weren't great with it being very overcast and most of the birds feeding at the top of the trees.

I also started to put some food out on the tree outside. Some fatballs to start off with then some half coconut shells with a fat mix inside. Plenty of Great Tits visiting and one Blue Tit so far but some cheap entertainment at the kitchen table. They are so close only really possible to take photos through the window.

The last 3 days there has been plenty of Waxwings flying to and from the conifers to the Rowan trees all day. Amazing to watch and listen to them all "trilling" up in the trees. Was looking forward to seeing them in Finland but never imagined I would have so many less than 10 metres from my backdoor.

Today (26/10) it has been the coldest so far with -12c at 9 o'clock this morning and -15c recorded last night. It was a beautiful day though and the sun was out. I decided to go out for a walk up to part of Ounasvaara hill called Isorakka. It was fairly quiet as to be expected but you gotta be in it to win it. I didn't see much for a good couple hours but when I got into the forest properly I did see a few things. A clearing in the forest had quite a bit of activity with 4 Waxwings, 2 Willow Tit, 5-6 Great Tit, Blue Tit and 3 Bullfinch (a new species for the Finnish list). I enjoyed walking up to the top of the hill and having a look around but there wasn't much else of interest seen. On the way back home there were plenty of Waxwings in the roadside Birches in small but frequent groups.

When I made it back to the accomodation I noticed that the Waxwings had moved to the lower branchs of one tree where there were still berries left and the light was really good so I attempted some photos and got some ok ones I think, some below.

Finnish Bird List additions:
45. Bullfinch

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