Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Update: 28th November 2012...

Another general update on the last week or so.

Birding quiet now as expected. Temperatures have dropped again this week -14C this morning (28/11). But there is always something to see and enjoy around the city.

Still plenty of Waxings around with a nice flock of around 200 seen today on the way home from University. Some not 3 metres away in some roadside Rowan trees.

Still the odd Nutcracker hanging around. One feeding near the bus station at the weekend and one seen today feeding on a fatcake feeder near to the road also on the way home. The bird also allowed me to approach to within a couple of metres, so I will visit the feeder again and try and get some pictures / video.

Plenty of Tits around everywhere, mostly Great but many Blues too. Still no Siberian unfortunately but I will keep trying. House and Tree sparrows still evident everywhere especially around feeding stations.

Hooded Crows and Magpies are still of course everywhere you look.

Redpoll flocks are scattered throughout the city with c60 seen the other day near the industrial park. Scanned the flock long and hard but still can't find that Arctic Redpoll either.

Pine Grosbeaks still in small scattered flocks around the city, good chance to see them in any Rowan trees. There were actually 2 in the Rowan trees outside the accomodation on returning from University today with one landing on the ground and was within two metres and getting closer until someone walked past and scared it off. Didn't have the camera unfortunately.

Another nice surprise the other day, again on the way home, was a Stoat or Ermine as they are known here, that ran out right in front of me across the road when I was on the bike. It paused for a few seconds before running under someone's shed. Looked stunning with it's coat completely white and black tail tip.

As you can see from my Finnish list I am stuck on 49 species, would be nice to get 50 before heading home in 3 weeks time. There has been Arctic Redpoll reported and chance of Siberian Tit still so I will keep trying. There is also regular reports of Lesser and Grey Headed woodpeckers about 10km South of the city but getting there is another thing entirely.

Will keep you updated!

Finnish Mammal List additions:
5. Stoat (Ermine)

Monday, 19 November 2012

Update: 19th November 2012...

Overall a fairly quiet week, the weather has been miserable, temperatures are slightly above 0 now and everything is starting to melt which means it's very icy and wet. It is getting very quiet on the birding front generally which is to be expected but still some stuff to enjoy. Finished a very intense part of my studies here today so will have a bit more time to explore again although we are down to just 5 hours of daylight already.

Last Tuesday (13/09) had a nice surprise in the form of a Willow Tit (of the Northern race borealis and new bird for the "garden" list) out on the feeder in the morning which was shortly followed by one of the many Red Squirrels seen around here all the time which had finally found the feeder and spent a good few minutes eating the peanuts but I didn't mind it was nice to see one so close. The Red Squirrels over here are actually quite grey looking and almost frosty in certain light. Unfortunately no picture of the Willow Tit but some did get some of the squirrel.

On Thursday (15/09) the weather was bright and sunny for the early morning walk to University and made a nice change of the dark overcast conditions of the last few days. Plenty of Waxwings still about in decent sized flocks and Pine Grosbeaks were spotted a few times at the top of some tall conifers. After crossing the old railway bridge I noticed a small bird in the shrubs at the side of the road. At first it was hard to see as I was looking up and into the direction of the sun. Then the bird hopped down a few branches to not more than 2 metres and I could see it was a Female/juv Blackcap! I was quite shocked if I am honest, never expected to see one of these so far North in mid-November but a nice record for my Finnish list and interesting in general! Did have my camera but only the short lense but you can see what it is at least.

Female/ juv Eurasian Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)

The river that runs through the city was looking impressive in the sun as it is was mostly covered in ice.

As I said before birding is fairly quiet now and the day are getting shorter by the day but I still hold out some hope for Siberian Tit or Arctic Redpoll before I leave (and one of the woodpeckers would be nice!).

Finnish Bird List additions:
49. Blackcap

Kuntotie Garden List:
  1. Blue Tit
  2. Bohemian Waxwings
  3. Great Tit
  4. Greenfinch
  5. Hooded Crow
  6. House Sparrow
  7. Magpie
  8. Pine Grosbeak
  9. Tree Sparrow
  10. White Wagtail (from back in September)
  11. Willow Tit*

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Pine Grosbeaks again...09/11

First of this morning (10/11) the usual suspects on the bird feeder along with the Greenfinch which was back again. Also in the same tree was a lovely Male Bullfinch, a nice addition to the garden list.

The main highlight was yesterday (09/11) when the Pine Grosbeaks were back again, 2 this time. 1 Female and 1 one of those stunning red males again. Both in one of the Rowan trees mandibulating (thanks Autumnwatch) the berries. Well, I had to try and get some photos didn't I! Four of the male below, what a bird!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Update: 8th November 2012...

Just a quick update on the Kuntotie garden list. Had another addition this morning as I was eating my breakfast, a Greenfinch! Didn't hang around long enough for a picture though unfortunately.

Kuntotie Garden List:
  1. Blue Tit
  2. Bohemian Waxwings
  3. Great Tit
  4. Greenfinch*
  5. Hooded Crow
  6. House Sparrow
  7. Magpie
  8. Pine Grosbeak
  9. Tree Sparrow
  10. White Wagtail (from back in September)

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Update: 4th November 2012...

There has been more snow over the last few days but two days ago the temperature rose above 0 degrees which caused a partial thaw and icy conditions the next day (the car park here was like an ice rink).

I have been searching for a fairly cheap but decent bird feeder in the local shops (the half cardboard box on a shoe lace wasn't up to the task) here but hadn't managed to find one but now with the weather getting colder I stepped up my efforts and managed to find and buy a pretty good one for only 6 euros. Finding bird food is easy as all the local small supermarkets are selling bags at fairly cheap prices.

I am now referring to the courtyard by the student accomodation (called Kuntotie pronounced "kuhn-toe-tee-ay") as my "garden". It is about 50 squared metres of grass and a footpath with several coniferous trees (spruce and pine) and about 10 rowan trees. So far on the feeder since I put it up are plenty of Great Tits (up to 10 at a time) just like on the half coconuts but also a few Blue Tits now and again. Both House Sparrows and Tree Sparrows have been seen feeding on the ground underneath. Overall the garden list is very short BUT with a couple of cracking species on it! Would be nice to see a Willow or Siberian Tit on the feeder if the weather becomes harsh enough to draw them out of the forest.

Kuntotie Garden List:
  1. Great Tit
  2. Blue Tit
  3. House Sparrow
  4. Tree Sparrow
  5. Magpie
  6. Hooded Crow
  7. White Wagtail (from back in September)
  8. Bohemian Waxwings
  9. Pine Grosbeak 
New feeder outside
Great Tit (Parus major)