Friday, 14 December 2012

Update: 14th December 2012...

Well again it's been quite awhile since I wrote my last blog, almost 3 weeks. The last couple weeks have been really busy with University and completing coursework. Our time here is almost coming to an end too and there have been some goodbyes already. Myself and my girlfriend are leaving next Friday 21st. So now I have a bit more time it's now time to get a few last bits of birding done. The weather recently has been very cold and snowy which is not surprising. Last week the temperature stayed around minus 20 degrees and this week is staying around minus 10 but it hasn't really stopped snowing all week.

I had been in contact with a local birder about a feeder at Ounasvaara hill which is just across the road from my accomodation. He very kindly gave me some good directions to the feeder so that was the plan for today (14/12).

There is very little light here, down to 2-3 hours but when it is overcast and snowing like today there is not really any good light for taking photographs. But I decided to go out anyway and find this feeder. It is about minus 8 today, grey, snowing and quite windy.

The feeder I was told was close to one of the public carparks just off the road that takes you to the hotel at the top of the hill so that's where I set off. It really isn't far away and I was in the rough area in about 20mins. There was almost no birds seen on the way up apart from a Magpie. I got to the carpark which is surrounded by fairly dense forest covered in snow and I didnt locate the feeder straight away but a Nutcracker bursting out of the undergrowth gave the feeder's position away.

There were actually two feeders plus some half coconuts hanging up low down under a large Spruce tree which would have been easily missed if you didn't know. The feeders are maintained by another local birder and it was packed full of birds. The first birds I saw were Nutcrackers, 4 in total plus a variety of Tit species and a Bullfinch. I moved around to the otherside and the birds really did not seem bothered so I moved to within 2 metres and sat down on some snow covered Blaeberry (oh how I wish I worn my waterproof trousers) and waited for the birds to settle down again.

The feeder really was alive with birds. Nutcrackers, Great, Blue and Willow Tits in abundance. The longer I stayed the more birds seemed to appear with a group of 4 Bullfinch coming to feed. All these birds within 2 metres some almost seeming to nearly hit me as they moved around the trees.

I did take some photos but it was so dark and even darker under the tree that I needed the full flash for a fairly clear photo.

Nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes)
Male Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula)
I really couldn't believe how many birds there were. Nutcrackers are always fascinating to watch and they were sometimes less than a metre away from my feet. Never had such good views of Willow Tits either and there was up to 8 of them.

Willow Tit (Poecile montanus)
Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)
The highlight of the outing came about 20 minutes in when I heard the distinct call. Crested Tit! One flew in and landed on a branch not a metre away and began to feed on the coconut and on the ground. Amazing views of a bird I have only had a couple brief glimpses of back home. It was shortly joined by another and they both came and went for the half an hour as if I wasn't even there, superb, and my 50th bird on my Finnish list.
Crested Tit ( Lophophanes cristatus)

After about an hour of sitting in the snow my arse was completely numb and I was losing what very little light there was so I decided to head back home but it was an excellent and well spent hour. Just before I left a Red Squirrel joined the party and came down to feed after making sure I wasn't a threat. They look so grey and frosty here but there is no mistaking it with those ear tufts (please excuse the demon eyes!) I will definately try to get back there again before I leave.

Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)
Finnish Bird List additions:
50. Crested Tit

No comments:

Post a Comment