TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT

Northern Finland

22nd - 28th May 2000


Leaders:
Tim Earl
Markus Keskitalo

Monday 22 May

Arriving in Oulu was like going back three weeks at home, when the leaves on my garden silver birches were just breaking. Sunlight seems to pass straight through the new foliage at this stage. Migrant Willow Warblers and Spotted Flycatchers had just arrived, there were a few Pied Flycatchers and my Great Tits were in full song.

Some things in Oulu were different, however. In my garden there are no Black Woodpeckers feeding young, for example. We watched them in the beautiful and fragrant forests around the town of Oulu, though. And what an introduction to Finland they were. After a long wait, the male Black Woodie, resplendent with his red crown, called and flew to a tree close to the nest hole. He watched us for a few minutes before deciding we were harmless and flying in to grip the lower rim of his nest-site. Immediately three surprisingly large youngsters were clamouring to be fed, and dad obliged.

The hotel grounds were productive too. Overlooking a bay, they are flanked by scrubby reed, willow and birch beds where Sedge Warblers and Reed Buntings were singing. Adding to their chorus was a Snipe displaying overhead, its prominent outer tail feathers producing the classic drumming noise. The wader theme was continued by the full song of Curlews and, more distantly, Redshanks.

The day ended with a traditional Finnish meal in a farm close byÖ although far enough for us to see a male Marsh Harrier on both the outward and return journeys.

Tuesday 23 May

Migration had occurred overnight producing a wonderfully varied day. Birds such as Whinchat, Waxwing, Whitethroat, Wheatear and Red-backed Shrike were seen, some several times. Warblers such as Sedge, Garden, Icterine and Lesser Whitethroat were also recorded. On the coast waders including Greenshank, Wood, Green and Common Sandpiper, were passing by.

The day started on a real high as we listened to the grating call of a Corncrake, although views of this most elusive skulker were impossible. Helen Price found our first owl, Short-eared, quartering fields where Redshank and Curlew were performing their breeding display flights. It was all reminiscent of English fields thirty years ago, John Boys said.

Several stops near Liminka were to see 200 Cranes, Ortolan Buntings and Bohemian Waxwings, respectively. The former turned out to be Common but just two Waxwings were seen. A bonus was gained when my bus noticed a Red-backed Shrike which was finally nailed by everyone when we returned to the area. Calling Cuckoos were heard but not seen and a Lesser Whitethroat rattled out is song before perching in a low birch to allow as great views.

Lunujoki Harbour produced the Scandinavian race of Herring Gull, L.a. omissus, plus other gulls - Little, Common and Great Black-backed. Our first Common Terns also showed well. Sea-watching revealed a small raft of Common Scoters, Goosander, Red-breasted Merganser, Goldeneyes and, amazingly, our first 45 Whooper Swans - we were later to see hundreds.

Markus suddenly cupped hands to ears and declared that a Three-toed Woodpecker was in trees behind us. To prove it, the bird appeared in the top of a birch and allowed superb 'scope views for several minutes. It was a male with its glorious yellow head shining in the sunlight. In contrast, Yellow Wagtails of the Scandinavian grey-headed race M.f. thunbergi, flying past proved difficult. Two Common Rosefinches with brilliant breasts of bright red made up for that.

Moving onto another coastal site nearby we watched 18 Cranes fly in to join what was quite a spectacle. A pair of Arctic Terns were indulging in courtship feeding, Temminck's Stints, Green Sandpiper, Ruff and Common Sandpiper were feeding on the rocky shore, while on the water Garganey, Shoveler, Pintail, Shelduck, Wigeon, Goosander and Red-breasted Merganser represented the quacker family.

Our coffee-stop produced a third-year White-tailed Eagle found by Bob Smith, Wheatear, Siskin and Redpoll, while a fly-past Cuckoo satisfied the purists who wanted to see and hear it.

The second owl of the day peeped out its nest box to watch us looking at him. Tengmalm's Owl has a classical face with bright yellow eyes. This bird looked more than a Little bleary after we had interrupted its slumbers. On the road to and from the owl we had great views of a beautiful black, grey and white male Hen Harrier hunting, and at times pouncing on its prey.

Helpers at the Liminka Bay Field Centre had made a delicious salmon and potato soup for us - eaten with excellent dark bread. The meal was seasoned with a splendid Ruff in breeding plumage and completed by a marsh-side walk to a hide where we saw Little Terns, Great Crested Grebe and hundreds more Whooper Swans. Access was via a boardwalk from which we watched five breeding Cranes 'dancing', Black-tailed Godwits performing their curious display flights and star of the show, a drumming Snipe. This bird was not content to delight by sound, however. Jubilation, exuberance enthusiasm and joy de vivre stimulated it to flip onto its back and fly in this extraordinary position for about 50 yards.

Our journey home was broken by a visit to the nest site of a Ural Owl. The bird heard us coming and left its nest to take a closer look. We were lucky. These unpredictable birds can be dangerous and our fantastic views from a respectable distance were short as we left the bird to get back to its parental duties.

A final stop at a large pond for Slavonian Grebe (unsuccessful) added Sand Martin to everyone's list. The day ended after dinner with an operatic-quality song from an Icterine Warbler outside the hotel.

Wednesday 24 May

Our third day in this spectacular area is best described as an 'owling success with no less than four species seen.

We started early to see Pygmy Owl in its nest box, making clicking noises to show anger at our presence. As with all birds, we kept disturbance to a minimum and retried to wonder aloud at how small the bird was.

Going back for breakfast, we did the typical birding trick of allowing a bird to make us late - but it was a Rustic Bunting so the excuse was genuine. The bird was singing well, having just returned for the summer, but search as we might it could not be found in the vast Taiga forest. Displaying Wood and Green Sandpipers overhead made up for the disappointment.

The day's main trip was a long, quite strenuous walk to a distant Great Grey Owl's nest. On the way we heard and finally saw a male Hazel Hen, an enigmatic and difficult Grouse to find. Markus was alerted to the bird by its goldcrest-like call which seemed most out of character. We were to become familiar with the sound during the trip as the species is not uncommon.

The owl proved star of the day and was well worth the yomp. Sitting on eggs in an old Goshawk's nest, the Great Grey Owl at first looked at us over a shoulder. Then, as the novelty wore off, it went back to the usual state when incubating - sound asleep. We watched through telescopes from a distance until even the keenest among us had examined the bird's beautiful vermiculated plumage to their heart's content.

Bramblings and Tree Pipits sang to cheer us on the long walk back to the buses and our packed lunches. And as we arrived, Bob Smith again spotted a raptor - this time a distant soaring Goshawk. As we searched for it, a second bird came up from trees close to us giving perfect views of this difficult species.

A detour on the way home produced owl number three - a sleeping Long-eared Owl, once again incubating. This bird did not stir. Not an eye-lid fluttered. Its tail did not twitch. The long-eared owl just slept on, its tufts showing well but the bright yellow eyes never shone from its orange facial disks. The nest was close to a beach on an estuary where we saw a variety of waders, terns and ducks.

After dinner we returned to the Kempele fields for another shot at seeing Corncrake. The bird called once but remained hidden. Not so two pairs of Short-eared Owls which put on a show. One quartered fields to our right and were mobbed by Jackdaws and Magpies. The other displayed to our left and delight.

Thursday 25 May

There was little optimism for our trip to the Hietasaai marshes in Oulu. Several groups had been out looking for Terek Sandpipers, but none had seen them. Not so The Travelling Naturalist: two birds were found by the 'great and glorious leader' close enough to give fantastic views of this rarest of European waders.

Our concentration was broken only when a tiny wader flew past trilling - the first of four Temminck's Stints to land on a nearby sand bar. Wonderful views were had of these, also. We also admired the biggest and smallest European terns as Caspian and Little fished together in the food-rich Baltic waters.

Our long drive to Kuusamo was broken by a stop to walk in a beautiful Taiga plantation with thick sphagnum-moss carpeting and the sweetest of background music provided by Tree Pipits, Garden Warblers, Brambling and Siskins (the two latter being a Little off-tune). The object of our desires was a pair of Hawk Owls which were busy courting as we arrived. The male swooped around his mate calling, while she sat in the top of a fir-tree muttering encouraging sounds. The pose was perfect, classical Hawk-owl: head up, long tail down, at the top most tip of the tree.

A few Smew, Reindeer and a Cuckoo were seen on the remaining journey to Kuusamo and everyone greeted the new venue with high hopes.

Our first stop on a tour of the Kunisamo area allowed us to watch a most discerning Siberian Tit. With scores of nest-boxes put up to encourage this rare (in Europe) tit, it had chosen a natural hole in a red-barked birch. Movement beneath the tree prompted 'Mr Sibe tit' to poke his head out and peer down on us with a scathing look. We took the hint and quietly moved off to leave him to the housework.

In a near-by lake a Black-throated Diver in full breeding plumage ate an eel in view of us all while in another pond we found two Red-necked Grebes.We returned to the hotel where Little Gulls and Arctic Terns were feeding on the lake behind.

Friday 26 May

There were no Grouses today.

Well, in fact, there were many Grouse - Willow Grouse, Black Grouse, Hazel Grouse, Capercaillie - so no grousing about the birding. We had the early start required to see these most secretive birds. By the end of our first session and a picnic breakfast we had seen four Capercaillies, 21 Black Grouse and a pair each of Hazel Grouse and Willow Grouse.

But it was not just the numbers of birds which delighted the group. We saw a total of three male 'Cappers' - one with tail fanned in threatening pose - a lek of 17 male Black Grouse which flew up into trees like so many huge pigeons, and another Black Grouse displaying in front of two nonchalant females.

As we were discussing these wonderful events over breakfast in a lay-by, two Siberian Jays flew into remove our scraps. Typically tame, they returned on a number of occasions affording views as close as three-feet.

Lakes in the area were teeming with birds including Black-throated and Red-throated divers, Velvet Scoters looking out of place away from the sea, Smew, Goldeneye, Whooper Swans and on one occasion only, a pair of spinning Red-necked Phalaropes.

That morning session was longer than most full days and a comfort stop at the Oulanka national Park visitors' centre was brightened by a low moving Osprey which wheeled overhead. Late morning was spent so close to the Russian border that some people now have a Russian bird list without setting foot in the country...

The area around and in the national park is hilly and more beautiful than the other parts of Finland we had visited. Rolling hills and mountains, draped in forests of Taiga pines and birch, gleamed and glistened in the bright late-spring sunshine. Dark ponds, pools and lakes were brought alive by dancing flocks of Little Gulls, courting Goldeneyes and majestic Whooper Swans.

Late morning saw us checking Common Crossbills to see if they were accompanied by Parrot Crossbills (sadly not) and listening for much sought-after Rustic Buntings. We were not to be cry-babies as patience and perseverance were rewarded with good views of the Buntings. Our outing ended with a walk down a salmon river stained darkly by its peaty origins where we saw Dippers' nests but not their makers.

Saturday 27 May

Attempts to find Pine Grosbeak proved fruitless due to heavy rain, but our excursion into the National Park produced views of a male Redstart singing from the top of a pine tree. A pair of Hazel Grouse crossed our path and then returned a couple of times as we imitated their high-pitched calls.

Our second trip of the day after a coffee at the hotel, was more of a pilgrimage - to the local refuse tipÖ As ever in such places, it produced results with our highest count of seven Ravens, and an assortment of Gulls including Herring, Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed. One juvenile Gull, its pale plumage bleached by the sun, gave us considerable difficulty in identification. We finally decided it was a Herring Gull.

Ponds nearby contained a variety of waterfowl including nesting Whooper Swans, Goldeneye, Tufted Duck and our first Pintail in the Kuusamo area. One of several Wood Sandpipers was standing on top of a dead branch.

Bus-stops do not usually lead to Little Buntings but one on the south side of Kuusamo did. We could hear the bird singing and a walk into the swamp behind ended with magnificent views.

Our next stop, planned for us to see Red-flanked Bluetails was frustrating. As we waited for these elusive birds which sing from close to the top of tall trees (try searching a whole forest for one robin-sized bird) an adult White-tailed Eagle drifted past. The leaders' attempts to find singing males were successful but foiled by the birds moving off before people could get a good look. Rain then forced us back to the vehicles.

Four Black-throated Divers were seen on the return to the hotel where we rested in preparation for our final session, an evening outing.

And what an evening it was... atrocious weather with horizontal rain but one of the best birds of the trip found by Ian Gamble. The weather cleared long enough for us to venture out of the minibuses to search for Jack Snipe. These are well known at the marshy site but the weather was too grim for them to do their sky-horseman sounding display flight. But on a muddy sand-bar close to the bank was a Broad-billed Sandpiper. One of the most difficult European waders to find, the species breed in the site occasionally.

Our bird was feeding rapidly after its long flight up from the Middle East. We were able to study the snipe-like back, white underparts with spotted flanks, humbug head with its four white crown-stripes, and slightly down-turned bill. A life-bird for Brian Fletcher, the bird was nick-named The Lifer of Brian and allowed us to return to the hotel well satisfied.

Sunday 28 May

Our last day in northern Finland began with the drive from Kuusamo to Oulu. What could have been a dull two-hour journey was brightened by excellent birds and beautiful scenery.

A male Willow Grouse, normally never seen after 5am, was sleepily wandering along the road-side, its red 'eyebrows' giving it a rather confused appearance. Willow Grouse males are at their best in spring with their liver-red heads, neck, shoulders and backs, white underparts and 'trousers'. Two raptors were added to the list - a Rough-legged Buzzard which was confusing until it went into the characteristic hover, and a Common Buzzard. Both were spotted by our now-acclaimed raptor man, Bob.

We returned to the Liminka Bay Field Centre outside Oulu for our last birding session in Finland. Here we reviewed our acquaintance with the birds of this super marsh and bay, adding a few species while there. Best was a Black Tern in full breeding plumage which paired up with a Little Gull to feed along the shallow margins. A Little Tern was also seen in the same area. Distant Dunlin were added to the list although views were at the range of our 'scopes and thus poor.

A Mute Swan was also picked out from the flocks of more than 200 Whooper Swans. Mute Swans were introduced into Finland and have only recently spread up into the northern areas. They are considered a nuisance as they destroy the nests of ducks close to theirs. A cull is likely. Swifts had been seen by one or two folk during the trip, but we all enjoyed a flock of five which were feeding over the marsh.

So it was that with quiet moments spent studying lekking Ruff, brightly coloured Black-tailed Godwits, gorgeous Garganey, up to six Marsh Harriers, Hooded Crows mobbing a Raven, flocks of Cranes bouncing as if on springs as they landed, Snipe drumming overhead, and Curlew performing their acrobatic displays, that our holiday ended.

Our thanks to Markus Keskitalo for his excellent knowledge of the birds and areas we visited, and for the way he shared his expertise with us. Thanks also to Travelling Naturalist partner Neil Arnold who came with us as a client but added to much humour and leadership to the trip.

Tim Earl

Note from Jamie :

I'm really sorry to have had to pull out of this trip - especially reading the report! Many thanks, Tim for agreeing to lead at the last minute, and for stepping into the breach so capably.

BIRDS

Red-throated Diver One fly-past Oulanka National Park on the 26th.

Gavia stellata

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Black-throated Diver Birds seen 25/26 and 27th, maximum four.

Gavia arctica

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Red-necked Grebe Two at Kuusamo on the 25th.

Podiceps grisegena

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Great Crested Grebe Liminka Nature Reserve on the 23rd and 28th.

Podiceps cristatus

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Mute Swan One in Liminka bay on the 28th.

Cygnus olor

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Whooper Swan Common nesting bird max seen 250.

Cygnus cygnus

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Taiga Bean goose One fly-past near Kuusamo on the 27th.

Anser fabalis

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Greylag Goose Common in the Oulu area.

Anser anser

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Common Shelduck Two near Lumijoki Harbour on the 23rd.

Tadorna tadorna

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Eurasian Wigeon Several on the sea and ponds near Oulu.

Anas penelope

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Common Teal Several on the sea and ponds near Oulu.

Anas crecca

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Mallard A few most days.

Anas platyrhynchos

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Northern Pintail Fairly common in the Oulu area, max 30.

Anas acuta

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Garganey Scarce. A few seen near Oulu on the 23rd, 24th and 28th. Max five.

Anas querquedula

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Northern Shoveler Several on the sea and ponds near Oulu.

Anas clypeata

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Tufted Duck Common. Birds seen daily, max 60.

Aythya fuligula

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Common Scoter Max six on the sea Lumijoki Harbour on the 23rd.

Melanitta nigra

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Velvet Scoter Breeding pairs on the lakes in Oulanka National Park, max 20.

Melanitta fusca

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Common Goldeneye Common bird seen daily, max 100+.

Bucephala clangula

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Smew Two seen on each on the 25th, 26th and 27th (males).

Mergellus albellus

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Red-breasted Merganser Common. Birds seen daily, max 50.

Mergus serrator

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Goosander Common around Oulu, 200+ flying north on the 25th , male flew down river at

Mergus Merganser Oulanka National Park on the 26th .

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Osprey One over the Oulanka National Park on the 26th .

Pandion haliaetus

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White-tailed Eagle One third-year bird at Siikajoki on the 23rd , one adult south Kuusamo on the 27th .

Haliaeetus albicilla A highlight species.

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Hen Harrier Males at Lumijoki on the 22nd (carrying food) and Kempele fields on the 24th .

Circus cyaneus

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(Eurasian) Marsh Harrier Several in the Oulu area on the 22nd and 24th .

Circus aeruginosus

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Eurasian Sparrowhawk Singletons at Oulu on the 24th and Kuusamo on the 27th .

Accipiter nisus

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Northern Goshawk Two at Hankipudas 24th.

Accipiter gentilis

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Common Buzzard Single west of Kuusamo 28th.

Buteo buteo

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Rough-legged Buzzard (Hawk) Single west of Kuusamo on the 28th.

Buteo lagopus

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Common Kestrel Singles on the 23rd and 24th .

Falco tinnunculus

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Willow Grouse Pair Oulanka on the 26th, male west of Kuusamo on the 28th.

Lagopus lagopus

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Black Grouse 19 males (17 in one lek) plus two females, Oulanka on the 26th, four males and

Tetrao tetrix two females south of Kuusamo on the 27th. A highlight species.

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Capercaillie Three males and a female, Oulanka on the 26th. A highlight species.

Tetrao urogallus

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Hazel Grouse Birds seen or heard daily around Kuusamo. A highlight species.

Bonasa bonasia

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Common Crane 200+ non-breeders in a field Lumijoki, on the 23rd, seen daily up to max 150 on

Grus grus the 28th. A highlight species.

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Corncrake One heard calling Kempele fields near the hotel on the 23rd and 24th.

Crex crex

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Common Coot Six Liminka Bay 23rd, 2 on the 28th.

Fulica atra

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(Eurasian) Oystercatcher Six on the coast 23rd, two on the 25th, three on the 28th.

Haematopus ostralegus

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(Northern) Lapwing Common breeding in the Oulu area.

Vanellus vanellus

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(Greater) Ringed Plover A few daily.

Charadrius hiaticula

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Little Ringed Plover Two at Liminka on the 23rd.

Charadrius dubius

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Black-tailed Godwit Liminka Bay 20+ breeding. One of the highlight birds.

Limosa limosa

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Whimbrel One heard by leaders only Oulanka 26th.

Numenius phaeopus

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(Eurasian) Curlew Common breeding around Oulu, fewer at Kuusamo.

Numenius arquata

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Spotted Redshank One at the marsh 27th.

Tringa erthropus

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Common Redshank Common breeding around Oulu.

Tringa totanus

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Wood Sandpiper Common, seen almost daily - max five.

Tringa glareola

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Terek Sandpiper Pair on the north Oulu coast 25th. A highlight species.

Tringa cinereus

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Common Greenshank Common, seen daily, max seven.

Tringa nebularia

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Green Sandpiper Ones and twos seen most days.

Tringa ochropus

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Common Sandpiper Several on the coast 23rd, four on 26th.

Tringa hypoleucos

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Red-necked Phalarope Pair in Oulanka N/P on the 26th, two on 27th.

Phalaropus lobatus

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Broad-billed Sandpiper One at the marsh on 27th. A highlight species.

Limicola falcinellus

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Ruff Several leks at Liminka Bay N/R, fly-past flock on 22nd.

Philomachus pugnax

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Common Snipe Common 'drumming', including one over the hotel in Oulu. One at Liminka Bay

Gallinago gallinago N/R flew upside down for 50m on two occasions.

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(Eurasian) Woodcock One seen from the first bus 25th.

Scolopax Rusticola

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Dunlin Two distant birds Liminka Bay N/R 28th.

Calidris alpina

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Temminck's Stint Four on the coast and two Liminka Bay N/R on the 23rd, four on 25th.

Calidris temminckii

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Common (Mew) Gull Seen almost daily, max 10+.

Larus canus

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Great Black-backed Gull Five Lumijoki Harbour 23rd, two on the 27th, one on the 28th.

Larus marinus

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Herring Gull Ssp L.a. omissus and L.a. argentatus Lumijoki Harbour 23rd, singles most days,

Larus argentatus 18 on the 27th.

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Lesser Black-backed Gull Singles on the 25th and 28th, 4 on the 27th.

Larus fuscus

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Black-headed Gull Seen most days, max 60+.

Larus ridibundus

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Little Gull Common on most lakes and ponds. Max count 120 on the 27th.

Larus minutus

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Black Tern Rare bird for Finland. One at Liminka Bay N/R on 28th.

Chlidonias niger

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Caspian Tern Eleven on the coast north of Oulu 25th.

Hydroprogne tschegrava

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Common Tern Ones and twos seen most days. Max count 60+ on 26th.

Sterna hirundo

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Arctic Tern Some pairs seen most days. Max count 100+ on 27th.

Sterna paradisaea

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Little Tern Two at Liminka Bay N/R on 23rd, six on the 25th with Caspian Terns,

Sterna albifrons one on the 28th.

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Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon) One flock of 12 at a feeder opposite the hotel daily in Kuusamo.

Columba livia

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Wood Pigeon A few birds seen daily.

Columba palumbus

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(Eurasian) Collared Dove One or two from the buses, max two on 23rd.

Streptopelia decaocto

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Common (Eurasian) Cuckoo Ones and two daily, max five on 26th.

Cuculus canorus

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Ural Owl One breeding Liminka on 23rd. A highlight species.

Strix uralensis

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Great Grey Owl One on the nest Haukipudas on the 24th. A highlight species.

Strix nebulosa

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Northern Hawk-Owl Pair courting Pudasjarvi on 25th. A highlight species.

Surnia ulula

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Eurasian Pygmy Owl One on the nest Ylikiiminki on the 24th. A highlight species.

Glaucidium passerinum

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Boreal (Tengmalm's) Owl One peeping out of a nest box Lumijoki on the 23rd. A highlight species.

Aegolius funereus

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Long-eared Owl One sleeping on the nest Haukipudas on the 24th.

Asio otus

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Short-eared Owl One quartering the Kempele fields, near the hotel in Oulu, on 23rd, four on 24th.

Asio flammeus

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Common Swift One on the 25th Oulu, six on the 28th Liminka Bay N/R.

Apus apus

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Three-toed Woodpecker Male Lumijoki Harbour on the 23rd, one on the 24th (heard), three on the 26th

Picoides tridactylus (heard), one one the 28th (heard). A highlight species.

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Great Spotted Woodpecker Three heard on the 24th, thre on the 26th (one seen)

Dendrocopus major

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Black Woodpecker Male feeding young on the 22nd was our introduction to Finish birding.

Dryocopus martius A highlight species.

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(Eurasian) Skylark Common around Oulu.

Alauda arvensis

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(European) Sand Martin A few seen: max five at Liminka Pond on the 23rd and Kuusamo on the 27th.

Riparia riparia

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Barn Swallow Seen daily: max 50+ on the 23rd.

Hirundo Rustica

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(Common) House Martin Seen daily, max 50+ on the 26th.

Delichon urbica

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Yellow Wagtail Passage on the 23rd, a few seen on 26/27 and the 28th.

Motacilla flava Grey-headed Scandinavian race

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White Wagtail (Continental race) Seen daily. Our last Finish bird seen from underneath feeding on the glass roof

Motacilla alba alba of the departure hall at Helsinki Airport.

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Tree Pipit Seen almost daily: max five singing on both the Great Grey Owl walk (24th) and

Anthus trivialis Hawk Owl walk (25th).

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Meadow Pipit A few seen: max 10+ on the 23rd.

Anthus pratensis

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Red-backed Shrike One on passage at Lumijoki on the 23rd.

Lanius collurio

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Bohemian Waxwing Two seen on passage at Lumijoki on the 23rd.

Bombycilla garrulus

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(Winter) Wren Two singing at the Great Grey Owl site on the 24th. Two singing on the 27th.

Troglodytes troglodytes

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Hedge Accentor (Dunnock) One fly-past on the 26th, one singing on the 27th.

Prunella modularis

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(Common) Blackbird Singles on the 24th, 26th and 28th.

Turdus merula

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Fieldfare Common, breeding at almost every site.

Turdus pilaris

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Redwing Common, breeding at almost every site.

Turdus iliacus

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Song Thrush One at Lumijoki on the 23rd, four on the 26th

Turdus philomelos

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Mistle Thrush Singles on the 25th and 26th, two on the 27th.

Turdus viscivorus

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(European) Robin A few seen on heard most days.

Erithacus rebecula

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Red-flanked Bluetail Two heard and seen by some south of Kuusamo on the 27th. A highlight species.

Tarsiger cyanurus

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Common Redstart Three singing on the 23rd, a pair seen on the 27th.

Phoenicurus phoenicurus

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Whinchat Common around Oulu (max six on the Kempele fields 24th).

Saxicola rubetra

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Northern Wheatear Surprisingly few: five on the 23rd only.

Oenanthe oenanthe

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Sedge Warbler Common around Oulu with a fall recorded on the 23rd.

Acrocephalus schoenobaenus

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Icterine Warbler Obliging male seen and heard singing most days at our hotel in Oulu.

Hippolais icterina

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Garden Warbler A few seen or heard most days.

Sylvia borin

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Common Whitethroat Passage of 18+ on 23rd - this is an uncommon bird so far north in Finland.

Sylvia communis

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Lesser Whitethroat One at Lumijoki on the 23rd, three at Haukipudes on the 24th, one of the race

Sylvia curruca S.c. blythi

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Willow Warbler Abundant. Our most common bird.

Phylloscopus trochilus

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Common Chiffchaff Two at Ylikiiminki on the 24th, one on the 26th.

Phylloscopus collybita

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Goldcrest Heard or seen daily around Oulu. Not common.

Regulus regulus

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Spotted Flycatcher Several daily on passage around Oulu.

Muscicapa striata

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(European) Pied Flycatcher Common, singing, investigating nest boxes around Oulu. Not Kuusamo.

Ficedula hypoleuca

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Siberian Tit One peeped out of a nest hole, Kuusamo on the 24th, possibly two in the area.

Parus cinctus A highlight species.

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Willow Tit Seen most days.

Parus montanus

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Coal Tit One seen at Ylikiiminki on the 24th.

Parus ater

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Great Tit Seen most days. Not common.

Parus major

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Blue Tit Seen most days, less common than Great Tit

Parus caeruleaus

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Siberian Jay Six seen in two sites on the 24th, two particularly tame at breakfast stop, two on

Perisoreus infaustus the 28th. A highlight species.

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Rook Common around Oulu.

Corvus frugilegus

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Eurasian Jay Five at various sites on the 23rd, five on the journey 28th.

Garrulus glandarius

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(Black-billed) Magpie Seen daily in good numbers.

Pica pica

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(Eurasian) Jackdaw Seen daily in good numbers.

Corvus monedula

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Hooded Crow Seen daily in good numbers.

Corvus corone Subspecies C.c. cornix.

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Common Raven Two on the 25th, eight or more at Kuusamo rubbish tip on the 27th, one on the 28th.

Corvus corax

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Common (European) Starling A few seen. Not common.

Sturnus vulgaris

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Yellowhammer Common around Oulu.

Emberiza citrinella

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Ortolan Bunting Eight on the 23rd in various sites.

Emberiza hortulana

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Rustic Bunting One heard at Ylikiiminke on the 24th, 3 seen near the Russian border on the 26th.

Emberiza Rustica A highlight species.

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Reed Bunting Two at the hotel on 23rd, one on the 25th.

Emberiza schoeniclus

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Little Bunting Two just south of Kuusamo on the 27th. A highlight species.

Emberiza pusilla

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(Common) Chaffinch Seen daily in good numbers.

Fringilla coelebs

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Brambling Seen in good numbers daily after the 23rd.

Fringilla montifringilla

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(European) Greenfinch A few seen daily.

Cardeulis chloris

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(European) Siskin Common in the Taiga forests.

Cardeulis spinus

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Common (Mealy) Redpoll A few seen at the hotel and around Oulu.

Cardeulis flammea

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(Eurasian) Bullfinch One or two seen most days.

Pyrrhula pyrrhula

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Common Rosefinch Four on the 23rd, singles on the 24th and 26th. Not common.

Carpodacus erythrinus

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Common (Red) Crossbill Five on the 26th, party of Crossbill type on the 27th.

Loxia curvirostra

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House Sparrow Singles most days, flock of 12 at a feeder opposite the hotel in Kuusamo.

Passer domesticus

MAMMALS

Elk Five on the 23rd.

Alces alces

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Reindeer Common around Kuusamo.

Rangifer tarandus

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Red Squirrel One ran across the road on 26th.

Sciurus vulgaris

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Brown Hare Two on the 23rd and 24th Kempele fields, near the hotel.

Lepus europaeus

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Arctic (Mountain) Hare One at Kempele fields on the 25th, 12+ on 26th and 27th

Lepus timidus

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Muskrat One seen on 25th, lodges seen other days.

Ondata zibethica

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Hedgehog Sinfges seen dead on 23rd and 26th.

Erinaceus europaeus

INSECTS

Green hairstreak Five on the 23rd, 50+ on the 24th.

Callyophrys rubi

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White sp One on the 23rd

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Holly Blue 20+ on the 23rd

Celastrina argiolus

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Orange Tip One on the 28th.

Anthocharis cardamines

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Latticed Heath Moth One on the 24th.

Semiothisa clathrata

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Oil beetle One on the 24th

Meloe variegatus


© The Travelling Naturalist 2000