TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT

Finland

17th to 23rd May, 2004


Leaders:
Tim Earl
Markku Hukkanen of Finnature

Highlights:
Two Bluethroats which were so confiding and got the trip off to such a great start.

The huge range of coloured plumes on male Ruffs in full breeding plumage.

Drake and duck Smew 'sailing across a calm lake away from us. It was timeless moment.'

The pair of Black woodpeckers which posed on the same tree for us to admire.

Tengmalm's owl looking down at us from a hole in an old birch tree, its face filling the hole.

A male Hazel grouse singing from a fir tree branch feet away from the minibus.

The 'good-natured Hawk owl which looked glorious as it sat on a branch in the sun posing for us'.

A Red-throated diver mirrored in a lake a few meters away from us, every feather of its plumage looking perfect.

'Woods teeming with Willow warblers and Pied flycatchers singing their socks off'.

Daily diary

Monday 17th May

Spotted redshanks and Ruff in full breeding plumage, male Pied flycatchers and Red-breasted mergansers are a great way to start a trip as we did today. After a smooth and uneventful journey from Heathrow via Helsinki we were shocked to be told that dinner was in 15 minutes but a little negotiation saw us eat at 7.30 and start a walk down to a nearby harbour by nine.

Birds popped up from the start with all sorts of goodies besides those mentioned. But it was the quality of birding which really struck home. Three Spotted redshanks picking around with a Greenshank; Ruffs displaying in their extravagant breeding plumage; a Bewick's swan flying past; Red-necked grebe out in the bay and tons of Common terns.

Fieldfares breed in the woods near the hotel and their chuckling alarm calls rang through the trees occasionally; Pied flycatchers had just arrived and were flitting around establishing territories; a Yellowhammer sang its familiar song from a silver birch all added to a gentle but exciting start to the trip.

Our hotel was comfortable, the food good, service attentive and we retired to bed well pleased with the end-of-day activities.

Only the rainy weather forecast was the only down side of the day serious rain tomorrow.

Tuesday 18th May

An early start saw us catching a ferry to Hailuoto Island from which we hoped to see migrating sea ducks. Sadly, it was not to be so÷ only a pair of Common scoter was seen. Other ducks were in the island's bays, however, and we added Velvet scoter, Pintail, Shelduck and Gadwall to our list.

Potinlahti Bay was a super start to the visit with two, possibly three Bluethroats which were in stunning breeding plumage qualifying them for bird of the day and one of the trip highlights. A couple of Common cranes were also seen but they flew off after a few minutes.

Our coffee stop at Kirkkosalmi tower was a real treat as the observation tower overlooked a reed-bed and inlet of the sea. At least three Bitterns were booming (David Glayzer even managed to see one), a Whooper swan was mobbed by Greylags every time it took off and Marsh harriers were causing panic as they quartered the reeds. A Reed-warbler was singing and lots of Little gulls were in the vicinity. The first of three Caspian terns seen on the day was watched patrolling the waters and reed-beds.

It was mid-day when we stopped at Pöllä Point and birds were still popping up, among them Velvet scoter, Oystercatcher, two superb Golden plovers in breeding plumage, and Common sandpipers in display.

The day ended with an unsuccessful search for Ural owl in Vartti Forest where a couple of Hazel grouse made up for the dip. We also saw Brambling, hosts of Siskins, a pair of Common redstarts and heard a singing Willow tit.

Considering that the rain stopped only for 10 minutes while we watched the Bluethroats, it was a great day, despite the weather, and Markku was congratulated for arranging such a super itinerary.

Wednesday 19th May

Our first owls were seen today÷ a Short-eared quartering the Teppola fields and a female Ural incubating eggs in her nest (built on an old Goshawk nest). The sun shone, Finland looked picturesque and we had a great day.

It started in fields near the hotel where an Ortolan bunting was singing from an aspen in competition with Sky larks and Curlews.

On Papinjärvi lake a stunning Red-throated diver posed within a few metres of the bank. Temminck's stints, Wood and Common sandpipers raced around the sandy banks and flocks of Common scoters dived in the shallow water. Little gulls and House martins were both plentiful and a Raven flew by as we watched.

We moved on to Teppola fields to look unsuccessfully for Bean geese but were rewarded with a hunting Short-eared owl and a few common migrants.

Lunch at the brilliant Liminganlahti lake interpretation centre was preceded by a walk to a low hide where we watched scores of male Ruff lekking and chasing the Reeves around.

The afternoon ended checking old Goshawk nests in the Revonlahti forest where an incubating Ural owl was found in one. All we saw was the top of her head and occasionally her eyes as she peeped over the nest brim to look at us, but it was enough. She was huge and we were thrilled to see one of the most difficult owl species in Europe.

Thursday 20th May

Travelling days are rarely any good for birding but an exciting itinerary made for a great day despite driving 250km to the Kuusamo area.

Our pre-breakfast trip was to the Hietasaari tower where we spent an hour looking for Terek sandpipers without success. It was a great event, however, as Snipe were drumming out their display flights overhead while we watched such goodies as one Little and eight Caspian terns, Turnstone, Ringed plover, the ubiquitous Ruffs and Reeves, Temminck's stints and Wood sandpipers.

We returned to Papinjärvi lake after breakfast where the Little gulls had moved close inshore but there was no sign of the Red-throated divers.

The rest of the morning was spent searching hard for specific species, all with success. Pygmy owl was located in a nest box in the Hiukkavaara forest we peeped inside to see the tiny bird incubating eggs.

A short distance away a wait for Black woodpecker proved a great success with male and female returning to their nest and showing well for a few minutes until we left them.

While waiting we heard the mournful calls of a Black-throated diver on a lake nearby. This turned out, on investigating the lake, to be part of a territorial dispute between two pairs. One bird flew off after much posturing and display leaving three birds posing nicely for us.

Earlier, on our second search-site in the Sangonjoiki forest, we found a tree with a hole in it. Scratching the base of the tree resulted in the hole being filled with the inquisitive face of a Tengmalm's (Boreal) owl. It was a perfect moment and one which ranked highly among the many highlights of this trip.

Rain had set in as we started the journey to Kuusamo and we scrapped plans to explore a bog, making a couple of impromptu calls instead. The first was at a Korentojärvi lake which had Golden plover and Fieldfares feeding on the bank, with Whooper swans, Goldeneye, Common scoter and Tufted ducks on the surface.

Kuusamo tip turned up trumps again (as in previous years) with a super Glaucous gull, three or four Lesser black-backed gulls which had the black backs of the Baltic race, Larus fuscus fuscus, two Heuglin's gulls, and lots of Ravens.

We drove an extra 30km to Ruka ski resort where Finnature had booked us into the excellent Rukahovi Hotelli, a great improvement on the one we had used previously.

Friday 21st May

An early morning drive started so well even the leaders were caught off-guard. Several Black grouse were sitting in trees within a few hundred metres of the hotel and flew across the road over the buses before we could stop. Happily, they were the first of many and we had great views of the males and females.

Capercaillie were not so easy but we ended up with a couple of females seen and resolved to do better the following morning. Those in the leading bus had a great treat when a Woodcock wandered across the road in front of them÷ hardly a common sighting of this elusive species.

Our main site for the day was way north of Kuusamo in a forest where a Hawk owl had been seen hunting a few days earlier. It represented a slim, but our only chance for this species. The year 2004 had seen Finland's vole population go through one of its crashes and owls were in short supply.

As leaders, however, Markku and I were optimistic that we would see other birds and animals along the way, and so it proved. Besides many of the species we had already seen, Waxwing and Redpoll were noted.

Arriving at the owl site, we prepared ourselves for a good walk through the forest. Hardly 200 metres in Markku stopped and put up his hand he had heard an owl. Within seconds the bird was found sitting on a branch in a dead tree for all to see. For most the Hawk owl was a lifer and the views we had were excellent. Amazingly, it stayed on the branch, sometimes dozing, occasionally turning to look at us. Everyone was able to study its perfect plumage with ease. It was quite amazing. Markku decided that the bird had a nest in the area, the only one known to Finnature in the whole of northern Finland.

Returning south we were enjoying better views of Waxwing when Val spotted a large bird of prey rise up from a block of woodland. It was a White-tailed eagle and as the bird gained height we saw its head and tail shining in the bright sunlight.

Lunch was booked at a farm-restaurant in Oulanka National Park, a mile from the Russian border and we arrived only 15 minutes late, a record for this trip. The meal was delicious, cooked traditionally for us and it was easy for some of us to dose in the afternoon sunshine on the veranda as the group studied birds and Red squirrels coming into the restaurant's feeder. Siskin, Greenfinch and Brambling were all in breeding plumage while a couple of Willow tits seemed to laugh at our ineffective attempts to get views of their cousins in forests over the last few days.

After visiting the border and getting a Camberwell Beauty onto our Russian list (well, it was heading that way and we were loath to study anything else through binoculars) we visited a lake in the hope of finding Smew÷ without success. However, as we sheltered from a thunder shower a pair of Parrot crossbills was seen briefly.

Saturday 22nd May

Our last full day in Finland was spent filling in a few gaps in the bird list with some success. An early morning drive for grouse produced superb sightings of Hazel grouse with several birds seen really well. This is always a difficult species but we were fortunate in the views. An all-white Willow grouse was also seen by some David, Barbara and Margaret getting views so good they could see its red eye-brow.

We returned to Valtavara Hill for a walk in the woods. A friend of Markku's told us that no Red-flanked blue-tails had been recorded in Finland yet this year due to the late thaw and cold spring but we continued with the walk in the vain hope of finding Siberian jay.

A Hazel grouse was heard calling its thin wispy, Goldcrest-like song and a Common crossbill dropped in unseen but was heard singing and calling.

A lake nearby was searched, again for Smew but without success although a drake Pochard was found and a pair of Pintail dropped in front of the tower we were on. Sand martins were picking emerging insects from close to the surface accompanied by Little gulls.

I found a pair of Long-tailed ducks at the far side of the lake but the views were poor and we set off to get closer to them. They were eventually found close to the far bank and we enjoyed great views as they dived for food. It was amazing to think that up until a few days earlier they had been feeding in the Baltic Sea and were now in freshwater and eating a completely different type of food.

Our next stop was a lake close to Kuusamo where Rosemary saw a drake Smew in flight. We all had super views of this most delightful of ducks and celebrated with a picnic lunch we had prepared in the hotel earlier.

Siberian tits are found in few parts of Europe but a forest close to Kuusamo is a major stronghold. Marrku has a study area close to the town and took us proudly to see some of the nest-boxes put up for these delightful birds. Demonstrating how to check for occupants, he approached the fist box, only four feet off the ground, and proceeded to show us how to scratch them.

'If it is occupied a bird might come to the hole and look out,' he said casually.

At that moment one did and, not liking the look of our group, emerged and proceeded to scold us soundly.

Markku looked as startled as the bird.. this was not what he expected to happen. We retreated and watched from a distance and the tit was firstly joined by its mate and a nosy Great tit, and then returned to the nest-box and its duties incubating the eggs inside.

This was success on a grand scale and we moved on to visit a beautiful lake which is home to a vast colony of Little gulls, Black-throated divers and even Muskrats.

As we drove through the Oivanki Forest to reach the lake Pat noticed a white duck on a small lake. Investigated showed another male Smew accompanied by a red-headed female. They swam together into the lake. We had superb views as they dived and the male started his courtship display.

The 'beautiful lake' was a disappointment. It was still ice-bound and the birds I had enjoyed last year were not there. There were compensations, however, with a stunning Black-throated diver and a number of Muskrat 'lodges'. Sadly the occupants did not feel like braving the cold.

Our return to the hotel was broken with a stop in a camp site÷ complete with self-catering cabins. This unlikely spot was perched at the entrance of a gorge where we managed to find an Eagle-owl's nest. It was not easy. The female was sitting in a shallow cave and only her head could be seen, complete with ear-tufts. However, a little concentration enabled us all to make out the bird, our sixth owl species of the trip. This was an excellent result considering the poor vole season.

We returned to the hotel tired but satisfied with the day's events.

Sunday 23 May 2004

It seemed like luxury being able to stay in bed until 6.15am after the last two early morning starts. We managed to pack and get under way by 7.45am giving us the opportunity of a little birding en-route.

Stopping at the Kuusamo tip again, we were surprised to find none of the gulls seen on the way out. Ravens and Ringed plovers were the best to which we could aspire.

The marsh at Ylikliminki Nature Reserve was interesting but perishingly cold. Markku pulled a compass from his pocket and solemnly proclaimed that the wind was northerly, a fact we were all too aware of already. We climbed the observation tower, however, and were rewarded by two pairs of nesting Whooper swans and two Taiga bean geese.

Beating a hasty retreat and remembering to pick up our frozen faces on the way out we headed back to Oulu and the Hietasaari tower where another search for Terek sandpiper ended in failure÷ except for a Bar-tailed godwit which was feeding on the sandbanks.

The tally of Caspian terns had risen to 13 and a Little tern was again seen, an ornithological Little and Large show. Dave found an extremely dark Pheasant which looked like a lost species of grouse and I spotted a Woodcock overhead as we returned to the buses.

All things considered, it was a satisfying end to the trip.

Our return to Heathrow was uneventful and we parted vowing to meet again at a reunion, perhaps in Alderney.

Thanks

I would like to record my thanks and those of the group, to Markku Hukkenen and his team at Finnature who found so many of the great birds we enjoyed on this trip.

ANNOTATED LIST OF SPECIES

BIRDS

DIVERS Gaviiformes Gaviidae

1 Red-throated diver Gavia stellata

Papinjarvi Lake, one in stunning breeding plumage, close to us on 19th.

2 Black-throated diver Gavia arctica

Hiukkavaara lake, four on 20th, Oulanka National Park, two on 21st; three on 22nd.

GREBES Podicipediformes Podicipedidae

3 Red-necked grebe Podiceps grisegena

Oulu bay, one on 17th; Hailuoto Island, one on 18th; two on 22nd.

4 Great crested grebe Podiceps cristatus

Hailuoto Island, 10 on 18th; Liminganlahti bay, 15 on 19th.

5 Slavonian grebe Podiceps auritus

Liminganlahti bay, one on 19th.

HERONS & BITTERNS Ciconiiformes Ardeidae

6 Great bittern Botaurus stellaris

Hailuoto Island reed-bed, three booming on 18th.

SWANS, GEESE & DUCKS Anseriformes Anatidae

7 Whooper swan Cygnus cygnus

Hailuoto Island, six on 18th; Liminganlahti bay, 175 on 19th; a few on various lakes on 21st, 22nd and 23rd.

8 Tundra (Bewick's) swan Cygnus columbianus

Oulu bay, one on 17th.

9 Taiga bean goose Anser fabalis

Ylikiiminki nature reserve, two on 23rd.

10 Greylag goose Anser anser

Hailuoto Island, 20 on 18th; Liminganlahti bay, fields near the hotel, 12 on 19th.

11 Common shelduck Tadorna tadorna

Hailuoto Island, 10 on 18th; three on 19th.

12 Eurasian wigeon Anas penelope

Hailuoto Island, a pair on 18th; Liminganlahti bay, a pair on 19th; common daily in the Kuusamo area.

13 Gadwall Anas strepera

Hailuoto Island, two on 18th.

14 Common teal Anas crecca

Hailuoto Island, two on 18th; Liminganlahti bay, two on 19th; common in the Kuusamo area.

15 Mallard Anas platyrhynchos

Common daily.

16 Northern pintail Anas acuta

Hailuoto Island, five on 18th; Vuotunki Lake, pair on 22nd.

17 Northern shoveler Anas clypeata

Common daily.

18 Common pochard Aythya ferina

Vuotunki Lake, one on 22nd.

19 Tufted duck Aythya fuligula

Common daily.

20 Long-tailed duck Clangula hyemalis

Vuotunki Lake, two on 22nd.

21 Black scoter Melanitta nigra

From the ferry to Hailuoto Island, two on 18th; Papinjarvi Lake, 60 on 19th; a few Vuotunki lake on 22nd.

22 Velvet scoter Melanitta fusca

Hailuoto Island, a pair on 18th; 15 in Oulanka National Park on 21st, a few on lakes 22nd.

23 Common goldeneye Bucephala clangula

Common daily.

24 Smew Mergellus albellus

Nissinjarvi Lake, one drake, Oivanki forest lake, pair on 22nd.

25 Red-breasted merganser Mergus serrator

Common daily.

26 Goosander Mergus merganser

Common daily.

OSPREY Falconiformes Pandionidae

27 Osprey Pandion haliaetus

Vuotunki Lake, one on 22nd.

HAWKS, KITES & EAGLES Falconiformes Accipitridae

28 White-tailed eagle Haliaeetus albicilla

Salla forest, one adult on 21st.

29 Western marsh-harrier Circus aeruginosus

Common daily on the coast.

30 Northern harrier Circus cyaneus

Teppola fields, one male on 19th.

31 Eurasian sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus

Fields near the hotel, one on 19th.

FALCONS Falconiformes Falconidae

32 Eurasian kestrel Falco tinnunculus

Fields near the hotel, two using nest box on 19th.

GROUSE & PTARMIGAN Galliformes Tetraonidae

33 Willow ptarmigan (Red grouse) Lagopus lagopus

Vuotunki forest, one on 22nd.

34 Eurasian capercaillie Tetrao urogallus

Oulanka National Park, two females on 21st, one female on 22nd.

35 Black grouse Tetrao tetrix

One from the buses on 18th; 20 on the early morning drive, 21st; a few on 22nd.

36 Hazel grouse Bonasa bonasia

Vartti Forest, a pair plus two elsewhere on 18th; a pair on the early morning drive 21st, and a stunning male plus five others on the 22nd.

PHEASANTS & PARTRIDGES Galliformes Phasianidae

37 Ring-necked pheasant Phasianus colchicus

Fields near the hotel, two on 19th; Hietasaari tower, Oulu, one on 23rd.

CRANES Gruiformes Gruidae

38 Common crane Grus grus

Hailuoto Island, five on 18th; Papinjarvi Lake, five in a fly-past on 19th; Ylikiiminki nature reserve, a pair on 23rd.

RAILS & COOTS Gruiformes Rallidae

39 Eurasian coot Fulica atra

Hailuoto Island, common on 18th; Liminganlahti bay, 15 on 19th.

OYSTERCATCHERS Charadriiformes Haematopodidae

40 Eurasian oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus

Hailuoto Island, a pair on 18th; Hietasaari tower, Oulu, four on 20th.

LAPWINGS & PLOVERS Charadriiformes Charadriidae

41 Northern lapwing Vanellus vanellus

Common daily on the coast.

42 Eurasian golden-plover Pluvialis apricaria

Hailuoto Island, two on 18th; fields near the hotel, two on 19th; three on 20th and 21st.

43 Greater ringed plover Charadrius hiaticula

Hietasaari tower, Oulu, five, Kuusamo tip, one on 20th; Hietasaari tower, Oulu, 12 on 23rd.

SANDPIPERS Charadriiformes Scolopacidae

44 Eurasian woodcock Scolopax rusticola

Oulanka National Park, one walking across the road on 21st; Hietasaari tower, Oulu, one fly-past on 23rd.

45 Common snipe Gallinago gallinago

Hietasaari tower, Oulu, five displaying on 20th.

46 Black-tailed godwit Limosa limosa

Liminganlahti bay, eight on 19th.

47 Bar-tailed godwit Limosa lapponica

Hietasaari tower, Oulu, one on 23rd.

48 Eurasian curlew Numenius arquata

Common daily.

49 Spotted redshank Tringa erythropus

Oulu bay, five on 17th.

50 Common redshank Tringa totanus

Oulu bay, one on 17th; Hailuoto Island, six on 18th; Liminganlahti bay, two on 19th; Hietasaari tower, Oulu, five on 20th; Hietasaari tower, Oulu, five on 23rd.

51 Common greenshank Tringa nebularia

Oulu bay, one on 17th; Hailuoto Island, two on 18th; Liminganlahti bay, two on 19th; Hietasaari tower, Oulu, two on 20th; Hietasaari tower, Oulu, two on 23rd.

52 Green sandpiper Tringa ochropus

Hailuoto Island, two displaying on 18th; several on 19th; a few daily in the Kuusamo area.

53 Wood sandpiper Tringa glareola

Oulu bay, nine on 17th; Hailuoto Island, one displaying on 18th; Papinjarvi lake, 12, Liminganlahti bay, eight on 19th; a few displaying daily in the Kuusamo area.

54 Common sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos

Oulu bay, two on 17th; Hailuoto Island, six, of which three were in display flight, on 18th; Papinjarvi Lake, five on 19th, 10 on 20th; Hietasaari tower, Oulu, one on 23rd.

55 Ruddy turnstone Arenaria interpres

Hietasaari tower, Oulu, one on 20th; Hietasaari tower, Oulu, one on 23rd.

56 Temminck's stint Calidris temminckii

Papinjarvi lake, 20 on 19th; Hietasaari tower, Oulu, five on 20th; Hietasaari tower, Oulu, 20 on 23rd.

57 Dunlin Calidris alpina

Hietasaari tower, Oulu, five on 20th, six on 23rd.

58 Ruff Philomachus pugnax

Oulu bay, tens on 17th; Liminganlahti bay, scores on 19th; Hietasaari tower, Oulu, 20 on 20th; this was one of the 'trip' birds with males in superb breeding plumage.

GULLS Charadriiformes Laridae

59 Common gull Larus canus

Common daily.

60 Glaucous gull Larus hyperboreus

Kuusamo tip, one third-year bird on 20th.

61 Herring gull Larus argentatus

A few daily on the coast. Many on the Kuusamo tip.

62 Heuglin's gull Larus heuglini

Three at Kuusamo tip on 20th.

63 Lesser black-backed gull Larus fuscus

Kuusamoi tip, five of the northern 'Baltic' race L.f. fuscus on 20th.

64 Black-headed gull Larus ridibundus

Common daily.

65 Little gull Larus minutus

Hailuoto Island, more than 50 on 18th; Papinjarvi Lake, 100 on 19th; daily in the Kuusamo area with 250 at Oivanki lake on 22nd.

TERNS Charadriiformes Sternidae

66 Caspian tern Sterna caspia

Hailuoto Island, three on 18th; Hietasaari tower, Oulu, eight on 20th, 13 on 23rd.

67 Common tern Sterna hirundo

Common daily.

68 Arctic tern Sterna paradisaea

Hailuoto Island, common, at least 10 on 18th; a few daily in the Kuusamo area.

69 Little tern Sterna albifrons

Hietasaari tower, Oulu, one on 20th, another on 23rd.

PIGEONS & DOVES Columbiformes Columbidae

70 Rock dove (feral pigeon) Columba livia

Oulu, three on 20th, two on 23rd.

71 Common wood-pigeon Columba palumbus

Common daily.

OWLS Strigiformes Strigidae

72 Eurasian eagle-owl Bubo bubo

Viipus Camping, one on the nest in a gorge on 22nd.

73 Ural owl Strix uralensis

Revonlahti forest, female on the nest on 19th.

74 Northern hawk owl Surnia ulula

Salla forest, one sitting posing for us for 30 minutes on 21st.

75 Eurasian pygmy-owl Glaucidium passerinum

Sanginjoki forest, one in a nest box on 20th.

76 Tengmalm's boreal owl Aegolius funereus

Hiukkavaara forest, one nesting in a tree-hole on 2oth.

77 Short-eared owl Asio flammeus

Teppola fields, one hunting on 19th.

WOODPECKERS Piciformes Picidae

78 Great spotted woodpecker Dendrocopos major

Hiukkavaara forest, one heard on 20th; four on 21st.

79 Black woodpecker Dryocopus martius

Hiukkavaara forest, a pair on 20th; Oulanka National Park, one heard on 21st.

LARKS Passeriformes Alaudidae

80 Sky lark Alauda arvensis

Fields near the hotel, eight on 19th.

SWALLOWS Passeriformes Hirundinidae

81 Sand martin Riparia riparia

Liminganlahti bay, one on 19th; Hietasaari tower, Oulu, and other sites, a number on 20th.

82 Barn swallow Hirundo rustica

Hailuoto Island, one on 18th; common on 19th, daily thereafter.

83 House martin Delichon urbica

Papinjarvi Lake, 20 on 19th; common in various sites on 21st.

WAGTAILS & PIPITS Passeriformes Motacillidae

84 White wagtail Motacilla alba

Common daily.

85 Yellow wagtail Motacilla flava

Teppola fields, two large flocks on 19th; blue-headed race at the Hietasaari tower, Oulu, on 20th; a few daily breeding in marshes in the Kuusamo area.

86 Tree pipit Anthus trivialis

Fields near the hotel, one, Revonlahti forest, two on 19th; Kuusamo area, 10 on 21st; a few on 22nd.

87 Meadow pipit Anthus pratensis

Fields near the hotel, several on 19th; Papinjarvi Lake, one on 19th; two on 22nd.

KINGLETS Passeriformes Regulidae

88 Goldcrest Regulus regulus

Vartti forest, one on 18th.

WAXWINGS Passeriformes Bombycillidae

89 Bohemian waxwing Bombycilla garrulus

Salla forest, two on 21st; Vuotunki Forest, eight on 22nd.

DIPPERS Passeriformes Cinclidae

90 White-throated dipper Cinclus cinclus

One seen on the nest in Oivanki Forest on 22nd. (In fact, we saw a bit of its chest and the bill, but the domed nest on the side of a water mill was impressive).

ACCENTORS Passeriformes Prunellidae

91 Dunnock Prunella modularis

Revonlahti forest, one singing on 19th.

THRUSHES Passeriformes Turdidae

92 Eurasian blackbird Turdus merula

Revonlahti forest, one on 19th; Hietasaari tower, one on 20th.

93 Fieldfare Turdus pilaris

Common daily.

94 Redwing Turdus iliacus

Vartti forest, four on 18th; common daily in the Kuusamo area.

95 Song thrush Turdus philomelos

Vartti forest, one on 18th; a few singing daily in the kuusamo area.

96 Mistle thrush Turdus viscivorus

Revonlahti forest, one on 19th; Sanginjoki forest, one on 20th.

OLD WORLD WARBLERS Passeriformes Sylviidae

97 Sedge warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus

Liminganlahti bay, one singing on 19th.

98 Eurasian reed-warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus

Hailuoto Island, one singing on 18th.

99 Willow warbler Phylloscopus trochilus

Abundant daily, except the last two when cold northerly winds reduced their enthusiasm to the occasional 'tsweep' contact call - a bit like us.

100 Lesser whitethroat Sylvia curruca

Liminganlahti bay, five on 19th; one singing at the hotel early on 22nd.

OLD WORLD FLYCATCHERS Passeriformes Muscicapidae

101 European pied flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca

Common daily.

102 European robin Erithacus rubecula

Salla forest, one heard on 21st; another heard on the early morning trip 22nd.

103 Bluethroat Luscinia svecica

Hailuoto Island, three on 18th.

104 Common redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus

Vartti forest, three on 18th; several daily from 20th.

105 Whinchat Saxicola rubetra

Hailuoto Island, one on 18th; Teppola fields, one on 19th.

106 Northern wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe

Hailuoto Island, five on 18th; Teppola fields, two males on 19th; Valtavaara Hill, one on 21st.

CHICKADEES & TITS Passeriformes Paridae

108 Willow tit Poecile montanus

Vartti forest, one calling on 18th; Papinjarvi Lake, one calling on 19th; Valtavaara hill, several at the feeding station, Oulanka National Park, two at a feeder, 21st.

109 Siberian tit Poecile cinctus

One bird surprised by a startled Markku while he was demonstrating how to check for them in an unlikely nest-box, plus its mate, Oivanki Forest on 22nd.

110 Great tit Parus major

One at the hotel on 17th, two on 19th; a few around Kuusamo, 21st and 22nd.

111 Blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus

Vartti forest, one on 18th; one Revonlahti Forest on 19th, two at the Hietasaari tower, Oulu, on 20th.

JAYS & CROWS Passeriformes Corvidae

112 Eurasian jay Garrulus glandarius

Revonlahti forest, one on 19th; Vuotunki Forest, one on 22nd.

113 Common magpie Pica pica

A few daily.

114 Eurasian nutcracker Nucifraga caryocatactes

Two leaders-only birds seen on 21st.

115 Eurasian jackdaw Corvus monedula

Common most days.

116 Rook Corvus frugilegus

A few in the Ouluy area daily.

117 Carrion crow Corvus corone

Hooded crow Common daily.

118 Common raven Corvus corax

Hailuoto Island, one on 18th; Papinjarvi Lake, one on 19th; Kuusamo tip, 10 on 20th, a few on 23rd.

OLD WORLD SPARROWS Passeriformes Passeridae

119 House sparrow Passer domesticus

Recorded in ones or twos on only 18th, 19th and 20th.

FINCHES Passeriformes Fringillidae

120 Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs

Common daily.

121 Brambling Fringilla montifringilla

Vartti forest, one on 18th; Kuusamo area, a few daily.

122 Parrot crossbill Loxia pytyopsittacus

Oulanka National Park, a pair on 21st.

123 Red crossbill Loxia curvirostra

Valtavara Hill, one heard calling and singing on 22nd.

124 European greenfinch Carduelis chloris

A few daily.

125 Common redpoll Carduelis flammea

Oulanka National Park, a pair on 21st; a few heard flying over us 22nd.

126 Eurasian siskin Carduelis spinus

Common daily.

127 Eurasian bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula

Vartti forest, five on 18th; Valtavara Hill, a pair feeding on 21st and 22nd.

TRUE BUNTINGS Passeriformes Emberizidae

128 Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella

Common daily.

129 Ortolan bunting Emberiza hortulana

Fields near the hotel, one watched singing on 19th.

130 Reed bunting Emberiza schoeniclus

Common in reed-beds around Oulu.

MAMMALS

RABBITS & HARES Lagomorpha Leporidae

1 European hare Lepus europaeus

One seen by leader only in fields near the hotel, Oulu, on 19th.

2 Mountain hare Lepus timidus

Common daily in the Kuusamo area.

SQUIRRELS Rodentia Scuridae

3 Eurasian red squirrel Sciurus vulgaris

Four seen on 21st, including two at the restaurant feeder, two on 22nd, including one raiding a rubbish bin at the hotel.

MICE, RATS & VOLES Rodentia Muridae

4 Muskrat Ondatra zibethicus

Several lodges seen in lakes on 21st and 22nd.

5 Bank vole Clethrionomys glareolus

One seen running across the road at the Hawk owl site on 21st (a rash thing to do in the circumstances).

DEER Artiodactyla Cervidae

6 Elk Alces alces

Seen on two days in the Oulu and Kuusamo areas with a party of four on 21st.

7 Reindeer Rangifer tarandus

Abundant once we were 50km outside Oulu and in the Kuusamo area.

FLUTS (BUTTERFLIES)

1 Green hairstreak Callophrys rubi

One on 19th.

2 Holly blue Calastrina argiolus

One on 20th.

3 Camberwell beauty Nymphalis antiopa

Singles on 19th and 21st (Russian border)

4 Small tortoiseshell Aglais urticae

Three on 19th.

Tim Earl

Principal Leader


© The Travelling Naturalist 2004