Photos with this report (click to enlarge)
Please visit my website for further photos from this trip http://www.hows.org.uk/inter/birds/euro/finland.htm
Three of us from the Bishops Stortford Crew headed to Finalnd, hopefully to see the Azure Tit and Hawk Owl that had been present for a while, although we were a little concerned by the lack of sightings in the week before we went and feared we might have missed the boat, our fears were unfounded and we had a top trip.
Saturday 24th February
We took the early morning flight from Stansted to Tampere and picked up the hire car and two hours later we arrived on the outskirts of Uurainen. A wrong turn was taken but quickly rectified and we arrived at well organised Azure tit twitch. The azure tit showed within a few minutes of our arrival along with a good supporting cast of redpolls and tits willow and crested the pick, but a brieftreecreeper did not show well.Some gen from some visiting birders put us on to a Siberian jay feeder 40 mins away so we headed there lots of willow tits and one crested tit and a pair of great spotted woodpeckers the only visitors to the feeding station. Onward north via the ABC for some food and onward to the wilderness hotel – which was in the wilderness and we struggled to find it. Eventually there we booked in but could not get into our cottage, another cottage was tried and eventually the staff had to come and let us in even they struggled. The cottage was warm and comfy just what we needed.
Sunday 25th February
An early rise and a great spotted woodpecker drumming on the metal lamppost had us guessing for a moment. It was bitterly cold -18ºC so we took the car a short distance and birded from the car some redpolls including an artic, parrot crossbills and black grouse were the highlights before we contacted Juha to go and see the now famous owl. The hawk owl was there on arrival showing very well and we stayed until we were cold. Juha put us on to a friend of his Eero. We met up and drove down a very snow covered road which our Nissan Note struggled with. I went into the photographic tent closer to the action, the others went in the woodern hide. After a reasonable wait with willow and crested tits, great spotted woodpeckers coming to the feeders our target a Siberian jay arrived. Our host had lit a fire in the hide and I retreated from the very cold tent to the heated hide and enjoyed some warmer views of the Siberian jays. Onwards to Oulu where we struggled to find the feeder which the Siberian tit had been coming to. We did find a couple of feeders (one of them was the correct one it turned out) we did have nuthatch and a good selection of tits and redpolls. We did manage to walk out onto the frozen sea as a bit of a bonus. We headed to the railway station where we stayed in the hotel touristi opposite.
Monday 26th February
After an early breakfast we headed back to the feeding station not much there as the feeder was mostly empty, someone refilled it shortly after our arrival and the activity picked up but no Siberian tit. We headed in search of the grosbeaks which although present earlier in the week were seriously reduced in number. We had a good search without success and decided to head to another Siberian tit site. In the way we stopped the car for a great grey shrike on the top of a tree, however in the next tree was two pine grosbeaks, all flew shortly after. We continued to the site via a few wrong turns and found the feeding station. A few waxwings were feeding near where we parked and a dead fieldfare was sat in a bush hopefully not a bad omen. The birds were everywhere and were incredibly close willow tits within inches, nuthatches very close and suddenly a Siberian tit appeared very close and eventually it was joined by another both these and the willow tits came to feed from the hand incredible. A local turned up and put more food in the feeders, which a red squirrel enjoyed as well as the tits which included coal and crested as well. Time was up and we had to drive back to Tampere, not much of note on the way but a big flock of waxwings and the usual selection crows. ABC supplied us with food before Ryanair’s trip home.
Birds - 32
Willow Tit (borealis)
Coal Tit (ater)
Jackdaw (inc soemmeringii)
Great Grey Shrike
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Mammals – 1
Finland Euro Country Map 1:750000 ISBN 3-8297-6210-0
Many Thanks to all the people who helped us with the sites and information.