This Spring, 2020 has been peaceful, even considering the events in the human world. But for the birds, it has been exceptionally peaceful. The migratory birds have arrived to begin their nesting in the north and we have had plenty of time to observe them all. The winter in Finland was prolonged and it wasn’t the best spring weather. Anyway, I photographed several inland and lake bird species in south- central Finland over the last few months and here is their gallery. The lighting was poor with all the cloudy days and I’m still getting used to a new camera. I use a Nikon d3500 at the moment. There’s at least a couple of good shots here 😉
This swan couple was probably one of the first arrive, early in the spring. It was a cloudy and cold spring day when they landed on the nearby lake. The Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus), ‘Laulujoutsen’ in Finnish, is the national bird of Finland and can be found nesting in the many lakes here. They are large birds and make loud trumpeting sounds when excited. We saw them walking on this lake, while it was still ice. They didn’t seem too afraid of humans either when I sneaked nearer to click photos. They finally spotted me behind a tree, a bit too close and decided to take off. It wasn’t the last we saw of them as they nested on the other side of the lake (more photos later in the post). Otherwise graceful, these birds have a heavy and clumsy take off with the all trumpeting and honking sounds. Fun to watch. A clip of them flying off: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLxz-wzzMY4
Next to arrive were the mergansers (Mergus merganser), ‘Isokoskelo’ in Finnish, at the beginning of April. Again, a couple started to show up often at the same lake and I have taken many photos of them over the month. Adults males and females have a visibly different appearance – the male is a glossy black and white while the female has grey and brownish red feathers. They come dive near the shore in search of food and are a bit more shy and tend to swim away when approached. There were also some ducks species like Mallards and Common Goldeneyes around. And a seagull. The wooden plank at the bay was a favourite hang out of many.
The ice has melted from the lake surface by now and this means the water birds are back. Coming next is a unique, almost other wordly water bird, the Arctic Loon (Gavia arctica). I didn’t know of this bird before I came to Finland and saw them on this very lake a few years ago. We call them ‘Kuikka’ which is the Finnish name. Their call is a serene howl or wail that can sound pretty eerie when the night falls. They are elegant divers and can be seen disappearing into the water and resurfacing far away. The last one in the set was actually posing and floated calmly by the bay where I stood.
More of the whooper swan, found foraging in the weeds. Then a noisy little sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) ‘rantasipi’ that whistled loudly every evening. This was part of its courting ritual. Common land birds seen around here include the great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) ‘käpytikka’, cranes (Grus grus) ‘kurki’, the European pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca) ‘kirjosieppo’, kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) ‘Tuulihaukka’, blue tits and finches..
Check out this DIY bird feeder I put out for the birds – made with a used Oatly oatmilk carton! These guys enjoyed some sunflower seeds.
Summer is basically here and now the birds are busy nesting and we can’t wait to see the chicks about soon!