16th of June 2015. My last day in Finland. Indeed, I was to fly to France the day after, early in the morning. The weather was said to be good this day, so I decided to go birdwatching. My last experience in Nuuksio, in the middle of the day, exhorted me to go in the morning. The problem is, in Finland in June, the sun rises early in the morning. By this I mean, very early, like 4 am. Well, this was my last day, so I set my alarm clock to 4, slept four hours and got out of bed full of enthusiasm.
I had decided to go again to Laajalahti, a small nature reserve next to Otaniemi, where I resided. I left home at around 5. Birds were singing everywhere, and everything else was very quiet. During holidays, the campus is very peaceful.
The site: Laajalahti nature reserve, Espoo
From Otaniemi, you can access it from Konemiehentie. The closest bus stop is Konemies.
Even before reaching the reserve itself, and while the woods were still dark, I was greeted by an unknow birdsong. After playing some hide-and-seek with the bird, I identified an Icterine warbler (Hippolais icterina). It’s not common sight for me, so I thought that the day was starting perfectly. It was high, restless and camouflaged in the foliage, so I did not even try to take a picture. A Willow warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus) was also present, and gulls were circling abovehead.
After turning in the reserve, you find yourself on a path lined with birches, with reed areas to both your left and your right. This area favors the observation of warblers and European reed buntings (Emberiza schoeniclus), and the White wagtail (Motacilla alba) likes to walk on the path. I spent almost an hour on these 500 meters, trying to catch a glimpse of birds wandering in the reeds. I identified a Sedge warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus), but was confused by another furtive warbler: in my opinion, it was either a Eurasian reed warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus), a Marsh warbler (Acrocephalus palustris) or a Blyth’s reed warbler (Acrocephalus dumetorum). Since it was bustling in the reed, I suspect it was the first one, but I can’t be sure.
A snipe was singing from a dead tree. It looked like a Common snipe (Gallinago gallinago), but I was not totally convinced it was not a Great snipe (Gallinago media). However, when I was in the birdwatching tower, a bird landed on the rail, showing me its white belly. It was a Common snipe, a few meters from me, and it started to sing as if it was completely alone. It left after I got nice shots of it. In the water below were many ducks, gulls, Grey herons (Ardea cinerea) and Caspian terns (Hydroprogne caspia).
Further on in the reserve, the path turns into a duckboard trail,
between the forest and the meadows by the seashore. Although the fields were not very lively, many passerines were active in the trees. Lesser whitethroat (Sylvia curruca), Great tit (Parus major), Blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus), Blackbird (Turdus merula) and Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris), but above all, I saw for the first time the Common rosefinch (Carpodacus erythrinus). The first individual I glimpsed was unusual, with a grey-brownish cap, whereas in my book it was supposed to be red. Later, I saw a pair or normal individuals, so I was able to mark the tick. I finally saw the unusual individual again, and noticed that it was singing exactly as the ones before, so I suppose it was a rosefinch.
It was a great last morning in Finland (although I’m coming back for a few days in early August). The end of the day did not prove disappointing either, with a fantastic show from Gojira at The Circus. What a day…
The pictures can be seen in my gallery Wildlife