Definitely counting among my favorite sights in Finland, the Horned grebe (Podiceps auritus) is a small nordic water bird from the grebe family. I find it particularly beautiful, with its rufous body, black head and golden “earlike tufts” on the sides of the face (description freely adapted from the one on Wikipedia).
Fun fact: before diving in quest for fish, the horned grebe folds up its tufts, like in the following picture.
I spotted the bird in Suomenoja, where there is an IBA (Important Bird and Biodiversity Area) sheltering many nesting Black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus), 3400 pairs in 2008 according to Birdlife Finland. Given the noise, you can’t really miss them when you arrive there. The site also held 17 pairs of Horned grebe in 2007, making it an important area for this species in Finland.
I was there too early for that, but I saw pictures of grebes carrying babies on their back. Would have been a sweet sight. Next time, maybe 😉
To see more Horned grebes (and several other birds, actually), please visit my Wildlife gallery.