Finnish word of the day: kansallispuisto = national park
Wonderful Finland, whose capital has two national parks established thirty kilometers from the city center. Nuuksio, to the west, lies in Espoo, and Sipoonkorpi lies in Sipoo, in the east. I went to Nuuksio a couple of times last year, but for some reason, Sipoonkorpi is not as famous, and I had never visited it before that day.
I woke up before sunrise on a misty morning; from the bus, the sun appeared as an orange fireball. I left the bus in Sotunki, a neighbourhood of Vantaa, and walked some time on the road before reaching the outskirts of the park. The vegetation was still covered in dew, and the fog created mysterious sceneries.
I worked on some pictures in the open, but I have very few of them from the forest itself. The sceneries were not very exciting, there were not many birds, and I had a hard time finding my way! I found a clear path, then reached the road again, but what I thought was the path on the other side turned out to be nothing but a trail that soon forked in two, then forked again. I had no map of the area except the one carved in my memory; I knew where the sun was, I knew there was a road not far to the east, but still, I didn’t feel completely at ease.
I’m glad I continued, though. When I reached a tiny glade, I heard birds heavily taking off to the woods. My initial intuition was confirmed when I realized that one Hazel grouse (Tetrastes bonasia) has perched at the top of a fir tree. A lifer for me! When I tried to get closer (you know, the photographer’s instinct), I heard at least three others, so I guess I scared away a full family of grouses.
Amazing sighting, but I felt hungry, so I sat in a place devoid of mosquitoes (almost) and devoured my sandwiches while watching a young European robin (Erithacus rubecula) rambling in nearby bushes. Later, when branches took too much space on the trail I was following, I turned back and took another path that led me to a sign, with a map: I had walked much more than I expected, and had gone further to the north than I wanted.
I finally found the second half of the nature trail, the one I had been looking for for hours. The first half was easy, and I picked up wild raspberry on the way. After the resting place though, some stairs were still in the building phase, leaving no acceptable path for the wanderer. I somehow found a way down, fearing for the camera on my hip while trying not to fall down, but the reward was totally worth the trouble. In a gully, I saw a Black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) feeding in the trees. I didn’t manage to approach it, but I enjoyed my observation of this impressive species, which had eluded me in Denmark. I think I had already seen it in the past, a long time ago, but never that well, so I felt very satisfied.
On the last stretch, birds started to wake up a bit. I saw many thrushes in the trees, and a family of Eurasian wrens (Troglodytes troglodytes) struck the pose for a minute. Damn that branch in the middle of my shot!
If everything went well, the next article should showcase some pictures from Lapland. Stay tuned 😀
Source for the pic of the Black woodpecker.