We checked in at BIRK Husky, a place well known to the birding community for its feeders, which offer great opportunities to meet the local fauna, and particularly the taiga specialities.
Right after waking up, on my way to the toilets, I saw two Siberian tits (Poecile cinctus) at the feeders. A bit later, I spotted three or four squirrels in the vicinity, some chasing each other in the trees while other peacefully enjoyed sunflower seeds from the feeders. That was before birds woke up: usually, they are active at dawn, but that day it seemed that activity peaked a bit later, and the morning was slow to start.
I found again the Snow bunting (Plectrophenax nivalis) that I had seen wandering near the path in the evening. Forest is not their favoured habitat, for Snow buntings prefer open areas, so I assumed this one got a bit lost on its way north, and enjoyed the free seeds while resting.
Birds were singing all around us: in spite of the thick snow cover, it felt like spring. Eurasian greenfinches (Chloris chloris) perched high in the trees, House sparrows (Passer domesticus) squeaking constantly, Willow tits (Poecile montanus) visiting the feeders… the show was everywhere, and very diverse. We even had a few Common redpolls (Acanthis flammea) visiting us briefly.
The main feeding station was located right in front of a small cabin. While I was standing outside like an idiot, Marci noticed that some windows could be opened, offering a narrow but intimate view of the approaching birds. At first, it didn’t seem like there was much happening, so we went for a walk (read Varanger, Day White), but we gave it another try when we came back, and it was WOW!
First, a superb Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) landed on a branch. I’m absolutely in love with this bird (read Dompap), therefore I was thrilled to see one at close range again. Then, the beasts appeared. If you were here two weeks ago (click the link for more pictures), you know what I’m talking about: a pair of Pine grosbeaks (Pinicola enucleator) came just for us. We hadn’t landed for 24 hours, but my heart was already beating pretty fast!
Unfortunately, this was a one-man cabin, as you couldn’t really have two photographers shooting through that hole. Thank you Marci for being so accommodating ❤ We were so close to the birds that they flew away when we pressed the shutter, so we really had one shot to make it right. Luckily, we were concealed and they were hungry, so they came often enough.
An intense experience!