A Midsummer night’s dream

In this flurry of New Zealand-related articles, let’s take a break and go back in time, to the most beautiful country in the world: Finland.
These days, I’ve found myself missing this place. First came the northern light pictures all over social media, and then the autumn colors in the forest. It’s not that New Zealand is bad, but Finland… awww, there’s something special about that place.

In the beginning of July, I spent a weekend on Kylmäpihlaja. This small island, located out of Rauma, in the Bothnian Sea National Park, is home to a lighthouse, and birds. Lots of birds.
I had been there about a year before, with my friend Bjørn, but we had spent only a few hours on the island, in the middle of the day. The profusion of birdlife had made me want to spend more time there.

Reading Saana’s article, I had planned to sleep in the hydrocopter shed. Mistake! The shed didn’t exist anymore… I asked everyone on the island, but noone had ever heard about it. I faced a hard decision: sleep at the hotel, inside the lighthouse (probably very comfy, but also very expensive), go back to another island or even worse, to Rauma (not really what I had planned)… or sleep outside, under the stars.

I checked and double checked the weather forecast, and no cloud was expected at any time during the weekend… guess what I chose!
The trouble was to find a shelter from the persistent wind. Kylmäpihlaja (the cold rowan tree, in English) is nothing but a rock with little, low vegetation. Even if I had had a tent, I wouldn’t have had anywhere to set it.

I stayed awake the first night, and went to sleep only after sunrise. That way, I escaped the coldest hours; under the sun, protected from the wind by sea buckthorn and juniper bushes, I slept well. I tried to sleep during the darkest hours of the second night, but that was a mistake: the wind had changed direction, and I felt really cold. It was so bad, I couldn’t find the strength to get out of the sleeping bag for sunrise.

That’s it for the bad aspects of this trip. The rest was pure wonder.

Common gull (Larus canus)

In this abnormally warm and sunny summer, I enjoyed twilights of a rare intensity, with light of amazing quality ideal for creative photography. The downside? I had nothing to do in the middle of the day, when the sun was high.

As expected, the island teemed with birds, many of which had chicks: Arctic terns (Sterna paradisaea), Common redshanks (Tringa totanus) and Black guillemots (Cepphus grylle) tried to steal the show, but Common eiders (Somateria mollissima) and Common gulls (Larus canus) resisted well.

Below are some of my favourite images, with minimal commentary. Feel free to comment, and enjoy.

ACT I

SCENE I: opening light

Barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis)

Common redshank (Tringa totanus)

Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea)

Arctic tern

Black guillemot (Cepphus grylle)

Black guillemot

Black guillemot

SCENE II: dusk

Red-breasted merganser (Mergus serrator)

Common eider (Somateria mollissima)

Black guillemot

Common eider

Common gull

Common gull

Arctic tern

Common gull

Arctic tern

Common gull

SCENE III: after the storm

ACT II

SCENE I: a new dawn

Arctic tern

Arctic tern

Arctic tern

Common eider

Common redshank

Common redshank

Black guillemot

Common eider

Sand martin (Riparia riparia)

SCENE II: action

Black guillemot

Mute swan (Cygnus olor)

Red-breasted merganser

Arctic tern

SCENE III: explosion of gold

Common eider

Common eider

Common redshank

Common redshank

ACT III

SCENE I: closing the curtain

Sand martin

Sand martin

****

Follow me! Newsletter, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… you name it!

Want to know where I am? Check out the map!

Want to support me? Buy a print!

****

BIRD INVENTORY

9 thoughts on “A Midsummer night’s dream

  1. You are brave and persistent, Samuel. Fortunately, you were rewarded with some outstanding motives. Amazing impressive images.
    Be aware of hypothermia especially if you are alone !!! Drowsiness comes creeping!
    All the best,
    Hanna

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Lighthouses in Finland | Kylmäpihlaja Island in Rauma Archipelago

Leave a Reply to verwonderhoekje Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.