Before the storm

It was still autumn. Sure, there were fewer golden leaves on the trees, and it was getting colder, but nothing announced the forthcoming storm. I was out, looking for the elusive Siberian accentor (Prunella montanella), first in Vuosaari, then in Myyrmäki. I followed tenuous paths, wandered through secret places, and ultimately found the bird. Oh it was a short sighting, and most of the time I only saw its rufous back, when it fled my approach from one bush to the other. But still, from the distance I saw this wonderful yellow face, and that made my day.

Below are some pictures from these glorious days in Helsinki, in Keskuspuisto, Vuosaari and Honkasuo. I admired the squirrels, in their grey winter coat, cautiously coming near the feeders, or the thrushes, Fieldfares (Turdus pilaris) and Redwings (Turdus iliacus) alike, feasting on rowan berries, like the Bullfinches (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) before them.

Red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)

Red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)

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And there was autumn

When I left France, we were barely leaving summer. Nights were getting fresh, but the only hints of orange in the forest came from dead trees, those which didn’t survive the latest heat wave.

I feared I would arrive in Helsinki after the end of the autumn colors, what they call here “ruska”. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case, and the ruska was in full swing! So I took a walk on my first day, going from Munkkivuori to Ilmala, visiting a patch of kitchen gardens, a residential area, a park and a forest. Yes, I did not even leave Helsinki, yet I did all this in one afternoon.


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Owls Predict, Oracles Stand Guard

A few weeks ago, I saw on Facebook pictures of a Long-eared owl (Asio otus) taken in Vestre Kirkegård, a large cemetery in Copenhagen. It’s not far from where I live, so I decided I would take a look one day, when I have time and the weather is sunny. By asking the people who had posted online, I gathered information on how to find the bird without troubling it too much. Long-eared owls are nocturnal birds (not all owls are!), therefore they can be sensitive to day disturbance (there was a debate about that in the Danish birding Facebook group). I was kindly provided the precise location of a sighting (I was asked not to share it, so I won’t), so I was ready to grasp any opportunity to visit this cemetery.

These last days had been quite gloomy, but when I woke up this morning, the sun was shining. Incredulous, I checked the weather forecast, where I discovered it was going to be sunny all day long. OK, let’s do it!
So first, a warning: when shows the picture of a sun without any cloud, that actually means “sun with many clouds in the sky”. Not that it was unpleasant compared to the beginning of the week, but it was not really what I expected…


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