Dippers of Finland, bye bye!

This 16 March 2015 video is about a dipper near its nest in northern Finland, trying to make its song audible as the fast-flowing river makes noise.

After 15 March 2015, not yet the very last day in Kuusamo; the morning of 16 March, the last day. When we were back at the dippers’ nest where we had been before.

Dipper at nestbox, 16 March 2015

As we arrived, a dipper sat on the wooden bridge. Every now and then, the birds brought nesting material to their nestbox.

Dipper with nesting material, 16 March 2015

Dipper sings on snow, 16 March 2015

Then, time for singing again.

Dipper looks around, 16 March 2015

Time to look around a bit.

Dipper on bridge, 16 March 2015

And time to go back to the bridge.

Dipper sings, 16 March 2015

Time to sing again.

A great tit called.

Two dippers on the bridge.

A hooded crow flies past.

A dipper cleanses its feathers on a small stone in the stream.

Time for us to say goodbye to these beautiful birds.

This video is about a dipper in the Netherlands.

Our plane went to Helsinki. There, we changed planes.

More bird photos from Finland are here.

Siberian jays in northern Finland, photos

Siberian jay, 15 March 2015

Still 15 March 2015 in northern Finland. After the dippers, to the Siberian jays. Like this one.

Siberian jay on snow, 15 March 2015

They came down from the trees to the snowy roadside, attracted by raisins.

Siberian jay still on snow, 15 March 2015

Siberian jay still on snow, turning its head, 15 March 2015

They were not shy.

Siberian jay on snow, on 15 March 2015

Stay tuned for the next blog post, about the birds of 16 March 2015, our last morning in Finland!

Dippers of Kuusamo, Finland, 15 March 2015

After 14 March 2015 in north-east Finland came 15 March. Our last full day in Finland. Again, we went to the dipper nest where we had already been on 14 March. On this video, you can hear the dipper sing. You can also see the dipper’s environment; the water, flowing fast through ice and snow. But, you cannot see the dipper.

Dipper on snow, 15 March 2015

On this photo, you can.

The dipper sang on rocks in the river, and on the wooden bridge.

Dippers on bridge, 15 March 2015

A second dipper, extremely probably his female partner, joined him on the bridge.

Dipper sings on rock, 15 March 2015

Then, back to the river for a song.

Dippers on bridge again, 15 March 2015

And back to the bridge again.

Dippers still on bridge, 15 March 2015

Dippers on snow, 15 March 2015

Then, together in the snow.

Dipper on rock, 15 March 2015

Then, to an ice-covered rock.

Dipper on rock, water streams past, 15 March 2015

While the water kept speeding past the birds.

Every now and then, the dippers would bring nesting material to the wooden nestbox under the bridge.

Meanwhile, a red squirrel crossed the bridge, covered with snow.

Other birds near the dipper nest: great spotted woodpecker. Great tit.

A raven flies past, calling.

Then, we continue to a field where a northern hawk-owl has been seen. However, we don’t see the owl. We do see mountain hare tracks.

A bit further, pine grosbeaks high up a tree. They are not feeding on Swedish service tree berries this time, but on coniferous tree cones. Like their scientific name says: Pinicola enucleator; literally, ‘inhabitant of coniferous trees, removing cones’ cores’.

In another big coniferous tree: a siskin.

Back to the garden of photographer Hannu Hautala. There is a yellowhammer at a feeder; not many other birds.

We continued to a Siberian jay spot. That will be a separate blog post.

This video is called Hazel Grouse / Bonasa bonasia.

A bird species which we saw once in Finland, in the evening dusk.

In the morning of 16 March, our last morning in Finland, we still saw dippers and other birds. So, stay tuned!

Dippers of northern Finland

This video is about a dipper (Cinclus cinclus) in England.

Northern Finland, still 14 March 2015.

After the great grey owls, we went to a fast-flowing river.

Though there was still ice and snow all around, including on top of rocks in the river, the water there flows so fast that it is open.

This benefited a dipper couple.

They live in a wooden nest box underneath a wooden bridge. There is another nestbox, a bit further under the same bridge. Maybe grey wagtails will use that box when they will be back from spring migration.

The dippers sat sometimes on small pebbles, sometimes on big ice and snow-covered rocks in the river. Sometimes, they caught water insects; eg, stoneflies.

14 March dipper photos, unfortunately, were not so good. However, we went back to the dippers later, with better photographic results. So, stay tuned!

Great grey owls of Finland photos

This video is called Pine Grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator). These birds starred in my earlier blog post about northern Finland on 14 March 2015.

This video from Finland is called Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa) flies towards the camera and eats a mouse.

To see great grey owls that day, we left Kuusamo and went to a roadside not so far away.

Great grey owl, 14 March 2015

There, on a coniferous tree, sat a great grey owl.

Our Finnature guide put a dead shrew on the snow to attract the owl. Though most carnivores don’t really like shrews, preferring mice, the owl did come to eat it.

Meanwhile, a greenfinch sang.

Then, a dead vole was put on the snow to attract the owl again from its tree.

We went back to the pine grosbeaks of Kuusamo. Three herring gulls flying overhead. Rather far from the sea where one might expect them.

Then, back to the great grey owl.

There turned out to be not one, but two great grey owls; mates?

Great grey owl on birch tree, 14 March 2015

One of them sat in a birch tree. Later, it moved to a utility pole; from where it flew repeatedly, trying to catch small mammals.

The other great grey owl still sat close to the road; and reacted to food on the snow.

Great grey owl landing, 14 March 2015

The owl landed.

Great grey owl on the snow, 14 March 2015

It caught the dead small mammal.

Great grey owl, on 14 March 2015

And ate it.

Living pine grosbeaks, living Arctic redpoll, wooden owls

Owl sculpture in Hannu Hautala's garden, 14 March 2014

After 13 March 2015 in north-east Finland came 14 March 2015 there. We went to the garden of well-known Finnish bird photographer Hannu Hautala in Kuusamo. Wooden sculptures of owls near the entrance.

Owl sculpture in Hannu Hautala's garden, on 14 March 2014

In a Swedish service tree, there are berries. They attract birds: a juvenile pine grosbeak, an adult male pine grosbeak …

Pine grosbeak male, 14 March 2015

… an adult female …

Pine grosbeak female, 14 March 2015

and an Arctic redpoll (pictured here with the female pine grosbeak).

Pine grosbeak female and Arctic redpoll, 14 March 2015

Arctic redpoll, 14 March 2015

The Arctic redpoll stayed for a long time in the tree.

Arctic redpoll, on 14 March 2015

These birds were beautiful. So were the wooden owls. However, we also wanted to see living owls. So, we left. Stay tuned!

Golden eagle, Siberian tit, bullfinch in Finland

Willow tit and Siberian tit, 13 March 2015

Still 13 March in north-eastern Finland, in the hide. Like we saw earlier there, a willow tit. However, in front of it, another bird lands. Also a willow tit? Yes.

But a bit later: No. A related species, slightly more light brown on its head and a bit bigger: a Siberian tit, also called grey-headed chickadee.

Willow tit and Siberian tit looking at it, 13 March 2015

Siberian tit, 13 March 2015

For people from central or southern Europe, from temperate North America and from all other continents, a bird for which they have to go especially to the far north of Europe and Asia to see it.

Siberian tit on tree, 13 March 2015

A raven flies past. So does a golden eagle, like earlier in the day. Will it land?

Usually, golden eagles land near the hide day after day in winter. Usually one eagle, sometimes two eagles, the local male and female. They have failed to land only on two days this winter. Late in the afternoon, we would find out that 13 March was the third day that winter. A few miles away, a moose had died. That attracted eagles and other carrion eaters more than the dead fox, squirrel and hare near the hide.

Red squirrel, 13 March 2015

13:10: a red squirrel near the hide.

Nuthatch again, 13 March 2015

Again, a nuthatch.

Great spotted woodpecker female again, 13 March 2015

Also again, a great spotted woodpecker.

Bullfinch male, 13 March 2015

And at last, at least the male half of the bullfinch couple comes closer.

Bullfinch male again, 13 March 2015

Crested tit, 13 March 2015

So does a crested tit.

Crested tit again, 13 March 2015

Eagles, Siberian jays, nuthatches, woodpeckers, tits

This is an Ural owl video. The Ural owl was one of the bird species which we hoped to see when we went to Finland. We did not see an Ural owl, but we did see many other birds.

After we arrived in Kuusamo on 12 March, 13 March 2015 was our first full day in north-east Finland.

Today to a hide where one can usually see golden eagles.

This video from the USA says about itself:

A female Golden Eagle flies from her rocky perch as an early season snowfall blankets Wyoming’s sagebrush steppe.

We arrived at the hide, close to Oulanka National Park.

We did not immediately see any eagles. Also other relatively big birds, like ravens, were not present.

Siberian jay, 13 March 2015

Siberian jays, like the one on this photo, were the biggest birds.

Nuthatch, 13 March 2015

Another, smaller, bird was an Eurasian nuthatch. The subspecies of northern and eastern Europe, with white underparts and orange-reddish stripes on its lower belly.


Great spotted woodpecker male, 13 March 2015

Great spotted woodpeckers came as well, both a male and a female.

Great spotted woodpecker female, 13 March 2015

And there were tits. No blue tits here; they live only in towns in north-eastern Finland, where it is warmer than in forests. And even in towns they are rather recent newcomers (because of global warming?)

Great tit, 13 March 2015

There were great tits. A bit further to the north we would not have seen them.

Willow tit in the snow, 13 March 2015

And there were willow tits. They nest in all of Finland, even the extreme north.

In the distance, a male and a female bullfinch sit in the snow. Will they come closer?

At 10:45, a golden eagle flies past. Will it land? Attracted by the roadkill animal carcasses lying in the snow here; of a red fox, a red squirrel, and a mountain hare?

Stay tuned!

Pine grosbeaks and Siberian jays in northern Finland

This video is called Northern Hawk-Owl (Surnia ulula).

After 11 March 2015, today 12 March.

We went by bus from Oulu to Kuusamo in north-east Finland.

Sometimes, people see a northern hawk owl along that road; or a reindeer; but we did not. Only pictures of reindeer on traffic warning signs.

We had left Oulu to the sound of house sparrows.

A hooded crow flies past. Magpies on the roadside.

10:20: a raven flying.

As we get further to the east, some trees still have snow on their branches. In Oulu, near the sea, that snow had fallen off already.

We arrive in Kuusamo. A walk around the town center shows mountain hare tracks in the snow.

A mealy redpoll feeding on catkins in an alder tree; similarly to its smaller lesser redpoll relatives on birch catkins more to the south.

Pine grosbeak male, 12 March 2015

Then, we see a male and a female pine grosbeak.

Pine grosbeak female, 12 March 2015

The scientific name for pine grosbeak is Pinicola enucleator. Translated: inhabitant of coniferous trees taking cores out of pine cones. Sometimes, pine grosbeaks do feed on coniferous trees. But here, they ate Swedish service tree berries. Old, shriveled Swedish service tree berries: some birds don’t like them, but pine grosbeaks don’t mind.

Hooded crow, 12 March 2015

A bit further along the road, a hooded crow on a birch tree.

Then, we depart to Ruka village, some thirty kilometer away.

Not so far away from the village, a Bohemian waxwing in a small tree.

Siberian jay, 12 March 2015

And Siberian jays in bigger, coniferous trees.

The local ornithological society has put feeders here. They attract great tits.

Willow tit, 12 March 2015

And this willow tit.

Otter and pygmy owl in Finland

Otter, 11 March 2015

After the ringing of the waxwings, we were still in Oulu, northern Finland, on 11 March 2015. We went to the harbour: much ice, but not totally frozen. Then, in the distance, we saw an otter between the ice floes.

A Finnish naturalist said this was the first otter he had seen since two years ago.

Every now and then, the otter dived, and then re-appeared.

Otter in Oulu, 11 March 2015

Gradually, it came closer.

Just before dusk, at 17:30 we had gone to a road with coniferous and birch trees on both sides.

Eurasian pygmy owl, 11 March 2015

Then, we saw this Eurasian pygmy owl. It flew from tree to tree, preferring tops.

Stay tuned, as 11 March was our first full day, not our last day, in Finland!