Waxwings in Finland, revisited and ringed


This video from the USA is called Bohemian Waxwings Eating Apples in Maine.

Still 11 March 2015. After the squirrel and the willow tit, still near Oulu in northern Finland.

Back to the parking lot, where we had seen the Bohemian waxwings in the morning.

Bohemian waxwings, one eating two berries, 11 March 2015

They were still feeding on Swedish service tree berries. The second bird from the left on this photo on two berries at once.

Bohemian waxwing and berry, 11 March 2015

Bohemian waxwing ringed, 11 March 2015

Some of the waxwings had been lured by berries to get trapped inside cages. Local ornithologists did that, to be able to ring the birds for studying waxwings’ lives. A ringer came, to provide each individual with a ring around its leg, to weigh it, to measure it, and then to release it.

Many of the birds caught in the cages had already been ringed here earlier. But the ringing has also provided evidence of waxwing migration from Finland to Britain.

Bohemian waxwings ringed, adult and juvenile, 11 March 2015

One could see the difference between adult birds and juvenile birds: an adult (on the left of this photo) has bigger red wing feather tips than a young bird (on the right).

Bohemian waxwing, 11 March 2015

After the last ringed Bohemian waxwing had been freed, we left; to look for more wildlife elsewhere around Oulu.

Red squirrel and willow tit in northern Finland


Red squirrel, 11 March 2015

Still 11 March 2015. After the waxwings and other birds, we saw this red squirrel.

The squirrel was under one of two feeders close to a road near Oulu, northern Finland. It still had its greyish winter coat, not yet its more reddish summer fur.

The feeders attracted many birds as well. Like a yellowhammer. And a siskin.

Willow tit, 11 March 2015

And this willow tit.

Also great tits and blue tits.

This place reminded me of the artificial water holes for birds which I saw in the Gambia on 4 February 2012.

In both cases, on both sides of a footpath close to a road, at a forest’s edge, facilities for birds hung from trees.

Both places attracted, besides birds, squirrels: red ones in Finland; sun squirrels and striped ground squirrels in Gambia.

Also more differences, of course. No snow in Gambia, plenty of it in Finland. And dry season water in Gambia, winter food in Finland.

Controversy over charity’s help for mining in Finnish national park: here.

Bohemian waxwings, other birds of northern Finland


Bohemian waxwings in trees, 11 March 2015

After our arrival in Oulu, Finland, on 10 March, and earlier on 11 March 2015 the black grouse, it was time for Bohemian waxwings; like the two birds on this photo.

At about 11am, they were at a parking lot in Oulu, surrounded by trees.

A great tit called.

The Bohemian waxwings were there for their favourite food: rowan berries. Not the West European rowan species, but Swedish service trees, with bigger berries.

Bohemian waxwings on ground, 11 March 2015

Sometimes, the waxwings flew down from the trees to the ground to eat berries.

Bohemian waxwings in trees again, 11 March 2015

Sometimes, they flew back to the trees.

Bohemian waxwings and berries on the ground, 11 March 2015

And back to the ground again.

Bohemian waxwings and berries still on the ground, 11 March 2015

Bohemian waxwings seem to quarrel less about food than some other species. Sometimes, one bird has one end of a twig with berries in its bill, and another bird the other end, which may lead to some minor tug-of-war.

A hooded crow flies past, and sits down in a tree.

Elsewhere in Oulu there are Swedish service trees as well, attracting Bohemian waxwings and mealy redpolls.

A rook is not far away.

Forty-five percent of all Finnish breeding birds are endangered: here.

Black grouse mating season in Finland, photos


Black grouse on coniferous tree, 11 March 2015

After our arrival in Oulu, northern Finland, on 10 March 2015, on 11 March we saw this beautiful male black grouse, sitting on a coniferous tree.

After walking through deep snow not so far from Oulu, we had arrived at a hide.

There, it turned out that the black grouse mating season had started. The male on the tree (sometimes on a side branch like on the photo, mainly on the top, sometimes flying to a different tree) kept calling. He would like to see females coming. However, in this part of Finland, they start arriving at the leks in April.

Another bird sound: a hooded crow.

Every now and then, ‘our’ male grouse fed on the coniferous tree. This species eats various kinds of food.

Then, the calling did attract another black grouse. Not a female: another male.

Black grouse fighting, Finland, 11 March 2015

They went down to the snowy ground to fight. Soon, one of the two birds flew away.

After some time, we could still hear the lone black grouse, but did not see it any more.

As we left: a great spotted woodpecker.

To the birds of northern Finland


This video is called The Amazing Northern Lights (Aurora borealis) – FINLAND.

On 10 March 2015, first by train to the airport. Tufted ducks swimming not far from the railway.

Then, our plane flew to Helsinki in southern Finland. Many coniferous trees around the airport. Small patches of snow.

Then, another plane flew us to Oulu in northern Finland; just south of the Arctic circle.

Will we see northern lights, and beautiful birds, here?