Norfolk Birders

Norfolk Birdwatching and beyond!

Finland 2006

 

May 27th -31st 2006 

                             Sue Bryan & Paul Jeffery Andrew Duff & Ann Lawson John & Judy Geeson

 

John Ann Andrew Pekka Paul and Judy and the Yorkshire Crew! 

Introduction 

This short holiday was arranged by John Geeson after we told him that we would like to go to Finland to see the Owls during one of our evenings together. He contacted Hannu Jannes of Earlybird ([email protected]>), and their UK agent Owen Roberts ([email protected]). Earlybird’s deal for a group of 6 cost £550 pp for an all-inclusive package starting and finishing at Tampere airport. This includes transport, guiding, B&B and evening meals, but excludes lunchtime refreshments and alcoholic drinks in evenings - though these amounted to very little. Ryanair flights from Stansted, booked on-line (www.Ryanair.com) cost £150 pp, incl. of all taxes - a little more than anticipated, but we did coincide with a Bank Holiday weekend and school half-term.

 

Our guide was Pekka Saikko who met us with a suitable minibus, did all the driving and guiding, stayed with us throughout and was in contact with foresters and local birders using his mobile phone to ensure that we saw our target birds. He discussed options with us so that we saw what we requested. The density of all birds, especially the ones everyone wants, in these Northern forests is low, and any attempt to find these unaided would be entirely futile, very frustrating, and a waste of time and money! A local forester was used around Hauho Forest who called out Eagle, Pygmy and Ural Owl within the first hour of being on site!

The boreal forests of Scandinavia hold a small, but mouth-watering selection of species, especially owls, for British birders. All of the countries are relatively expensive, so a short targeted visit has obvious advantages. The optimum season is short: mid-May to mid-June, when owls are nesting and several other species are still singing.

 

 

 

 

 

Itinerary

27th May (evening) Tampere to Hauho Forest

28th May Hauho to Oulu

29th May birding around Oulu before travelling to Kuusamo

30th May birding around Kuusamo

31st May Kuusamo to Tampere 

Climate

We had changeable weather much like a British winter’s day. We wore our normal winter gear of jumpers, fleece, anorak and managed throughout with our walking boots. We had mainly cold grey overcast days interspersed with rain and some sunny spells. 

Daylight

Up to 24hr in the north around Kuusamo, 22 hours at Hauho and Oulu with midnight birding quite possible - but some sleep is essential! 

Habitat

The landscape is a mix of boreal forest of Spruce and Fir trees, lakes and fields with towns few and far between. As we headed north the fields became fewer and trees and lakes totally dominated the scenery. Roads are good and forest trackways are good too although may be tricky in snow and/or wet.

 

Daily Log

May 27th – 1715 Ryanair flight Stansted to Tampere arriving 2130.

We were met by our guide Pekka Saikko who drove east for about an hour to our first destination at Hauho by 2245, where we met local forester Pekka Poutto. (calm clear evening).

For our first taste of Finnish birding, we were driven a short way along a forest ride, where Pekka Poutto’s vocal impression produced a rapid response from an Eagle Owl; this magnificent bird flew in, alighted and called on top of a tall spruce directly overhead, before heading off into the trees. Without having to move our feet, Pekka then called in a Pygmy Owl, which responded and gave good views on many treetops as it flew around us. The supporting cast consisted of roding Woodcock, and Tawny Owl calling in the background. With light quality still fairly good, we moved on to a nearby nest box occupied by Ural Owls, where again Pekka’s vocal talents brought immediate results, with the male perching in full few in the forest edge. Three target owls seen between 2300 and 2345 – an amazing start! Finally, we headed to our nearby cabins, and so to bed – but not for long ….


  Ural Owl




May 28th – Hauho – Oulu. (early cloud slowly clearing, light breeze).

Up at 0530 we drove around various tracks but failed to produce Hazelhen, or anything else of significance – but a return visit to the Ural Owls provided better views and photo opportunities. From the next stop, we walked into a felled clearing, where a Three-toed Woodpecker was eventually coaxed into view, before we headed back to the guesthouse at 0900 for a hearty breakfast. A Garden Warbler was singing in the bushes.

Our second excursion, a little further afield, added the first Red-necked Grebe on a small lake, then a singing Blyth’s Reed Warbler hopped through the bushes. Whilst staking out a Black Woodpecker’s nest hole in a roadside poplar, the second Three-toed Woodpecker of the morning and a fine male Red-backed Shrike kept us entertained before the star of the show, a Black Woodpecker, arrived. Continuing along yet more forest tracks, we were escorted to an owl nest box. Once the distraction of overhead Honey Buzzards had drifted off, we were asked to “get comfortable with optics trained on the hole”. Pekka Poutto gently scratched the tree and box, and out popped a very cute Tengmalm’s Owl to see what all the fuss was about. It was certainly too quick for me as I was not ready with my scope and camera to get a picture. The final nest box of the morning involved an aluminium ladder which appeared from Pekka Poutto’s van. Following assurances that this did not cause undue disturbance to the homeowner, we all in turn climbed up to peer down onto a (slightly indignant) Pygmy Owl at point-blank range.

 

Black Woodpecker with chicks

Note the oval-shaped hole!

 

 

 

 

 

                                               

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

             Pekka arranging the ladder                                     Paul looking down on a Pygmy Owl                              Pygmy Owl

 

             

          

                    Grey-headed Woodpecker                                                                                             Lunch Stop

At midday, we began to head north, via stops for Grey-headed Woodpecker and Wood Warbler. Later we viewed a sitting female Capercaillie on her nest in a fire clearing. After lunch at a lakeside kiosk, we said goodbye to the other Pekka, and spent the afternoon on the long drive north.

Soon after an emergency stop for 2 Elk about 50km before town, we arrived in Oulu and checked into the Hotel Cumulus for dinner at 2030 to end an excellent but busy first day. 

 

 

 

Elk

 

 

May 29th – Oulu area to Kuusamo.  (clear early am, but mostly overcast with intermittent rain).

After breakfast at 1830 we drove west out of town to Siikajoki, and along a track deep into the coniferous forest pulling up opposite our next owl. This was the owl that I had wanted to see more than any other. An imposing female Great Grey Owl, sitting brooding 3 chicks in her armchair sized nest dazzled us all. We were busy coping with the rain and poor light trying to take pictures when all of a sudden her mate arrived on the scene with a food delivery. Suddenly 3 chicks popped out their heads beneath her and guzzled down the offerings that she made to them. Stunning!                                                                                    

                                                        

                                      

                                                          Great Grey Owl

 

 

 

         Great Grey Owl Nest

 

 

 

We dragged ourselves away at 0915, and continued through a patchwork of fields and forest near the village of Varjakka, in search of our last owl. A good selection of birds were seen including our only sizeable Crane flock, Wryneck, Grey-headed Wagtail, Pied and Spotted Flycatchers, Redstart and Ortolan Bunting from the roadsides, before Pekka heard a recently fledged Hawk Owl calling in a narrow belt of birches; this allowed us to approach very close, ooh and ah, and take photographs with barely a blink of its eyes. After a brief visit to the small harbour in the village, where we added a few common seabirds to the tally, a return visit to the farmland quickly brought results in the form of a parent Hawk Owl posing for cameras on roadside wires in the rain.

 

 

                                 Great Grey Owl in the rain

                                                                                                                                   

                     Juvenile Hawk Owl

                                                                                                                                                                                                 Hawk Owl

Heading back towards Oulu, we spent an hour or so (1200-1300) at the Liminganlahti Reserve. Snipe and Reed Buntings were displaying (but sadly Finland’s only breeding site for Yellow-breasted Buntings now seems a thing of the past) as we walked the boardwalk through the reedbed to a large hide overlooking the marshy bay, which yielded a White-tailed Eagle, Marsh Harriers and a good selection of ducks. Having had our fill of rain, we retreated to the visitor centre restaurant to dry out over lunch. Back on the road at 1345, we headed back east through Oulu. First stop was in a large expanse of boggy heathland, where we saw a small party of Taiga Bean Geese and a fine show of Bog Rosemary in flower, before we reached Syotte National Park. Birdlife in the stunted spruces 1600-1830 was very limited. We had a few Waxwings and Bramblings and a tantalising fly-over of our only Pine Grosbeak, plus the first Reindeer grazing by the roadside. Finally, we drove into Kuusamo and the Sokos Hotel, arriving at 1930 for dinner (again!).

 

 

 

Varjakka

 

An evening stroll to Toranki Lake behind the hotel produced Black-throated Divers, Common and Velvet Scoters, Red-necked Phalaropes, Little Gulls and Muskrats to round off another splendid day.

 

 

 

 

                         Reindeer

May 30th – Kuusamo area all day. (overcast with a few light showers, then sunny).

A 0400 start dispelled any misapprehension that this was a holiday, as we met up at the bus for 0445 and drove north via Ruka to the famous lay-by on the Virkkula road for 0515, to find several groups of birders already in attendance. The various well-stocked feeders attracted plenty of Siskins, plus Bramblings, Northern Bullfinches, the distinctive northern race of Willow Tits and Red Squirrels, but sadly no Siberian Jays put in an appearance by 0700.

                                                                                       

                                                           

Red Squirrel                                                                                                              Bullfinch

We then walked up the spruce forest covered hillside opposite seeing a singing male Red-flanked Bluetail (unfortunately only a first summer bird), before returning to the hotel in Kuusamo for 0900 and a much needed breakfast. Paul had heard that Siberian Jays love camp fires of foresters and the attendant sausages that are cooked on them. Needless to say he had lots of them on his plate for breakfast that mysteriously ‘disappeared’.

 

 

 

                                

Siskin

Revitalised, the second sortie of the morning began with a long vigil around a nest box in pinewood near to town before the resident Siberian Tit made its all-to-brief appearance, then back to the Ruka lay-by 1100-1230. The usual cast of characters, plus Great Spotted Woodpeckers, were still present on the feeders, a surprisingly obliging male Hazelhen provided a brief distraction on the roadside, before two Siberian Jays appeared from nowhere, made a lightning raid on the “restaurant”, and disappeared just as quickly.

 

                                                      Great Spotted Woodpecker and the offending Sausages!

 

After a further 30min drive north, we visited Oulanka National Park, and walked the riverside trail from the visitor centre; the main goal of Calypso orchid was found by the path, but needed another week or so to be fully open. On the river were Common Sandpiper and Black-bellied Dipper.  

Calypso Orchid

The third visit to the lay-by 1500-1630 found the feeders relatively quiet. Pekka, Andrew, John and Paul made a repeat climb up the hill, obtaining much better views of the same Red-flanked Bluetail, whilst the ladies took the opportunity of more photography at the feeder. (Judy’s sensibilities were affronted with sausages being in the birdie photos!!!)

Back in Kuusamo, we enjoyed the flocks of Whooper Swans, Little Gulls, nesting Red-necked Grebes, waders and Grey-headed Wagtails from the viewing platform overlooking Kuusamo Lake 1715-1830 in the sun to round off the day.

 


















Whooper Swans on Lake Kuusamo                                                                                      Arctic Tern

























Red-necked Grebe on a nest amongst the reeds                          Whooper Swan

May 31st – Kuusamo area - Tampere. ( dull rainy start, improving to S).

We left the hotel in rain at 0600, and drove to the wooded suburbs of town by the lake, where a pair of the “promised” Willow Grouse duly obliged on the edge of a tiny forest fragment, which did wonders for our appetites. After breakfast we checked out at 0715.

Our first port of call was the town refuse dump (as in every good birding holiday!), where we discovered that Pekka was a closet gull enthusiast. The finer points of separating Heuglin’s from the local fuscus Lesser Black-backed were digested, along with another pair of Red-necked Phalaropes on the pool. Around 30 minutes out of town, a stop in wet birch woodland produced Little Bunting in response to the disc player.

Most of the day was spent on the long drive south, with frequent refreshment and rest stops, especially for our driver. Making good time, Pekka managed to squeeze in a brief final stop at the Lokalahti wetland near Jamsa late in the afternoon; this yielded a selection of common waterbirds, plus Little Ringed Plover and a Thrush Nightingale coaxed out from the undergrowth as the last birds of he trip.

 

 

 

Heuglin's Gull with Lesser Black-backed Gull

We finally arrived at Tampere Airport, thanked Pekka for all of his efforts and checked in for the 2210 (delayed until 2200) Ryanair flight to Stansted arriving at 2330 BST for the drive home.

 

 

 

 

 

Lokalahti Wetland

                                                                                          SYSTEMATIC LIST

Black-throated Diver – pair on lake between Hauho and Oulu 28/5; 5 Toranki,Lake, Kuusamo 29/5; 3 Kuusamo Lake 30/5; 1 between Kuusamo and Tampere 31/5

Red-necked Grebe – 1 Hauho area 28/5; 3 pairs with nests Kuusamo Lake 30/5.

Great-crested Grebe –  4 between Hauho and Oulu 28/5;  2 Liminganlahti 29/5; 1 Lokalahti wetland nr.Jamsa 31/5. 

Cormorant – 1 on offshore rocks Varjakka 29/5.

Whooper Swan – fairly common throughout, seen daily; max. flocks c.50 birds.

Taiga Bean Goose Anser fabalis fabalis – 6 on boggy heath E of Oulu 29/5.

Greylag Goose – 7 near Varjakka and c.6 Liminganlahti, both W of Oulu 29/5 

Eurasian Wigeon – 1 male nr.Hauho 28/5;  few Liminganlahti 29/5; few Toranki and Kuusamo Lakes, Kuusamo 29-30/5.

Teal – 1 Liminganlahti 29/5; 2 Kuusamo Lake 29/5; I Lokalahti wetland 31/5. 

Mallard – small numbers on lakes and in fields throughout.

Northern Pintail – 1 male Liminganlahti 29/5; male and female Kuusamo Lake 30/5; female with ducklings Lokalahti wetand 31/5. 

Garganey – 1 drake Liminganlahti 29/5.

Northern Shoveler - <10 Liminganlahti 29/5; pair Lokalahti wetland 31/5.

Tufted Duck – total of 4 on lakes between Hauho and Oulu 28/5; common on lakes in the N, especially around Kuusamo.

Long-tailed Duck – 6 flew past Varjakka 29/5.

Common Scoter – Kuusamo: 18 Toranki Lake 29/5 and 30+ Kuusamo Lake 30/5.

 Velvet Scoter – 4 Toranki Lake 29/5.

Common Goldeneye – common on lakes in the N.

Smew – single drake Liminganlahti 29/5

Red-breasted Merganser – male between Hauho and Oulu 28/5; many on sea at Varjakka and at Liminganlahti 29/5.

Goosander – female nr.Hauho, and 3 between Hauho and Oulu 28/5; fairly frequent (but not as common as Goldeneye and Tufted Duck) on lakes in the N

European Honey Buzzard – a pair and two singles over forests nr.Hauho 28/5.

 White-tailed Eagle – imm. Liminganlahti  29/5.

 Marsh Harrier – 2 Liminganlahti 29/5.

 Hen Harrier – single males seen from the bus between Hauho and Oulu 28/5, and  between Kuusamo and Tampere 31/5.

Sparrowhawk – I Hauho 28/5.

 Common Buzzard – surprisingly, 1 only between Kuusamo and Tampere 31/5.

Common Kestrel – 1 or 2 seen most days.

Willow Grouse Lagopus l. lagopus – a pair found on grass verge beside a small patch  of spruce forest in the suburbs of Kuusamo early am on 31/5 were a bizarre sight.

Capercaillie – female scoped sitting on nest in burnt clearing in Hauho forest 28/5. 

Hazelhen – male found feeding in forest edge by the road near the Ruka lay-by 30/5. 

Coot – 2 between Hauho and Oulu 28/5; 10+ Liminganlahti 29/5. 

Common Crane – birds seen on arable land: 1 near Hauho 28/5; 30 incl. flock of 29 near Varjakka, W of Oulu 29/5.

Oyster Catcher – 1 Toranki Lake, Kuusamo 30/5.

 Little Ringed Plover – 1 Lokalahti wetland, nr.Jamsa 31/5.

Northern Lapwing – small numbers regularly seen in farmlands throughout.

 Woodcock – 3 over Hauho forests late evening 27/5.

  Common Snipe – 1 in reedbed Liminganlahti 29/5; also heard drumming over wet forest near Kuusamo 30/5.

Black-tailed Godwit – 1 Liminganlahti 29/5.

Whimbrel – 1 flew up off the road between Syotte and Kuusamo 29/5

Eurasian Curlew – small numbers throughout. 

Green Sandpiper – 1 over forest S of Oulu 28/5; 2 over Ruka lay-by 30/5. 

Wood Sandpiper – 2 Kuusamo Lake 30/5. 

Common Sandpiper –  N of Hauhao 28/5; 2 Varjakka 29/5;2 Oulanka NP and 1 Kuusamo Lake 30/5.

Ruddy Turnstone – 1 Kuusamo Lake 30/5.

Ruff – 10+ incl.lekking males Limnganlahti 29/5; 3 Kuusamo Lake 30/5.

Red-necked Phalarope - party of 15 Toranki Lake 30/5;  2 on pool beside Kuusamo rubbish dump 31/5.

 Common Gull – common throughout, with many nesting colonies on lakes in the N.

 Herring Gull Larus a. argentatus – single adult Toranki Lake, Kuusamo 30/5, but  many there on the town dump 31/5.

Heuglin’s Gull Larus (fuscus) heuglini – 2 ad/near-ad, plus two first SP birds  Kuusamo dump 31/5. Appeared longer legged and slightly larger than L.Black-backed, the mantle colour of the adults charcoal almost identical to the British Lesser  Black-backed L.fuscus graellsii, whilst the first-years already had more or less white  head and underbody, much more advanced than Herring Gulls of corresponding age.   A useful lesson from our gull expert leader.

Lesser Black-backed Gull/ Baltic Gull Larus f. fuscus – with very black mantle; fairly common in farmland throughout, and many on Kuusamo town dump 31/5.

Little Gull  - 1 ad. over Syotte NP 29/5; the many colonies on lakes around Kuusamo were a delightful sight. 

Common Tern – small numbers on lakes throughout and at coast W of Oulu.

Arctic Tern – first seen (alongside previous sp.) on coast at Varjakka, but also on  lakes inland around Kuusamo.

 Wood Pigeon – small numbers throughout.

 Cuckoo – single birds seen near Hauho 28/5 and between Kuusamo and Tampere  31/5, but heard daily; apparently the most frequently used host in Finland is  Common Redstart. 

Eagle Owl – a magnificent male was called in and perched on a spruce over our  heads in  Hauho forest, late evening  27/5.

Ural Owl – a very obliging bird (? male) watched at length close to its nest box in Spruce forest near Hauho late evening on 27/5, and again there on the following  morning. 

Great Grey Owl – a huge imposing female sitting on her gigantic nest brooding three chicks in forest nr.Siikajoki, W of Oulu 29/5, and the male made a brief food   delivery visit.

Northern Hawk Owl – a fledged chick, calling for food located (by Pekka) on  ground in narrow strip of birch wood near Varjakka, and on a return visit later in the  morning, an adult watched at length on roadside cables nearby 29/5. 

Pygmy Owl – one mobile bird called in, at the same spot as the Eagle Owl, in Hauho  forest late evening 27/5;  a brooding female, sat tight and allowed point-blank  inspection in her nest box at another site nearby 28/5.

Tengmalm’s Owl – one seen (head and shoulders only) popping its head out of a nest  box in response to gentle scratching on the trunk, Hauho 28/5.

Common Swift – small groups feeding near Hauho 28/5, Liminganlahti 29/5, and  Lokalahti 31/5.

Eurasian Wryneck – 1 Varjakka 29/5.

Great Spotted Woodpecker - <3 visiting feeders in Ruka lay-by 31/5;1 Lokalahti 31/5.

 Three-toed Woodpecker – 2 separate individuals seen in forest around Hauho 28/5;  typically mobile and elusive.

Black Woodpecker – female visiting nest hole in poplar, and another bird flying over  road in Hauho forests 28/5. 

Grey-headed Woodpecker – female emerged from nest hole in birch in response to  play-back, and then seen several times in surrounding mixed birch/spruce forest N of Hauho 28/5.

 Skylark – few seen/heard in farmland around Hauho and W of Oulu.

Sand Martin – few seen Liminganlahti, Kuusamo and Lokalahti. 

Barn Swallow – fairly common, seen in small numbers throughout.

House Martin – few Hauho, Varjakka and Liminganlahti. 

Tree Pipit – very common in forests around Hauho, but less so in the Northern forests.

White Wagtail Motacilla a.alba – small numbers in suitable habitats throughout. 

Grey-headed Wagtail Motacilla flava thunbergi – 4 in fields Varjakka 29/5;3 on grassy margins of Kuusamo Lake 30/5.

Bohemian Waxwing – 6+ Syotte NP 29/5. 

Dipper – 2 Oulanka NP 30/5.

Thrush Nightingale – singing male lured into view Lokalahti wetland 31/5. 

Red-flanked Bluetail – a first SP male singing on the spruce-covered hill above the Ruka lay-by 30/5; also heard in similar habitat in Syotte NP 29/5.

Common Redstart – single males Varjakka 29/5, Kuusamo and Ruka lay-by 30/5. 

Whinchat – male Hauho area 28/5; 3 in fields Varjakka 29/5.

Northern Wheatear – single male on beach rocks Varjakka 29/5. 

Eurasian Blackbird – few in forests at various sites.

Fieldfare – the most common thrush throughout. 

Song Thrush – 1 Hauho 28/5; 1 Ruka lay-by 30/5; 1 between Kuusamo and Tampere 31/15. 

Mistle Thrush – 1 between Tampere and Hauho 27/5; 1 Hauho 28/5; 1 Varjakka 29/5; 1 Ruka lay-by 30/5.

Sedge Warbler – several singing in reedbeds Liminganlahti reserve 29/5; 1-2 Lokalahti wetand 31/5. 

Blyth’s Reed Warbler – singing male in roadside scrub nr.Hauho was coaxed into view eventually 28/5.

Garden Warbler – 1 Hauho cabins 28/5;  

Common Whitethroat – 1 singing in same scrub as Blyth’s Reed Warbler 28/5;2 males Lokalahti 31/5.

Willow Warbler – by far the most common warbler, heard (and several seen) in  forests everywhere. 

Wood Warbler – singing male in tall mixed forest N. of Hauho (Grey-hd.Woodpecker site) 28/5.

Goldcrest – 1 Ruka lay-by 30/5, but others heard in coniferous forests. 

Spotted Flycatcher – 2 Varjakka 29/5.

Pied Flycatcher –Hauho forest 28/5; 3 Varjakka 29/5; 1 Kuusamo and 1 Oulanka NP 30/5. 

Willow Tit – birds of the very distinct Northern race Parus montanus borealis, with cold greyish upperparts, white underparts and very obvious pale wing panel. 1 in forest nr.Hauho 28/5; 2 visiting feeders in Ruka lay-by 30/5.

Siberian Tit – 1 eventually made an all too brief appearance near an occupied nest  box in pinewood nr.Kuusamo 30/5. 

Great Tit –  few seen in most forest areas.

Red-backed Shrike – 2 males in fields amongst Hauho forests 28/5.

Eurasian Jay – 1 in Hauho forests 28/5, and 1 ??? somewhere else? 

Siberian Jay – this gave us more of a hard time than any other target sp.2 birds came fleetingly to the feeding station at the lay-by above Ruka (probably the most reliable site for the sp. in Finland) on our second attempt 30/5.

Magpie – common throughout. 

Jackdaw – common throughout.

Rook – very localised: few in Oulu area. 

Hooded Crow Corvus (corone) cornix – common throughout.

Raven – 1 between Hauho and Oulu 28/5; 2 Kuusamo 30/5, and 2 on town dump there 31/5. 

Common Starling – few around Hauho area 28/5.

House Sparrow – 1 in boat marina on coast at Varjakka 29/5,  

Chaffinch – the most common species of forests throughout.

Brambling – regularly in Northern coniferous forests in Kuusamo area, and several coming to feeders in Ruka lay-by. 

Greenfinch – few around Hauho and Oulu areas.

Siskin – a few in Hauho forests, but common in forests around Kuusamo, especially (20+) around feeders in Ruka lay-by. 

Common Redpoll Carduelis flammea – 3 Ruka 30/5, and a few others heard.

Common Rosefinch – female in scrub in Hauho forests  

Pine Grosbeak – a tantalising fly-over in old spruce forest in Syotte NP 29/5,  recognisable only by large size, long straight notched tail, double whitish wing bars,  undulating finch flight and call.

Red Crossbill – 8+ Hauho forest 28/5; 4+ Kuusamo 30/5. 

Northern Bullfinch Pyrrhula p. pyrrhula – up to 3 around feeders at Ruka lay-by 30/5. Birds of this Northern race have very different buzzing (Redpoll-like) flight call.

Yellowhammer – 5+ around Hauho area 28/5;  sev.at Siikajoki and Verjakka 29/5. 

Ortolan Bunting – singing male on wires Varjakka 29/5.

Little Bunting – one of these very late arriving migrants (June-) coaxed out of wet  birch forest S of Kuusamo 31/5. 

Reed Bunting – 2 singing males in reedbed Limnganlahti reserve 29/5; singing male Lokalahti 31/5.

MAMMAL CHECKLIST 

Brown Hare Lepus europaeus – 2 in fields near Hauho 28/5.

Arctic Hare Lepus timidus – frequent, especially on roadsides early in mornings in  Kuusamo – Ruka area, with >15 seen. 

Red Squirrel Sciurus vulgaris – 3 visiting feeders at lay-by above Ruka 30/5, showing a wide range of colouration from a grey winter pelage to the more familiar rich chestnut summer coat.

Muskrat Ondrata zibethicus – several in Toranki and Kuusamo Lakes, Kuusamo 30/5. [Introduced from North America]. 

Red Fox Vulpes vulpes – 1 in fields near Hauho 28/5.

Elk Alces alces – 2 females in roadside forest S of Oulu on evening of 28/5. 

Reindeer Rangifer tarandus – feral animals fairly abundant in Kuusamo area.

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