May 22 Birding Around Oulu Finland In Glorious Sunshine

Hawk Owl Finland 2018 1

One of THE birds to see in the world - Hawk Owl - photo Ruth Miller.

After all our adventures the previous day, see blog below, we had a later, relaxed, breakfast before heading out for more birds. Our top Finnish guide Tuomas soon took us to a special place, we stood quietly in the morning sunshine and didn’t have to wait long, a Hawk Owl! This wonderful looking owl, indeed a cross between a hawk and an owl, flew in and landed on a tree stump and wowed us all. The amazing plumage and those lovely yellow eyes had everyone loving this so special bird. Hawk Owls ignore people pretty much and this particular pair had set up home on the edge of a farm house garden right next to a country road! Our enjoyment of the wonderful Hawk Owls was interrupted by first Common Cranes and then White-tailed Eagles soaring right overhead, just fantastic birding.

Next we visited an area of fields on the edge of a forest, part of Tuomas’s Ortolan Bunting study area and we quickly found a singing male. It was really interesting hearing about the on-going study of these colourful buntings, which are sadly declining. The male Ortolan Bunting sang away from a small pine tree in the warm sunshine, more Common Cranes flew over and a Short-eared Owl hunted the fields here.

Common Cranes in flight 1

We enjoyed seeing a lot of Common Cranes on this amazing tour.

Not far away we visited the wonderful nature reserve at Liminka on the Baltic Coast. This amazing place always has lots and lots of birds and a superb visitor centre, always worth popping in. We walked out to the view platform, a raised wooden platform that gives commanding views across the marshes and coast. Whichever way you looked birds were on view, waders, wildfowl, raptors, cranes, wagtails and warblers! A Garganey was feeding in the channel just below the platform, huge White-tailed Eagles fought over the islands, Ruff were all over the place many breeding plumaged males looking stunning in the sunshine, it was hard to leave!

More hot news had us visiting a golf course of all places! Having first checked it was OK for our small group to visit we headed for the 19th hole and made ourselves comfortable. We settled into the very comfy seats on the veranda by the bar, drink in one hand, binoculars in the other. The veranda overlooked a stream with large trees alongside it, one of these trees had a large hole in it and we kept a careful watch on that hole. Suddenly a very large black bird flew along the stream towards the hole, Black Woodpecker! Wow! A monster of a woodpecker – the size of a Carrion Crow! This woody-woodpecker look-a-like landed at the hole and luckily stayed in full view allowing us to really enjoy this special bird. The woody then climbed into the hole but soon popped his head out in a very comical way. Now this was birding in style! Comfy seats, drinks, sunshine and a mega looking bird.

Black Woodpecker Finland 2018 1

Black Woodpecker from a comfy chair - pretty good! Photo Ruth Miller.

Oulu had been very kind to us, great birds, wonderful weather and a superb nature reserve, but now it was time to move on. More blogs soon!

Mike and Rachel, who joined us on this Birdwatching Trip, said "So many wonderful memories of Finland and Norway and thanks to you both for an amazing experience. We will relive it all through the photos"

Here are a few of the wonderful species of bird that we encountered on this year’s trip…

Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, White-billed Diver, Red-necked Grebe, Whooper Swan, Taiga Bean Goose, Tundra Bean Goose, Garganey, King Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Velvet Scoter, Smew, Honey Buzzard, White-tailed Eagle, Hen Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Rough-legged Buzzard, Golden Eagle, Merlin, Hobby, Peregrine, Gyr Falcon, Hazel Grouse, Willow Grouse, Ptarmigan, Black Grouse, Capercaille, Common Crane, Avocet, Dotterel, Temminck’s Stint, Purple Sandpiper, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Ruff, Jack Snipe, Woodcock, Whimbrel, Spotted Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Red-necked Phalarope, Arctic Skua, Pomarine Skua, Long-tailed Skua, Little Gull, Iceland Gull, Glaucous Gull, Brunninch’s Guillemot, Black Guillemot, Puffin, Hawk Owl, European Pygmy Owl, Ural Owl, Great Grey Owl, Short-eared Owl, Tengmalm’s Owl, Snowy Owl, Wryneck, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, White-backed Woodpecker, Three-toed Woodpecker, Shore Lark, Red-throated Pipit, Waxwing, Dipper, Thrush Nightingale, Red-spotted Bluethroat, Red-flanked Bluetail, Blyth’s Reed Warbler, Greenish Warbler, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Siberian Tit, Crested Tit, Great Grey Shrike, Siberian Jay, Brambling, Mealy Redpoll, Arctic Redpoll, Parrot Crossbill, Common Rosefinch, Pine Grosbeak, Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunting, Ortolan Bunting, Rustic Bunting, Little Bunting.

What an amazing list of highlights! Huge thanks to Rachel and Mike, Paul and Shirley, Hugh, Kirsten and all our amazing friends in Finland and Norway that made this a simply superb trip. Do come and join us in 2019 you will love it! Please email us here for details….

For details of this and all our Birdwatching Trips, small groups just six guests with at least two guides to give the best experience. We look forward to enjoying great birds with you.

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