A Magical Day With Owls And Great Friends In The Forests Of Southern Finland

Any day that envolves a wonderful encounter with Ural Owls is very special indeed.

Day two of our Finland and Arctic Norway tour began with some gentle pre-breakfast birding in the hotel garden. A Wryneck was singing away right outside the front door and we enjoyed great views in the warm morning sun. Both Pied and Spotted Flycatchers swooped after insects and a Black Woodpecker swept low over our heads! Common Rosefinches were common in the gardens here along with plenty of Redwings and Fieldfares.

This Redwing was in the hotel garden - such a lovely place with wonderful birds.

After breakfast we headed off to meet some of our great friends, first Hannu and then Pertti and we all headed off deep into the forest. Pertti is a legend, he has spent a lifetime studying owls here in Southern Finland - over sixty years. We were very privalaged to accompany him on his studies this beautiful spring day. A ladder was placed against a tree to which a large nestbox was attached. We were being watched! Above us a beautiful Ural Owl looked down on us - what a superb bird. Pertti doned his heavy soft jacket, pulling it over his head, to protect the owl from harm if it struck Pertti. As he reached the nest box the owl launched its attack! So fast, we didn't have time to photograph it, wow! The owl made contact but luckily neither target or owl were harmed - both are old hands at the forest encounter. Luckily this time the Ural Owl was fairly peaceful, just the one hit, often repeated attacks are made on the ringer. Back on the forest floor and the gorgeous balls of fluffy feathers were quickly processed and ringed as part of the study and returned to the nest box. What a thrill for us all to witness this collection of data and to have such an encouter with such an amazing bird species, Ural Owl.

Ringing Ural Owls is not for the faint hearted - need a head for heighs and protective clothing!

How cute is this? A gorgeous Ural Owl youngster - latest in a long line to be studied by Pertti.


The female Ural Owl never took her eyes off Pertti the whole time and glared at us as we crept away.

Next Pertti took us to a Tawny Owl nest site where he was lucky to ring one of the adult birds and a brood of chicks, another wonderful experience for us to witness. Pertti is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to owls and we could have listened to him all day sharing this enthusiasum for these so special birds. Sadly though we had to say goodbye and thanked Perrti for a most amazing morning with his owls.

A wonderful "grey" Tawny Owl, these birds are commoner in the northern populations.

Pertti, in his happy place, in his forest with his owls, what a lovely man.

Of course we enjoyed many other birds on day two, including lovely Wood Warblers.

We were very lucky to watch a pair White-backed Woodpecker feeding their young.

Highlights on Day Two included -

Black-throated Diver, Red-necked Grebe, Barnacle Goose, White-tailed Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Common Crane, Baltic Gull, European Pygmy Owl, Ural Owl, Tawny Owl, Wryneck, Black Woodpecker, White-backed Woodpecker, Honey Buzzard, Great Reed Warbler, Wood Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, Common Rosefinch - but the owls stole the show.

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