Helsinki Has Wonderful Birds The Start Of Our Tour Finland And Arctic Norway 2023

We enjoyed seeing Fieldfares every day of the tour from Helsinki to the high Arctic.

Our annual Finland and Arctic Norway tour began at Helsinki, Finland on the 20th of May 2023, this year was different as it was a three week trip instead of our usual two week trip. Our lovely guests - Steve and Sue, Debbie and Pat had asked for a custom tour at a slower pace and of course we were very happy to do this. We met our local guide, Torku, and set off to explore the area around Helsinki. We were soon enjoying wonderful birds in the warm spring sunshine, the trees were already green and many migrant birds were arriving.

We enjoyed super views of this Lesser Spotted Woodpecker - Finland does woodpeckers very well.

One of the early highlights was great views of a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, sadly rare in the UK these days, in a wooded area near a golf course. A Lesser Whitethroat was busy nest building here and it was lovely for our all American group to photograph our Robins and birds such as Great Tit and Eurasian Jay.

The tiny Lesser Spotted Woodpecker showed off very well in the sunshine.

We enjoyed a lovely lunch outside overlooking the golf course listening to Pied Flycatchers singing and watching a pair of Tree Sparrows buiding a nest in a nest box close to our table. A Common Gull raided the unattended food on the table next to ours much to the dispair of the golfing couple who had popped inside for cold drinks.

A rather smug looking Common Gull after its free lunch.

Another beautiful park provided us with wonderful views of a gorgeous male Hawfinch though tricky to photograph as it was high in the trees. Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Treecreepers were enjoyed and so lovely to hear so much bird song, Spring had arrived early in southern Finland.

This male Hawfinch was one of the many highlights on day one of this bird filled tour.

In Finland they like to have "birding towers" rather than hides, these open raised platforms allow panoramic views often across lakes and marshes and we visited the first of many after lunch. Being the weekend the large tower was busy with birders and it was lovely to catch up with a great friend - Mika. There was so much to see here, where to look first! The reason the tower was so busy was that a rare Red-footed Falcon was here, wow, how lucky were we to turn up on the same day. This rarity was hawking for insects on the far side of the bay so the views were distant but very exciting none the less! The Red-footed Falcon was joined by at least two Hobby always a thrill to see these majestic raptors. The bay and mud flat here held lots of birds both migrants pausing on their way north and resident breeding birds. We had super views of Caspian, Arctic and Common Terns, Ruth picked out a pair of Garganey, Temminck's Stints, Grey-headed Wagtails, a flock of Barnacle Geese and our only Moorhens of the trip - what a fantastic place.

Barnacle Geese taking a break on their northwards migration one of so many species enjoyed on day one.

With heads spinning with all the wonderful birds we had already enjoyed we headed off to our first hotel set in wooded grounds. We were greeted by the high pitched "wee, wee" call of a Wryneck along with singing Pied Flycatchers and the delightful "pleased to meet you" song of a Common Rosefinch - we liked this place.

A male Common Rosefinch singing at the bottom of the hotel garden.

What a wonderful start to our Finland and Arctic Norway Birdwatching Trips Tour. We would love you to join us on an adventure please check out our tours pages and do drop us a line and let us put together the perfect tour for you...

We look forward to sharing wonderful birds and wildlife with you soon!

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