Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Normal service is resumed

Surely this is a 'fuscus' Lesser Black-back?
Phew, it's been a hectic few days what with Mickey J popping his moccasins, me working my nuts off to finish my debut article for BBC Wildlife magazine plus preparing for and travelling to Helsinki - from where I write this blog. Oh, and I had the worst football game in history on Saturday. We lost something like 10-1!

I arrived in Finland yesterday afternoon and immediately holed myself up in my hotel room until 3am when I finally finished my article on my favourite sites in London. I then had to meet with my guide Hannu Tammelin from Birdlife International Finland who whisked me off to our first urban destination, Hotel Torni just down the road from where I was staying. The idea was not get breakfast, but to stake out a breeding pair of Eagle Owl that can sometimes be seen leaving their rooftop nest site. 

We had no luck, so for the next 10 hours we scooted from site to site picking up mosquito bites, hearing several singing Blyth's Reed Warblers, a couple River Warblers and Marsh Warblers. We also saw a family party of up to 4 Citrine Wagtails at their breeding area, plenty of Common Rosefinch, singing Icterine Warbler, Caspian Terns, Ruff still in near enough summer plumage, Wood Sandpipers and a distant unidentified eagle sp, that was being mobbed by a gull.

Speaking of which, the Larid of choice around here is definitely Common Gull. There are in the parks and patiently waiting by al fresco tables for tossed morsels. They haven't quite learnt the evil thieving ways of their larger cousins yet. The Lesser Black-backs here are darker backed with longer wing projection when at rest. They also hold their bodies in a downward slant - almost as if their wings are too heavy for them. Got to be a Baltic Gull, surely?

When I got back to my hotel, hot and knackered, I received an email from BBC Wildlife Magazine saying that they thought my article was great! Yay!

TUB in Helsinki

There was a lot of response to the Swift entry (my last entry). Let's get out and count those Swifts and help to get them and the House Martins back on their feet (so to speak!).

I'm off for another night time vigil. Firstly, I'm going to stake out that Eagle Owl, then I'm going to cycle around the western outskirts of the city in the wee daylight hours (sunrise is at around 2.45am) to see what I can find. 

Here's to being crepuscular!

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