I'd spoken to Jan about the best place to see Slavonian Grebe close near Helsinki and he recommended Suomenoja which was just a few km west of the city so that was my first port of call. The sky by now had clouded over and was almost white making it difficult for photography but the Slavonian Grebes were there, I saw at least 3, pairs and put on a fine show.
|Slavonian Grebe - what superb birds these are|
|Suomenoja - I should mention that it's next to a Power Station|
From Suomenoja I drove north to Parikkala a drive of a couple of hundred kilometres. The most obvious thing on the drive was the absence of White Stork, I have left those behind in Estonia.
It was overcast and raining when I arrived on the outskirts of Parikkala. I parked up in a parking area with two large timber lorries and to the sound of Redwing singing, which were the first I had heard, I went to sleep.
The following morning it was raining hard and cold, about 4C, as I drove in to Parikkla at about 05:00. I found a pair of nesting Red-necked Grebes close in by the marina which fortunately I could watch from the car and took a few photos more out of something to do than of hopes for good results.
|Red-necked Grebe - on the nest, in the rain|
It is a beautiful area and reserve with a one way walk from the car park through some wooded areas which may have White-backed Woodpecker occasionally but I didn't see or hear any woodpeckers, across a boardwalk, through another small wood to a hide. Both Little and Black-headed Gulls were feeding over the water, chasing flies. More Red-necked Grebes and a very obliging Common Snipe which sat on the boardwalk handrail whilst I took photos.
|Not sure what happens if you do go beyond the sign|
I slept overnight in the reserve car park and at some time in the early morning another couple of vehicles arrived, one contained a couple of gentlemen from France who were sound recording. There was a lot to record with the nightingales and Bittern booming in the marsh and no sounds of cars or planes flying overhead.
From Parikkale I drove north to Tohmajarvi and stopped just on the outskirts of town. A singing Corncrake immediately caught my attention. This was only about the 7th or 8th I had heard, another bird delayed by the cold weather. This one was in short vegetation and with perserverence I finally managed to get some photos.
|Corncrake - delivering its distinctive rasping call|
|Blyth's Reed Warbler - bird I had really wanted to see, so pleased with these|
From here I was moving further north, still by the Russian border and looking for Brown Bear and the elusive Wolverine.