Gulf of Bothnia, West coast of Finland, Sep 25-28th

The last days of September I spent on the Finnish west coast around the town of Kokkola, some 500 kms NW of Helsinki. The weather was not that good for birding, wet and windy, but it did not matter much, since most of the migrants had gone anyway. Only Fieldfares were around in their thousands, milling about the stands of berry-filled Rowan trees on small offshore islands. The main aim of my trip was to take part in the ringing of Tengmalm’s Owls, which has been going on here since 1988. Luckily the wind dropped for the night and the rains stopped so that the netting could continue. This autumn has witnessed a strong influx of these small owls, and by now ringer Sten Vikström has netted and ringed some 600 migrating Tengmalm’s! As the season is still in full swing this fall will surely rate among the top-5 seasons of all times, according to Sten. Thanks to Sten for a memorable trapping experience, and thanks to my friend Kari Pihlajamäki for making it all possible. This Tengmalm’s Owl was photographed around midnight on Sep 26th, not far from the nets.

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