The national birdwatch 2019 in Finland (& pics today)

On Saturday, yesterday, I took part in the national birdwatch again, the national birdwatch 2019, Pihabongaus 2019, organized by BirdLife Suomi here in Finland. It was my fourth time now and I was standing and walking in our garden again. As usual, I had a good time and I was freezing at the end of the event even though I had warm clothes on. 🙂 But it was only -9 degrees Celsius, they said that it felt like -14 degrees, during my birdwatch hour.

So, I saw… a lot of snow and it was snowing a bit, too. Well, as always, I heard many little birds singing, singing in the trees, but I didn’t see that many birds. I recognized the voices of great tits and blue tits and crows. And I saw a magpie, a great spotted woodpecker, a few great tits and I heard and saw a flock of tree sparrows as well. The great spotted woodpecker was pecking at a pine tree and it was nice to watch it with binoculars. One great tit came to perform a solo in front of me, that was funny.

So that was what happened. 🙂

And just a few pictures that I took in our garden today:

January

We have around 30 centimetres of snow here where I’m living. I suspect that we have more than 30 centimetres… It’s been snowing like every day now – sometimes more, sometimes just a little bit. And they say that it will still be snowing.

January

The sky is blue!

January

…and at night the snow is still blue, too. 😉 This was bad after 1.30 am today.

  • Leena

Summer in full swing already

It’s been summer here in Finland all the time now… The temperatures have been between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius during the day, and some days it’s been even warmer than that, too… And when we’ve had like “a bit cooler weather”, the temperatures have been between 18 and 20 degrees. So, it’s been quite incredible to experience this here now… But one morning was cold this week – it was 4 degrees Celsius, whoa! But it’s been all sunshine, sunshine, and very dry everywhere…

And about myself… and my blog now. I’ve been working outside the home, so to speak, now, it has something to do with gardening (would you believe it? 😉 ) aaand not working at home with my computer means that I don’t sit by my computer that often now, because I wake up very early in the morning, and I drive to work very early in the morning – I’m some sort of an early owl altogether now, and I don’t have that much time or energy for this dear blog of mine. Well, I don’t mean that I was super blogger before, but I mean, for example, that some of the content of my blog will now be only on my Instagram (owlnatureleena), like most of the flower pictures, and so on. Well, let’s see how everything happens, just thought I’d mention that even if it looks like I’m doing nothing here in my blog, I’m actually doing many things out here and there and preparing myself for many things all the time. 😀 And yes, I still have some planting to do here at home, seeds, seedlings… Oh dear, oh dear…

I took all the pictures in this blog post in our garden today.

Oookay, to begin with, our cherry tree didn’t survive the winter, it didn’t grow any leaves – it just stood there, all bare and dry…

cherry tree

So, this is our new cherry tree now. The dead cherry tree was by the woods, this is by the terrace of our house.

cherry bush

We actually thought that our cherry bush wouldn’t survive the winter, but here it still is. And it is flowering!

cherry bush flowering

It still has many flower buds, too.

pear tree

The pear tree is flowering as well. The flowers are… down there, all on the same spot… There’s been like five or six of them.

About some animals… Cuckoo bird has been calling here every day now – the delightful voice of the early summer! And my boyfriend has seen bats in our garden again. I haven’t seen them – I’ve already been sleeping…

plum tree

The plum tree already flowered, it had perhaps around 100 flowers. And the apple tree already flowered, too.

lilac

Lilacs, common lilacs are blooming now. Oh, the lovely scent…

“Oh, summer, the light, the dazzle, oh, that shi…itake…!”:

A night owl?

-A bit of a night owl…? 🙂

-Leena

Gone cross-country skiing [in Kuusamo earlier this week]

It’s been like summer here in Finland this week. Especially here in the southern part of the country it’s been warm for a bit over a week now. The temperatures have been between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius during the day. The sun’s been shining, grass is already green, the trees are growing leaves – everything is growing, everything is green… and there’s more flowers and butterflies. The scent of summer is in the air and we can already eat some herbs from the garden as well.

But I started off this week by going backwards in time, so to speak. – I travelled to Kuusamo in Koillismaa region in northern Finland, just below Lapland. This time it took 10 hours and 30 minutes to travel there by car through the western and middle parts of Finland, and during all that time I saw how the spring advanced… backwards and in the wrong direction. But that was just nice for a bit adventurous soul. 😀

We (me and my dad) arrived in Kuusamo late in the evening on Sunday a week ago, spent Monday and Tuesday there, and travelled back home again on Wednesday. After that it’s already been warmer there in Kuusamo, too, around 20 degrees Celsius, but here, in this blog post now, is one of the last opportunities to talk about cross-country skiing in Kuusamo this spring…

And in Kuusamo the roads and many other places already were free of snow and ice, spring was already there in that way – the snow had already almost mostly melted, almost… Well, there still were heaps of snow here and there, still melting and in the forests there still was snow, here and there. And the lakes were not free of ice.

cross-country skiing

So, into the woods I went. My very own cross-country skiing equipment waited for me at the cabin.

cross-country skiing

Kuusamo

In the woods, by the lake.

Kuusamo

I saw two swans flying and honking over the lake for a couple of times. I also saw an otter, an Eurasian otter that is, swimming in the ice-free water by the woods. I’ve seen that type of an animal swimming there before, too, a few years ago. 🙂

Kuusamo

And owls… I think I heard an owl calling! When I first heard the voice I immediately thought something along the lines of “this really might be an owl, there’s possibly something so specific in the voice… is it…?” I heard the voice every evening there, over and over again. Well, here, at home where my computer waited for me, I did some research and it truly might have been the voice of a northern hawk owl. I didn’t see the bird in the woods, but I might also have seen an owl flying when I was travelling in the car from the cabin towards the town centre. I saw the bird pretty well, and there was just something so specific… Or perhaps I’ve finally gone nuts. 😀 Well, nice experiences they were, even though I can’t be 100% sure… But learning new things all the time!

Kuusamo

The tracks of a reindeer on the left, my tracks on the right. We went for a walk in the woods together… Well, no, not together, I didn’t see reindeer by the cabin. But we saw many reindeer by the road when we were travelling to Kuusamo. I called them ‘Santa’s reindeer’, because they had winter coat. And before the reindeer I saw a moose standing in a forest.

And when we were travelling back home, about 11 hours through the middle and western parts of Finland, the spring advanced again in the right way, so to speak. And here at home it was like summer already! – At first all the green that had emerged while I was away really felt strange. Stranger than falling into the snow in the north. Nice and delightful, simple adventures everywhere. 🙂

-Leena

Springy – Ice, the first butterflies, coltsfoot flowers & crocus flowers…

Warmer, warmer… The spring is near, the spring is like here! – The nights have still been a bit colder, the temperatures have been around 0 degrees Celsius in the nighttime, but in the daytime it’s beginning to feel a lot like spring! – The temperatures have been around 10 degrees Celsius and now even between 10 and 16 degrees Celsius during the day.

First two pictures that I took by the lake Pyhäjärvi here in Satakunta region on Friday.

lake Pyhäjärvi

Okay, most of Finland still has snow, the northern part of the country like tons of it – well, that’s not even a bad thing, they have lovely spring days there, too, but just for comparison – here in the southernmost part of Finland the snow has mostly melted. But for example our lake Pyhäjärvi still has a lot of snow and ice and on it, an ice cover, but there already are some ice-free spots somewhere as well.

lake Pyhäjärvi

We saw the first butterfly for this year for us on Friday as well. Not here at home, but in our neighbouring municipality Säkylä. It was a peacock butterfly.

Tiny insects have already been dancing in the evening sun everywhere here, too.

lake Pyhäjärvi

Yesterday we found a new walking track for us, and it’s not even far from our home. 😮 🙂 We took the shortest route now first, just to see the place, the forest. The forest was mostly spruce trees, but there were also some pine trees and other trees as well.

April

Parts of the track were still covered with snow and ice…

April

April

…so it was a bit slippery with these old ‘bad ice skates’ of mine. But it was warm there, I had too many hoodies on me…

April

Ants, too, were already busy in the forest.

And we saw another peacock butterfly there. A charming, silent forest it was. Glad to have found it! It’s been there all this time, but we’ve noticed it only now. 🙂

April

And we saw the first coltsfoot flowers for this year for us, too. There were several coltsfoot flowers by the car park there.

And a few pictures that I took in our garden today:

April

The smell of the earth that is free of the snow now is lovely.

April

Swans have been flying and honking here, and we hear loud voices of water fowls every evening again, from the lake I think.

We planted many crocus bulbs in our garden last autumn. And I wasn’t prepared for flowers yesterday… 😀 But yes, we already found two yellow crocus flowers!

crocus

One in the front yard and the other in the backyard.

crocus

-Leena

Always just around the corner

Still on its way, but truly approaching now – spring! The snow and ice are melting now, finally! Lately we’ve had everything, it all, something like; first we had like one warmer day, then cold weather again, and after that not that cold weather, and then a bit warmer weather, and after that the weather was even a bit colder… than then when… it was cold, and after that, it was a bit warmer again, and so on. So, we’re just waiting for it… waiting for spring, it’s drawing near; bouncing, disappearing again, springing… The usual stuff.

I took the pictures in this blog post in our garden today.

April

Good to see some moss! 🙂

April

We’ve had many sunny days and it’s been wonderful to sit on the garden bench in the sunshine, so warm. But some days it’s been snowing and sleeting, too. And finally this week; it’s been really raining, even heavily for a while, a couple of times, so the snow’s been melting faster now, but it’s not yet all gone. Here where I’m living, we’ve had snow on the ground for 18 weeks now. I suppose I can stop counting now… Maybe. Yes, what a winter it’s been! And now it’s April! – We haven’t quite felt it yet, but it is here.

April

They say that the weather was colder than usual and we had more snow than usual in March, and that spring is about two weeks late here in Finland this year, but they also say that things are getting faster, right about now…

April

Good to see the ground! And dry old grass…

Birds have been singing ever so beautifully. And on March 28th I finally heard the enchanting sound of spring for the first time this year – I heard the blackbird sing! 🙂

April

Right now, at 13.30 pm, it’s 10 degrees Celsius outside.

-Leena

Waxwings in the garden, pictures from the lake…

The weather’s been warmer for some days now, around 0 degrees Celsius, and it’s been snowing and sleeting and snowing again… Buuut they say that it will get colder, again…

We can’t remember when the last time that we had a garden campfire was, but on Thursday we finally had one (just an Instagram picture [owlnatureleena] to that 🙂 ), and on Sunday we had a garden campfire again. The first time that we saw a flock of waxwings in our garden was on Thursday when we had the campfire, and I saw the waxwings again on Friday.

The pictures in this blog post… this happened on the weekend:

March

A fine birch tree… – I took just a few pictures by the lake Pyhäjärvi, here in our home village.

March

Behind birch trees.

March

And hiding behind alder trees…

March

In the car, on the frozen lake. The infinity – the lake Pyhäjärvi is about 30 kilometres long and this is the north end of the lake.

So what happened then – an ice road…? Yes, we didn’t know this, but when I was taking the pictures by the lake there I noticed that there really is an ice road, an ice track, a very curvy track for cars, too. And because we, me and my boyfriend, are a couple of crazy persons who are about to get a new car, we decided to take our 22-year-old VW Golf for a little ride later that day.

March

I took these pics when my boyfriend was driving, but before this… I was driving, and because it was a very curvy track and it was slippery and I was driving too fast and… okay, I drove our Golf straight into a snowbank there on the lake and we got stuck in the snow so badly that we needed help to get us out of the snow. – First I actually tried to dig our car out of the snow, with my hands, but it was an impossible piece of work, and fortunately we got some help – our car had to be pulled out of the snow. Oh, an adventure… 🙂

-Leena

The national birdwatch 2018 in Finland & other things…

The temperatures have temporarily gone up. First we had a pretty heavy snowfall on Wednesday, we had about 10 centimetres of fresh snow on the ground in the evening that day. But after that it’s been even raining, raining like crazy for a while, but it still didn’t melt all the snow, so, here where I’m living, we’ve had snow on the ground for seven weeks now. And they say that the temperatures are going down again and that it will snow again. Today it’s already been sleeting and snowing, and heavily and very big snowflakes, too.

morning coffee

My morning coffee today. I love maps… I take every opportunity to have a map to look at, any map, everywhere… 🙂

And yes, today I took again part in the national birdwatch, the national birdwatch 2018, Pihabongaus 2018, organized by BirdLife Suomi here in Finland. The event is every year on the last weekend of January, it’s not a competition, just one hour of birdwatching, and anyone can participate. The idea is to get people interested in the nature around them and to collect information about the birds living here in wintertime. And even hearing the birds counts.

January

One of the birds’ hideouts… (I took these last two pictures in this blog post after my birdwatch hour.) So, during my hour I was standing and walking in heavy snowfall and in normal snowfall in our garden. And I heard a concert again! – The voices were many, but, again, I didn’t see that many singers. 🙂

I recognized the voices of crows, magpies, great tits and blue tits and I think I recognized the voice of a some type of sparrow and the voice of a bullfinch – I really was lucky enough to see a few bullfinches here on our bird feeder the other day! 🙂 And I heard a woodpecker knocking somewhere near (I’ve seen two great spotted woodpeckers hear earlier). There always are also some other tiny birds chirping and singing, but I still don’t recognize them…

And the birds I actually saw today: a couple of magpies, one great tit and a flock of small birds – I couldn’t see what birds they were.

So, I was enjoying myself and my hour ended just before my freezing point. 😀

My birdwatching trail…

-Leena