Green Warbler- 1st for Finland

20th May 2012 

Mika is celebrating as his Green Warbler has just been accepted by the Finnish Records Committee. It’s not news but certainly a winter heart warmer. Green Warbler, ‘nitidus’ of Transcaspia, Caucasus, NW Iran, NE Turkey etc remains extremely rare in NW Europe with just one British records (Isles of Scilly – Sept/Oct 1983) and a handful from other countries. So here’s a reminder of what one might look like… on my patch this spring 🙂

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Green Warbler, Phylloscopus nitidus 20 May 2012 Lågskär, Kaukaasianuunilintu.  First record for Finland. Mika Bruun.

Mika Bruun

Lågskär is located at the southern end of the Åland archipelago, approximately 45 km south of Mariehamn. This traditional birding station has been active since the 1950’s, although nowadays its use has been decreasing because of the remote location and poor living conditions (no electricity). It has been the location for several rare bird observations for Finland. In total 13 new species for Finland been found here. The 1st was a Pine Bunting 1968, then Pechora Pipit 1972, Blyth´s Pipit and Swainson´s Thrush 1974, Masked Shrike 1982, last was a Crag Martin in 1988. I hoped to find a new species for the country myself as I disembarked for the island on the 17 of May with three of my friends. For one reason or another I bought a pricey “toasting” champagne to celebrate the new species I would find on the trip, as I jokingly suggested before arriving.

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Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 12.29.35The Island of Lågskär, Finland in May 2012

On the third day of the trip, as the southeastern wind still blew warm, the morning began ominously: a Greenish Warbler song early in the morning, or at least so we supposed. I didn’t hear the bird and began looking for it on the other side of the island, because we felt most of the birds were heading that way.  I found some shelter and almost immediately heard a Greenish Warbler-like sound, at the same time slightly wondering the vagueness of it. Right away I found a bird with wing-bar and began taking photos. I only saw the bird trough the lens, and was pretty certain it was a Greenish Warbler as that was the bird I was looking for. However my first observation was of strongly yellow face, hmm. But the bird being extremely busy I had to put all of my effort for searching the bird with the view finder. The strong clear white wing-bar (I even saw two wing-bars briefly) also raised my suspicions at one point, but nevertheless I still focused on photographing. After a few encounters the bird vanished into the canopy and I couldn’t find it anymore. I checked through the photos but wasn’t satisfied with their quality, still supposing I was shooting a Greenish Warbler.

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I forgot the bird almost immediately as I found something new to photograph. After some time I met the others. I told them about the yellow Greenish Warbler and it caused some wonder, but we didn’t look through the photos. That didn’t happen until the evening as we gathered together. Tapio Aalto raised the question concerning the Greenish Warbler and we instantly realized what we were looking at, a Green Warbler! A quick check from the books confirmed our assumptions. It became even clearer to me when I listened the call and the singing, and couldn’t understand how I didn’t grasp what it was at the time. I had, after all, seen hundreds of Greenish Warblers and dozens of Green Warblers. We headed back to the spot at once where the bird had later shown itself to Jari Helstola. He couldn’t identify the bird at that time either, and supposed it was a Greenish Warbler.

Green Warbler

Unfortunately we couldn’t find the bird no longer and neither the next morning despite hard efforts. During the night and early morning I was sending pictures to my friends. We quickly got some good help with the identifying and the bird was confirmed to be a Green Warbler. Fortunately, during my many trips through the jungle, I have formed the habit of first shooting the bird and only after that looking at it if time remains. In this case it was rewarded by a new species to the country.

Mika Bruun

bruun@tarsiger.com

P.S. a write up also appears in Birding World 25.6 with other photos.

Comparing spring Greenish and Green Warbler

all photos Mika Bruun

greenish_warbler_2birdingfrontiers_MBR_6996Green WarblerUpper two photos. Greenish Warbler above, Green warbler below. Both taken in May 2012 on Lågskär

and a bit closer….

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green_warbler_birdingfrontiers_MBR_6153Upper two photos. Greenish Warbler above, Green Warbler below. Both taken in May 2012 on Lågskär.

Same May, different colourful species

While celebrating and reminiscing, that was the same May 2012 in which, just 9 days after Mika’s Green Warbler, this Bobby dazzler popped up in front of a couple of us at Spurn.

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Bring on the Spring 2015!

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