This weekend Miska introduced me to another of Finland’s national parks: Torronsuo National Park. Unfortunately I didn’t have our camera with me, so there are no photos for this blog post (but check out Google Images for loads of great photos!).
Torronsuo National Park is located about 110 km north of Helsinki and was created in 1990 to conserve a large raised mire. This habitat type is much more common further north, and this isolated southern bog is therefore a special place to find lots of northern species close to Helsinki.
Late autumn is not a particularly good time for birding in the reserve (or probably across much of Finland), but we still saw some nice birds, including a flock of long-tailed tits next to the information notice board (stunning little birds). The birding highlight for me, though, was my first sighting of a crested tit (followed by my second, third, fourth, etc. sighting of the species…). These little guys (which were much smaller than I expected) were flitting about with a mixed flock of tits and goldcrests. Spring and summer birding should be good in the reserve, with lots of cranes apparently breeding in the marshland.
The park’s emblem is the cranberry (Oxycoccus quadripetalus) – and it definitely is a good choice as there was an abundance of large cranberries in the drier parts of the mire. They made a good snack before braai’ing some makkara at one of the reserve’s picnic spots (this seems to be developing into a habit – see earlier posts here and here!) – a great lunch in a beautiful place! It doesn’t seem to be an easy reserve to access with public transport (you can find details here), but would be worth the effort.