After work yesterday I popped across to Viikki again. The afternoon had been quite windy, but conditions were pretty close to perfect when I headed out towards Lammassaari (= “lamb island”), walking the 700 m boardwalk connecting the little island to the Pornaistenniemi section of the Viikki nature reserve (map of the main paths in the area). From Lammassaari I crossed a shorter (and newly renovated) set of duckboards to Kuusiluoto (= “spruce rocky-island”?).
Both islands feel miles away from Helsinki – Kuusiluoto is much quieter in comparison with Lammassaari, with lots of good views out to the bay and a lovely stone outcrop in the middle of the island (see here). There are lots of little summer houses on the larger Lammassaari – I only realized how many when I walked around the southern end of the island on the luontopolku (= “nature path”) for the first time. On the island’s eastern shore there is a bird-watching tower (“lintutorni”) which seems very popular – there have always been groups of birders there when I’ve visited. The tower is a fair distance from the shore, so if you’ve got a spotting telescope you should bring it along as it will help a lot!
I had a great walk around the islands, spotting my first kalakotka (literally “fish eagle” = Osprey) in Finland. I also saw my first Pintails and European Shovelers (both very handsome species), and had good views of tiny Teals, Wigeon (which have a really strange whistling call), Spotted Redshank (one wader that’s easy to identify from a distance) and Slavonian Grebe from the bird tower. I’m glad that my bird song identification has improved here – it really helped distinguish the birds in the marshy areas (lots of Reed Bunting and European Sedge Warblers, with a few Rosefinches and a pair of Whitethroats). It was interesting to note how quiet the Chaffinches have become over the last month, with the Sedge Warblers definitely now being the most “noisy” (in a good way…) birds at the moment.