Day 1 (19th May): Paul, Shirley and I arrived at Helsinki airport and met rest of group and our local guide, Tuomas Seimola. We drove to Lahti area where we spent two nights at the Manor Hotel in Messilä and on the first evening we had a lovely meal opposite the old Hollolan church followed by a walk to the edge a lake.
Day 2 (20 May): Birding around the Hauho-Lahti area started with a Wryneck in the garden of the hotel, and that was before we set off for the day. Tuomas had arranged for us to meet with various local bird ringers and to join them on their regular survey. The first of them was Perti, a very experienced ringer who has studied Ural Owls in particular for some fifty years. The eggs in his nest box had not yet hatched but it wasn’t going to be long before they did. The female owl did not seem to mind being checked out by Perti.
The second local ringer had a nest box for a tiny European Pygmy Owl. We were very lucky as we found the male bird nearby and enjoyed super views of this pint sized owl. We then continued on to a lake where we saw a White Backed Woodpecker poking its head out of its nest hole. After lunch we had a walk around Tuomisto near Lahti where we found some cute fox cubs.