The Big Year 2015

Whether it’s about knowing local history, cloud formations, notes on geology or botany, the more you’re able to make observations of  the nature, the richer the hiking experience. I had regret for long of recognizing mere handful of different bird species.


A year ago I saw the movie The Big Year, which tells a warm and funny story of three bird enthusiasts and their year-long bird-spotting competition. Actually the movie is more than just that, but anyway, my inner competitor woke up; why not to try the same? What would be a better way to try to learn different bird species?

In the end, my bird year became more than successful. On top of seeing more than hundred different species here in Finland, I learned to observe the nature in a completely new way. A whole new world opened up – the world of birds. Suddenly, they meant something to me. While walking, every sound or movement at treetops could have been an exciting, new sighting. I had to start looking up to the sky as well. Most of all bird-spotting increased significantly the amount of time I spent outdoors.


For my last hike in Wales, I took a small binoculars with me, which was an excellent decision. Walking along the coast, it was interesting to observe the rich bird life of the coastal Wales. I can easily say that knowing birds, even passably, has added a new, interesting dimension to my hiking hobby.

Here’s my list for the past year in chronological order, in case some of you share the same interest. To spot much more would require significantly more effort and having a telescope, in other words, it would get too serious for me then. I wanted to avoid the loop of buying better and better gear for this, so my only investment was Brunton Echo Porro 7×50 binoculars for 79eur. Unfortunately, most of the photos are taken with my pocket camera and as such, are not that good bird photos.

1. CROW (varis) 2. MAGPIE (harakka) 3. GREAT TIT (talitiainen) 4. JACKDAW (naakka) 5. BLUE TIT (sinitiainen) 6. BULLFINCH (punatulkku) 7. JAY (närhi) 8. GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER (käpytikka) 9. BLACKBIRD (mustarastas) 10. RAVEN (korppi)


A cute Treecreeper, creeping.

11. WHOOPER SWAN (laulujoutsen) 12. GOLDENEYE (telkkä) 13. CANADA GOOSE (kanadanhanhi) 14. SKYLARK (kiuru) 15. TREE SPARROW (pikkuvarpunen) 16. NORTHERN LAPWING (töyhtöhyyppä) 17. MUTE SWAN (kyhmyjoutsen) 18. MALLARD (sinisorsa) 19. SMEW (uivelo) 20. YELLOWHAMMER (keltasirkku)


21. GREENFINCH (viherpeippo) 22. GOOSANDER (isokoskelo) 23. BRAMBLING (järripeippo) 24. EURASIAN COOT (nokikana) 25. TUFTED DUCK (tukkasotka) 26. COMMON POCHARD (punasotka) 27. SPARROW (varpunen) 28. WOODPIGEON (sepelkyyhky) 29. BLACK-HEADED GULL (naurulokki) 30. GOLDFINCH (tikli)


Migrating cranes over Espoo, early April.

31. COMMON EIDER (haahka) 32. LONG-TAILED DUCK (alli) 33. OYSTERCATCHER (meriharakka) 34. COMMON GULL (kalalokki) 35. HERRING GULL (harmaalokki) 36. CRANE (kurki) 37. GADWALL (harmaasorsa) 38. CORMORANT (merimetso) 39. SPARROWHAWK (varpushaukka) 40. FIELDFARE (räkättirastas)


A couple of Gadwalls at a nearby bird pool.

41. WHITE WAGTAIL (västäräkki) 42. GREAT CRESTED GREBE (silkkiuikku) 43. WIGEON (haapana) 44. TEAL (tavi) 45. REDHSANK (punajalkaviklo) 46. FINCH (peippo) 47. RED ROBIN (punarinta) 48. RINGED PLOVER (tylli) 49. PHEASANT (fasaani) 50. WHITE-TAILED SEA EAGLE (merikotka)


First time seeing majestic White-Tailed Sea Eagles.

51. GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL (merilokki) 52. CASPIAN TERN (räyskä) 53. GARGANEY (heinätavi) 54. NORTHERN SHOVELER (lapasorsa) 55. NORTHERN GOSHAWK (kanahaukka) 56. STARLING (kottarainen) 57. WHEATEAR (kivitasku) 58. COMMON REDSTART (leppälintu) 59. PIED FLYCATCHER (kirjosieppo) 60. COMMON MOORHEN (liejukana)


Red-Necked-Grebe on Lake Saimaa.

61. SLAVONIAN GREBE (mustakurkku-uikku) 62. BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER (jänkäsirriäinen) 63. TEMMINCK’S STINT (lapinsirri) 64. REED BUNTING (pajusirkku) 65. BARNACLE GOOSE (valkoposkihanhi) 66. COMMON TERN (kalatiira) 67. BARN SWALLOW (haarapääsky) 68. COMMON SWIFT (tervapääsky) 69. WESTERN MARSH HARRIER (ruskosuohaukka) 70. EURASIAN HOBBY (nuolihaukka)


An Osprey, like my loyal backpack.

71. SEDGE WARBLER (ruokokerttunen) 72. GREYLAG GOOSE (merihanhi) 73. GREY HERON (harmaahaikara) 74. COMMON SNIPE (taivaanvuohi) 75. RUFF (suokukko) 76. REDWING (punakylkirastas) 77. OSPREY (kalasääski) 78. LOON (kuikka) 79. WOOD WARBLER (sirittäjä) 80. EURASIAN NUTHATCH (pähkinänakkeli)


Rare Eurasian Nuthatch climbing up and down along the tree trunk.

81. FERAL PIGEON (kesykyyhky) 82. SONG THRUSH (laulurastas) 83. COMMON SANDPIPER (rantasipi) 84. RED-NECKED-GREBE (härkälintu) 85. LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL (selkälokki) 86. SPOTTED FLYCATCHER (harmaasieppo) 87. EURASIAN SISKIN (vihervarpunen) 88. WILLOW TIT (hömötiainen) 89. COAL TIT (kuusitiainen) 90. TREECREEPER (puukiipijä)


A group of Long-Tailed Tits spotted on a walk in Espoo central park

91. LONG-TAILED TIT (pyrstötiainen) 92. WILLOW WARBLER (pajulintu) 93. BLACK WOODPECKER (palokärki) 94. GOLDCREST (hippiäinen) 95. COMMON BUZZARD (hiirihaukka) 96. HEN HARRIER (sinisuohaukka) 97. DUNLIN (suosirri) 98. ROUGH-LEGGED BUZZARD (piekana) 99. BRENT GOOSE (sepelhanhi) 100. DUNNOCK (rautiainen)


A Black Woodpecker seen through my living room window.

101. GREY-HEADED WOODPECKER (harmaapäätikka) 102. WAXWING (tilhi) 103. LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER (pikkutikka) 104. BEARDED TIT (viiksitimali) 105. WHITE-THROATED DIPPER (koskikara)


White-Throated Dipper enjoying the melt stream just before Xmas.


One thought on “The Big Year 2015

  1. Hi Antti,
    Thanks for such an informative and inspiring blog, been following it for a while now. We are both birdwatchers and taking the time to appreciate the nature around us is a key part of our hiking experience. We did the GR11 along the Spanish Pyrenees last year, and are doing the GR1 and GR5 in 2016. Your GR5 posts have been great for our research. We blog about our hikes too, check it out if you are interested.

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