Surprisingly, Karen fancied the trip so it was a combined twitch and winter wonderland spectacle (with some decent food and New Year's fireworks thrown in).
This was my fifth visit to Finland, and like my previous midwinter trip (when I twitched an Azure Tit), I took advantage of the Ryanair flights to Tampere and then drove the 500km north to Oulu. We landed and it coincided with a fresh load of snow. The road conditions weren't treacherous but it was a tough drive, punctuated by a typically decent ABC meal - they put our service stations to shame. Arriving at our hotel late on Tuesday evening, we crashed out ready for the short drive to the ferry to Hailuoto in the morning (the island where the accentor was).
New Year's Eve dawned late as you'd expect that far north. In fact, the ferry sailed to the island of Hailuoto at 8.30am in the pitch black - clunking across a spectacular sea of ice. Taking half an hour, and then a further 20 minutes of driving across the island, we arrived on site in the small village of Marjaniemi at 9.20am and it was just about getting light! We were fortunate too in that the temperatures compared the previous days had risen 20 or so degrees - to a rather balmy minus one!
|Black-throated Accentor Marjaniemi, Hailuoto, Finland 31st December 2014|
|Black-throated Accentor site at Marjaniemi - let the birds feed!|
|Spectacular scenery on the ferry ride back from Hailuoto - and it was free!|