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Top birding team spots 115 species at southern tip

A record 334 teams took part in Saturday's light-hearted birdwatching contest.

Lintubongareita Tornien taisto -kisan aikana lintutornissa Helsingin Vanhankaupunginlahdella.
Lintubongareita Tornien taisto -kisan aikana lintutornissa Helsingin Vanhankaupunginlahdella. Image: Yle

Birdwatchers competed on Saturday in the 20th anniversary “battle of the bird towers”. During the yearly contest, teams at observation towers around the country vie to identify as many species as possible. The event is arranged by the main ornithology group, BirdLife Finland.

This year’s winning team of twitchers was based at Uddskatan at the tip of the Hanko peninsula – the southernmost point of mainland Finland. The team of two men and one woman made visual or auditory observations of 115 species. These included European white storks and European serins.

Latest in half a century

In second place was a team at the Kellovuori bird watching tower in Virolahti, Finland’s southeastern-most municipality. There a six-man team identified 109 species include mute and trumpeter swans. A team at Kellovuori won last year’s contest with 103 species.

The third-place team was based at the Purolahti in Helsinki’s Viikki area. A three-man group there observed 104 species including spotted crakes and swifts – traditionally seen as a harbinger of summer. But with night-time temperatures still dipping to or below zero throughout mainland Finland, there is still a ways to go before summer.

Ornithologists say that this year’s spring migration is the latest in 50 years.

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