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Half day at Vallisaari and Kuninkaansaari

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Hezu View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Hezu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Half day at Vallisaari and Kuninkaansaari
    Posted: 08 June 2021 at 22:17
Ornithological society of Helsinki region Tringa organized today morning a trip to Kuninkaansaari (and adjacent Vallisaari), so I decided to participate since there was obviously chance to see some new birds and these are interesting former military islands.

1. Illustrated map of the islands


If you wonder the grim reapers and explosion images on the map, the one in Vallisaari is denoting the whereabout of large explosion that took place July 9th 1937 when munitions production facility blew up, took 11 lives and created the area now known as Valley of Death. The explosion in Kuninkaansaari is bit older event: during Sveaborg rebellion the rebellious soldiers of Sveaborg garrison were occupying Kuninkaansaari fortifications and then August 1st 1906 the Russian forces suppressing the rebellion scored a direct artillery hit to a gun power magazine in Kuninkaansaari, which obviously then blew up and killed number of rebels.

But enough history, after arrival to Vallisaari we didn't need to go too far before we made the first interesting bird observation:

2. Intersexual common eider (Somateria mollissima)


3. Sporting plumage with features from both male and female plumage


We then proceeded to Kuninkaansaari and started to look for more birds. We did find some...

4. Icterine warbler (Hippolais icterina)


5. Lesser whitethroat (Curruca curruca)


6. Spotted flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)


Sadly many of the observations were just voices or way too far to properly photograph while making observations from the cliffs on southern shore, eg.

7. I think I saw black guillemot(s) (Cepphus grylle) on the rocks near the pilot harbour on Harmaja lighthouse island using my spotting scope


But even without photogenic birds, you can see some interesting scenery there...

8. Somewhat derelict former military building


9. Fortification


10. Number 8 with open doors


11. Flowers growing on top of a wall


12. Bunker


This one has a plaque telling that this was the place where one of the places hosting "Raija" air surveillance radar that Finnish Air Force acquired from Germany in 1943.

13. More fortications


And if you look carefully, there is an empty blackbird nest on that window.

14. Green vegetation hiding the old (Crimean war era) fortifications


15. Mysterious door on a rock cut


16. Polygonatum odoratum


17. Woods


After a tour in Kuninkaansaari, we continued for a while in Vallisaari...

18. More old buildings


19. Wet forest


20. Old building in middle of forest


21. Obligatory sea view from the top of Alexander Battery


Then it was starting to be time to head home.

22. While waiting for our boat ride, I observed in the harbour when another boat was loaded with heavy cargo...


23. Two heavy lorries and two vans on board


I believe these vehicles were brought in Vallisaari because the island will be hosting Helsinki Biennial that is going to start next Saturday (June 12th) and some of the artworks were still under construction today (oops, yesterday I mean).


Edited by Hezu - 09 June 2021 at 22:00
 



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4paul View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 4paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 June 2021 at 04:51
Glad the islands are back to nature now! The map is funny with Death in the middle of both, thanks for explaining! 15 is also funny, like a cartoon.
There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus photograph and a snapshot of clouds and fog banks. - Schrödinger
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MichelvA View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote MichelvA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 June 2021 at 06:28
Too bad these beautiful islands had to be used to keep bad people away. Luckily you caught some beautiful birds. Maybe the small bird in #5 is not fully in focus, not sure. I love #16 (the second one as there are two..), green and silence. TFS Heikki .
Respect. Observe. Capture. Enjoy.
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Hezu View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Hezu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 June 2021 at 22:09
Originally posted by MichelvA MichelvA wrote:

Too bad these beautiful islands had to be used to keep bad people away. Luckily you caught some beautiful birds. Maybe the small bird in #5 is not fully in focus, not sure.
Could be, but it happens to the best photo of that particular bird, in most others attempts AF struggled even more to pick the bird rather than the tree branches or there is branch in front of the bird.
Originally posted by MichelvA MichelvA wrote:

I love #16 (the second one as there are two..), green and silence. TFS Heikki .
Let say then you mean #17 rather than #16 since I just renumbered the pictures after the duplicate number.
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Hezu View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Hezu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 June 2021 at 22:36
Originally posted by 4paul 4paul wrote:

Glad the islands are back to nature now!
Actually quite large part of these islands have been spared from any construction. And then especially during the last years under military control, there has been quite limited human activity. Certainly the earlier restricted access has allowed the nature to thrive.
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MichelvA View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote MichelvA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 June 2021 at 06:18
Originally posted by Hezu Hezu wrote:

Let say then you mean #17 rather than #16 since I just renumbered the pictures after the duplicate number.
Well done , yeah 17 it is.
Respect. Observe. Capture. Enjoy.
 



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