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Discussion Starter #1
I thought it would be nice to show you whom I get to live in this cold and dark Finnish forest with. I enjoy nature a lot and find all, wild and domestic, animals very fascinating. Ever since I got my first DSLR camera about 3 years ago I've been trying to photograph my closest neighbors as muchs as possible, no matter how big or small they are. I wish I'd learn to carry my camera with me all the time, usually all the interesting stuff happens around me when I don't have it with me.

Most of my photos are taken in my own backyard. I have nice growing selection of birds photos. Only 3,5 years ago I hardly recognized any birds and now I could spend hours standing still in a freezing temperatures just waiting to see something new. :)

Let's start with few summer shots.
When you see a Chaffinch in Finland you know summer is just around the corner!


Spotted Flycatchers moves into our tool shed in every summer. They usually appear around early june, build a nest, raise kids and one day whole family disappears without a warning. I don't know if it's the same couple nesting every year or not, but the nest is always at the same spot and it's always fun to watch their family. In the picture there's some delicious snacks on their way to the babies.


Mute Swan guarding her nest, for this one I even had to leave my yard. Sea is close but unfortunately not too close to my home, I wish it were in a walking distance but can't have it all..


White Wagtails are very brisk and curious birds, they like to build their nests in our eaves and rafters and sometimes they gets stuck in the attic and needs some guidance to get out. They always look so happy and energetic, must be the tail wagging.


Caspian Tern are super talented fishers, very fun to watch but it's very difficult to get a good action photo, especially fishing photos just didn't happen. All that I got from that day was bad and unfocused pics of water splashes and burned skin. Oh, and obviously this photo.


Eurasian siskin resting his leg. This was fun find from memory card!


Fieldfares are very common to see (and hear) here in summer time. Usually multiple couples builds their nests in our trees and as a group they drives away all kind of eggs stealing intruders like crows and ravens. And it's not the most silent event..


Green Finch must have something to do with the creating process of Angry Birds..


Great Tit is not in the mood. :p


European Robin is super curious but very very shy bird. They must have some obsession about knowing about everything what's going on. They follows us around and stalks us behind leaves and twigs.


Great Spotted Woodpeckers are pretty. They have few workshop trees here and lots of fir and pine trees to harvest cones from. I think the woodpeckers tongue is very high on my fascinating bird facts list. I wish I could some day get a photo of their unique tongues in action!


Common Wood Pigeons are also regular summer guests here. Especially when blueberries are ripe you can spot pigeon couple walking in straight line harvesting yummy berries. They also have a good aim.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
And then some winter birds shots.

Willow tit is one of my favourite birds, they are so bold and very chatty, funny looking little birds. Overly cute!




They are easily tamed but they won't land on just anyone's hand and not even on mine if there's strange people standing too close. It clearly has to be just me. I call them and they come. They call me and my hand goes into my pocket. They have it so much better than my dogs do!

It wasn't too easy to get this photo. I tried to keep other hand still with the nuts (and bird) while the other operated the camera. It takes maybe two seconds for a bird to choose the best bite from your hand, so timing, staying still, focusing, not scaring the bird with camera sounds or sudden moves can be bit challenging.


Blue tit, these super curious birds are very cute too. Not easily hand fed. It took almost whole feeding season to get the first one to dare.


I just love how colorful this photo is for a winter shot. You usually get grey photos and then you get even more grey photos, so seeing these colours made me very happy.


I never saw Redpolls here, not until the last winter. Suddenly there were big flock of them and they hanged around long time. Feeders were empty all the time and suddenly it got pretty expensive to feed the birds. There were few sick birds in the flock so I had to move the feeding area for a while. This bird in this picture is not sick, it was very cold day and that's why he was so fluffy.




Goldfinches are one of the most colourful and unique looking birds that I've ever seen here. They are quite shy fellas and it took a long time to gain their trust to get any photos of them. Usually they disappears from sight when they see people and naturally I don't want to scare the birds away so I waited and finally they dared to come closer to me. :)


Eurasian Pygmy Owl also visited my bird feeder couple years ago and helped us a lot with the growing rodent population. She usually came in every two weeks from december til march, usually she appeared on tuesday and left on thursday. I truly enjoyed watching her preying, and having an owl in sight was like winning a lottery for me as a beginner birdwhisp..photographer. I remember how I was making my morning coffee and through a window I saw there was a mouse having a party under the bird feeder. I was just about to mumble to hubby something like "where's the owl when..." And then, SWOOOSH! So tiny and so cute yet very serious killing machine!



Northern Hawk-Owls don't nest here in southern Finland, but in winter they might visit us if there's not enough moles for them in North. This one came to visit us last winter, and once again I won the lottery, seeing an owl is always so exciting!
 

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Thank you! :)

This red squirrel also visits daily my bird feeder, I've named him Tarmo. First time I went to take photos of him, he climbed up high in a tree, from there he stalked me for a while and soon climbed right back to the feeder ignoring my existence. I ended up in arms length away from him and got this awesome close shot of him with only a 50mm lens.


Another squirrel shot, never ever I got that close again as I did the first time around. It must've been the famous beginners luck. But I don't want too tame squirrels around me, not a good idea at all.


Yellow-necked wood mouse under the bird feeder, rather there than in the attic. Or behind a fireplace like we had few years ago. I was very confused how come the dog food kept disappearing so fast yet dogs weren't gaining weight at all. Then I found the little, very well fed, perpetrator in his premium quality kibble palace between fireplace and a firewall. Not very fun trying to get kibble out from the less than an inch wide space, there still is some in there..


Great green bushcricket, not too easy to spot in the grass. They look very eager and fun but as far as I know, the fun is over when they bite you.


Viviparous lizard is one of the two lizards that lives in Finland. We have both of them in our yard, another is limbless blindworm which are often mistaken for snakes. Viviparous is more common and I am happy to live in a place which is usually filled with these from early spring to late fall. This summer many of them were tailless, what a surprise since we got Motko in the spring..


This Common Toad I had to rescue from dogs' kennel. I thought someone must be dying or it is a snake or axe murderer or whatever, alarm barking was so frantic. Didn't expect to find this dude but there he was surrounded by my dogs and had absolutely nowhere to go. I gave him a ride out of the kennel, grabbed my camera and he was kind enough to pose for me for a while and then he just walked away. Usually these guys are on the move in night time, dogs must've found his day hide.
 

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Love love LOVE the mouse and wagtail shots. Amazing quality! :eek:
 

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Aw, thank you all! I dug up my messy archives for few more, not all of these are as good as the previous. Can't get lucky every time, unfortunately.

Common / Eurasian Blackbird sings so beautifully, this was taken in spring and this individual was having a blast in a ditch.


Eurasian Tree Sparrow


Yellowhammer, last winter there was an oat field nearby, which was not harvested in fall. The whole field was full of these yellow birds until the snowdrift grew too thick for them to enjoy the oat. Must've been several hundreds of Yellowhammers having a party in there.


I had no any recollection at all of having this picture! This is from the same day as is the similar Willow Tit photo. This bird is Coal Tit, my another favorite, and just as Willow tits these come when called and calls when hungry. They're so tiny that usually their hardly hearable tweeting is the first thing that tells me that they're around. Sometimes they call and if I'm not answering fast enough, they fly few inches away from my face, just to be noticed. So adorable birds! :D


I told you about sick Redpolls, here's one.. So sad.:(



Song Trush
This is actually shot through the window. As is the previous FieldFare photo too, by the way. :D


Common Rosefinch female. Looked like the queen of a world, sitting there on her branch looking fat and lazy and dissing me and my camera.


Great Tit


Eurasian Bullfinch is like the official bird of Christmas Cards in Finland. I don't know why exactly, maybe because they're red? Anyway, male in front, female in background. Beautiful birds.


Red Crossbill couple, the quality of this photo is exactly what you can expect to have, when you see Crossbills on treetop, I wish I'll get to see them from closer range in future. I was pretty shaken up back then, few days earlier, after super exhausting weekend I had to say goodbyes to my spitz mix. I remember thinking that I was going so crazy that I was seeing the cones move by themselves in treetop, and when it just kept happening I had to get my camera. Well, apparently there really was something. Never saw Crossbills before and never saw them after that day. They have cool beak, as Wikipedia tells: Crossbills have distinctive mandibles, crossed at the tips, which enable them to extract seeds from conifer cones and other fruits.


Oh, and here's the Spotted Flycatcher babies in tool shed, I think I have better photos in somewhere too but these I could find.. I really should learn to manage and keep my photos and files in order. It's like a nightmare situation at the moment with my hard drives..
 

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AMAZING PHOTOS! Wow, thank you so much for sharing!!

Sorry if you have already mentioned it...but mind I ask what equipment you're using? :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
^Thank you. :)

My gear is not a ground shaking pro stuff, simply just a bunch of entry-level things. Naturally I want to get a new camera and especially better lenses but always end up buying something else and there goes my savings again. Anyway on a nice day my setup gets things done.

Body Canon EOS 500d / t1i

And my lenses apart from kit lens.
-Canon Ef-s 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II
-Sigma APO 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM
-Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

And Photoshop.
 

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Amazing photos!
Some of them make me miss having a bird feeder! The birds wouldn't sit on my hand or come near me, nor did I have any photographing skills, but it was fun to watch. :p

Your pictures remind me of disney movies where all the animals would come near one person and just relax!
 

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You inspire me, I must really dust off my camera again and take more pics. Must really see if I can't get some of the Hedgies that are frequenting my garden lately. The dogs think they're some kind of funky ball that moves on its own. How they manage to carry them is beyond me, they are Prickly!!! Last night had a particularly big one - a whole 400g. That's a BIG Hedgehog.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Can't wait to see your photos! :)

Hedgehogs are so cute, I wish they lived in here too. We used to live in suburbs 40 km's from our current home and the place was filled with hedgehogs, haven't seen any since we moved away from the city. Unfortunately.
 

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Sorry guys, no pics yet. But just saw the most incredible thing! Three hedgehogs all similar in size together in one place. Practicality in a heap. We have one of those big ultraviolet lights outside that attracts and shocks the insects and the Hedgehogs Love to hunt underneath it. I would just love to figure out where they go by day. It's as if they just magically disappear.
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Thank you so much for sharing! They are absolutely inspiring and only a few we have in New Zealand .Just beautiful .
 

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Wow, someone needs to get me hedgehog photos!! :D I saw a few when I lived in Sweden, but I never managed to get any photos of them! They are so cute :)

And MariQ, thank you for sharing the specifics of your gear, you are very talented :) I am sad I never got to visit Finland on my travels.
 
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