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A Birdwatchers Guide to: Finland


A map of Helsinki showing the main birding areas link to Viikki section link to Haltiala section link to Mustavuori section link to central helsinki section link to lajalahti section link to suomenoja section
A map of Helsinki showing the main birding areas.

The Helsinki area is the only metropolitan area of any size in Finland and consists of several towns and urban areas in addition to the urban core of Helsinki. Even so the Helsinki area has some splendid birdwatching to offer, both with regard to breeding birds as well as migrants. All sites here are easy to access from Helsinki and you can easily spend a couple of days exploring this area with something new every day.
By far the most significant birdwatching site in Helsinki is Viikki, just to the east of the city centre. There are several access point to this reserve (to the west, north and east) and most seasons have something good to offer. The migration seasons are the most birdritch and during the migration Viikki should definitely not be missed as the reserve offers good opportunities for watching resting wildfowl, shorebirds and gulls and terns, as well as migrating or hunting raptors. This same is true for Laajalahti bay to the west of Helsinki (in Espoo); this site almost matches Viikki in the quality of the birdlife and should not be missed either. The Suomenoja lake, also in Espoo, can also be good during migration, with interesting waders and ducks resting here.
Another site that can be quite rewarding is the Haltiala meadows, just to the south of the airport. This site is of most interest during the migration seasons and can be good for migrant raptors and shorebirds and flocks of migrant passerines can also be seen here.
These areas should not be neglected in summer, though, as there are several interesting breeding species here as well. Interesting breeding birds in the Helsinki area include Greenish Warbler and Red-breasted Flycatcher; two very good sites for these are the primeaval forest at Haltiala, or (maybe even better) the forest reserve in Mustavuori. Another breeding warbler of interest is the Blyth's Reed Warbler, which is rather easy to find in Helsinki and Espoo in suitable habitat, see for instance Laajalahti for details. Viikki has the last few years also been a reliable site for breeding Citrine Wagtail, and other interesting members of the local avifauna are Thrush Nightingale, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Common Rosefinch and Ortolan Bunting. The Nightingale and the Rosefinch are in fact very common here.
Some of the sites described here (mainly some parts of Haltiala, but also Mustavuori) have some old forest that does hold breeding owls, grouse and woodpeckers. The chances of finding these are not that great without specific information and if you really want to try you should consider visiting Nuuksio NP described in the Finland, South Coast section.
Some of the Helsinki parks are also describe shortly as they can be good for vagrant passerines, mainly in the fall migration season.



A map of Viikki nature reserve showing the main birding areas a larger version of the previous map
A map of Viikki showing the main birding areas.

By far the most important birdwatching site in Helsinki is the Vanhankaupungingselkä bay, fortunately also known by a somewhat shorter name: Viikki.
Viikki has the largest variety of birds in the migration period. In spring and fall swans, geese, ducks, birds of prey and numerous waders can be seen here resting, hunting over the reeds or migrating through. In May birds of the Arctica migration can be seen here as arctic waders, loons or geese. Late in the month Broad-billed Sandpipers or Red-necked Phalaropes can be seen here, and sometimes also rarer species.
Viikki might be more interesting for the visiting foreign birder in summer, particularily in June when most breeding birds have arrived and are still singing. Almost all of the warblers of southern Finland can be seen or heard at Viikki, including Common Grasshopper Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Garden Warbler, Lesser and Common Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Wood Warbler. River Warbler and Barred Warbler are also seen or heard here, but not annually. Thrush Nightingale is also common here and can be heard virtually everywhere, Common Rosefinch is even more numerous. European Goldfinch and Common Linnet are also common and occasionally you might hear the distinct, pleasant song of the Eurasian Golden Oriole.
A good starting point for an excursion into this area is the Gardenia horticultural center just north of the bay. From here you can walk southwards towards two different birdtowers (and beyond) where you have a good view over the reedbeds and the bay. The woodland between the carpark and the birdtowers should be checked for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, which is fairly common, and sometimes (with luck!) you can even find a White-backed Woodpecker here! The best of the towers is the southernmost of the two, at Hakalanniemi. From here you have a good view over open water and reedbeds and meadows left and right. Check the bay for terns as Caspian Terns are regular here, and sometimes also Little and Black Terns, while Common and Arctic Terns are both common. To the left is a shallow bay which is good for waders and late spring/early summer Broad-billed Sandpipers are rather common here, sometimes even Red-necked Phalarope. Further away you can also check the shore of Lammassaari island for waders, but if venturing out to the island you have much better views from the birdtower here (see below for details). The meadows to the right should be checked for Citrine Wagtail as they are frequently seen here. Please beware that if approaching from the north you first have an observation platform overlooking the bay, the tower is in the small woodland 100 m to the east of the platform; the view from the tower is much better!
A short walk in the agricultural area around the Horticultural Center might produce some interesting birds, like Ortolan Bunting, while more common birds here are Whinchat, Spotted Flycatcher and Yellowhammer.

a photo of Viikki nature reserve
Viikki as seen from the birdwatching tower at Pornaistenniemi with the birdwatching hide in the foreground. © Risto Skjelnes

If you want to explore the reedbeds you should start on the western edge of Viikki. To get into the reedbeds you have a boardwalk starting from a parking lot at the end of the Jokisuuntie road and you can follow this to the Lammassaari island or to a birdtower and hide overlooking the reeds at Pornaistenniemi. The reedbeds used to be a safe place to see, or at least hear, Bearded Reedling; the breeding population at Viikki is the largest in Finland, but has apparently been reduced the last few years. The bushes and woodland around the birdtower at Pornaistenniemi is also a good place for Eurasian Penduline Tit, which breeds here, while the hide is superb for night singers. Spending a late evening/night or very early morning in the hide you might hear Spotted Crake, Water Rail, Marsh Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Thrush Nightingale here, while Common Grasshopper Warbler is common in the secondary vegetation around the car park. Rarer visitors the last years have included Little Crake.
If following the boardwalk for about a kilometer you get to Lammassaari island; when at the island follow the boardwalk to the left and you get to a birdtower after about 300 m. From this tower you have good views over the shallow bay between the island and Hakalanniemi. The birds you can see here are roughly the same as from the tower at Hakalanniemi, but you have a much closer view of the shorebirds at this side of the bay. The meadows to the north of the tower should be checked carefully for Citrine Wagtail which breeds here since 1999. Other breeding birds here include Little Ringed Plover, Common Redshank and Northern Lapwing. The vegetation at the edge of the reedbeds should also be checked for singing Blyth's Reed Warbler. Above the reedbeds you can see hunting Western Marsh Harriers and often also Eurasian Hobby.
If you visit Helsinki and Viikki in the winter the action naturally has slowed down to an almost standstill. The best areas to visit then are probably the forested areas to the east of the bay (Herttoniemi area). Common birds here in winter are Great Spotted Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Eurasian Jay, Eurasian Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Willow Tit, European Crested Tit, Coal Tit and Eurasian Bullfinch. With some luck you might actually find a Eurasian Eagle-Owl, Eurasian Pygmy Owl and some winters even Great Grey Owl here. Another good place for the Eagle-Owl in winter is Lammassaari.
From the boardwalks in the reedbeds you might also find Bearded Reedling, and in the surrounding areas there are sometimes sightings of a Great Grey Shrike. The Lesser Spotted Woodpecker is also present the whole year and sometimes also White-backed Woodpecker is spotted here. The best places for the White-backed Woodpecker appears to be the woodland around Pornaistenniemi and north of Hakalanniemi.
Another place that might be worth a visit in the winter is the Helsinki fish harbour just to the south of Viikki. Glaucous Gulls are seen here every winter, and sometimes other rare gulls as well.

Birds in Viikki
a photo of a female citrine wagtail
The Citrine Wagtail breeds in Viikki

Great Crested Grebe, Barnacle Goose, Grey Heron, Eurasian Wigeon, Eurasian Teal, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Common Goldeneye, Western Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Hobby, Eurasian Coot, Northern Lapwing, Little Ringed Plover, Common Redshank, Caspian Tern, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, White-backed Woodpecker (rare), Great Spotted Woodpecker, Western Yellow Wagtail, Citrine Wagtail, Common Grasshopper Warbler, River Warbler (rare), Marsh Warbler, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Garden Warbler, Barred Warbler (rare), Lesser and Common Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Wood Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Bearded Reedling, Eurasian Golden Oriole (rare), Common Linnet, Eurasian Bullfinch, Common Rosefinch, Yellowhammer and Ortolan Bunting.

Glaucous Gull (Helsinki Fish Harbour), Eurasian Eagle-Owl, Eurasian Pygmy Owl, Great Grey Owl, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, White-backed Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Eurasian Jay, Eurasian Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Bearded Reedling, Willow Tit, European Crested Tit, Coal Tit, Great Grey Shrike and Eurasian Bullfinch.

Other Wildlife

Raccoon Dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) are frequently encountered at dusk in Viikki, and the best places seems to be the tracks and boardwalks around Lammassaari. Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) can also often be seen here, either at dusk, or in the summer also in the early morning. Other mammals reported from Viikki are European Hare (Lepus europaeus), Harvest Mouse (Micromys minutus), Stoat (Mustela erminea), Least Weasel (Mustela nivalis) and Badger (Meles meles).

Getting There

Directions to Viikki / Hakalanniemi; if driving south towards Helsinki on the main E75 road, turn right 4 km south of Ringroad 1 (Kehä I) where it is signposted towards VIIKKI, VIK (exit 1). Turn left after exiting the highway and follow this road (FORSBYVÄGEN / KOSKELANTIE) for about 2,5 km to a roundabout. Exit the roundabout onto Försöksvägen / Koetilantie and turn right onto Hakalantie / Hakalavägen after about 75 m and park here. From the car park you can continue on foot (no cars allowed); follow the road (now called Hakalanniementie) through the meadows and fields for 600 m to a junction where the middle road leads through the forest. After 400 m the road splits; you can continue straight ahead for about 350 m to the Hakalanniemi observation platform and birdtower. Or from the split turn sharply back to the right and after 50 m take a forest track marked with 'Luontopolku' ('Nature trail') and follow this for about 150 m to the other tower.
If you want to explore the reedbeds from the boardwalk the easiest option is to park at the end of the Jokisuuntie road. After exiting the highway on exit 1 and turning left onto the Forsbyvägen / Koskelantie road, turn right onto the Idviksvägen / Säynäslahdentie road after about 1 km. After 100 m turn right onto Jokisuuntie / Åminnevägen and follow this to the end of the road (staying left on this road after 150 m). You can park at the end of the road and you should see signs towards the boardwalk to the left (through the forest). If you follow this boardwalk it will split after a few hundred meters. The boardwalk to the right leads to Lammassaari (700 m) and the one to the left to the birdtower and hide at Pornaistenniemi. This boardwalk to the left split once more, but this is a circular track; they connect again just before the hide. The track to the right leads through the reeds, the track to the left leads through some woodland.
If you are coming from the south, the city center, on the E75, take the same exit 1 and follow the instructions as above.
For the fish harbour, going south on the E75, turn left about 6 km south of Ring road 1 (Kehä I) onto the Kyläsaarenkatu road (signposted SOMPASAARI / SUMPARN, KALASATAMA / FISHEHAMNEN, KIERRÄTYSKESKUS). Follow this road for 1,8 km and turn left at junction signposted KALASATAMA / FISKEHAMNEN; this road leads to the harbour.


a picture of Dave Gosney's guide to south Finland
a picture of Dave Gosney's guide to Finland, Lapland and Varanger
A map of Haltiala, Helsinki a larger version of the previous map
A map of Haltiala showing the main birding areas.

To the north of Helsinki, in fact immediately to the south of Helsinki Vantaa airport, you have Haltiala, an area with old coniferous forests, riparian woods and meadows. This is a popular recreational area with numerous tracks that you can follow for easy access into the birdwatching areas.The best areas, with the most variety in the birdlife are the old forests around Haltiala and Pitkäkoski nature reserve. Good birds here are Northern Goshawk, Hazel Grouse and Black Woodpecker and two specialities are Greenish Warbler and Red-breasted Flycatcher, both of which breed here annually. The primeval forest is easily reached from the carpark described below (see map) and there are well-marked tracks through the forest (please keep to the tracks, you are not allowed to move through the primeval forest outside of the tracks).
To the northeast is an arboretum where you might see, or at least hear, Thrush Nightingale, Eurasian Blackcap, Icterine Warbler and Marsh Warbler and in some years Eurasian Golden Oriole. The riparian woods around Ruutinkoski holds Blyth's Reed Warbler and occasionally also River Warbler.
In the winter months things are quiet here, but White-backed Woodpecker is fairly regularily seen here, both in the primeval forest and in the arboretum. The fast flowing waters of Ruutinkoski should be checked for White-throated Dipper, which is seen here every winter.

In the eastern part of this area, known as the Niskala meadows, you have more open habitats and this area can also be very good. An interesting breeding bird around Niskala is the Corn Crake, that can be heard 'singing' here on summer nights. Altough interesting in summer, the Niskala meadows are best for migrating birds in spring and fall, particularily in the fall. Common birds here during the fall migration are Northern Lapwing, Eurasian Curlew, European Golden Plover, Common Wood Pigeon, Stock Dove, Eurasian Skylark, Common Starling, European Greenfinch, Common Linnet, Common Chaffinch and Brambling. Rarer birds include Montagu's Harrier and Peregrine Falcon, and this is also a good spot to look for truly rare vagrants.
The Niskala meadows can be good for watching visible migration over this area, but an even better place is probably the peak of Paloheinä, just to the south of Haitala. Late fall you might see good numbers of migrating Golden and White-tailed Eagles here.
The open areas around Niskala can also be quite good in winter, certainly for wintering passerines. The most numerous birds here then are Common Redpoll and Common Linnet, and these flocks should be checked carefully for the possible Arctic Redpoll and Twite. Raptors here in the winter months include Rough-legged Buzzard and Merlin.

Birds at Haltiala

Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, Northern Goshawk, Montagu's Harrier (rare), Peregrine Falcon (rare), Hazel Grouse, Corn Crake, Northern Lapwing, Eurasian Curlew, European Golden Plover, Common Wood Pigeon, Stock Dove, Black Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Skylark, Thrush Nightingale, River Warbler (rare), Eurasian Blackcap, Icterine Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Greenish Warbler, Wood Warbler, Red-breasted Flycatcher, European Crested Tit, Eurasian Treecreeper, Eurasian Jay, Eurasian Golden Oriole (rare), Common Starling, European Greenfinch, Common Chaffinch and Brambling

Rough-legged Buzzard, Merlin, White-throated Dipper, Common Linnet, Twite, Common Redpoll and Arctic Redpoll.

Other Wildlife

The booklet "Let's explore nature in Helsinki" lists quite a few mammal species for Haltiala, but I do not have any information as to how abundant these species are: Common Shrew (Sorex araneus), European Hare (Lepus europaeus), Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), Russian Flying Squirrel (Pteromys volans), Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes), Raccoon Dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides), Stoat (Mustela erminea), Weasel (Mustela nivalis), American Mink (Mustela vison), European Polecat (Mustela putorius), Pine Marten (Martes martes), Badger (Meles meles), European Lynx (Lynx lynx), Elk (Alces alces) and White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus).

Getting There

Directions to Haltiala: Coming from Helsinki, drive north along route 45 and about 1 km north of Ring road 1 (Kehä I) take the exit toward TUOMARINKYLÄ / DOMARBY / ITÄ-PAKILA / ÖSTRA BAGGBÖLE / PALOHEINÄ / SVEDÄNGEN. Take the 2nd exit of the first roundabout and continue for 1,5 km. Turn left onto the Laamannintie / Lagmansvägen road and after 700 m turn right to stay on Laamannintie / Lagmansvägen road. After 1,3 km you continue onto the Kungseksvägen / Kuninkaantammentie road and follow this until a roadblock; there is a parking lot to the right of the roadblock. About 1,5 km before the parking lot, on the Laamannintie / Lagmansvägen road is an information table with a map and descriptions to the Arboretum, the Haltiala forest and Pitkäkoski nature reserve. A track to Ruutinkoski starts from the Kuninkaantammentie road a few hundred meters before the parking lot.
If coming from Helsinki - Vantaa airport, drive south on route 45 for 3 km and take exit 5 (TAMMISTO / ROSENDAL / TAPANINKYLÄ / STAFFANSBY). After the exit turn left onto the Gjuterivägen / Valimontie road and after 800 m turn right onto Laamannintie / Lagmansvägen. For further instructions, see above.
For Paloheinä, coming from Helsinki on route 45, take the same highway exit as to Haltiala, but take the 3rd exit on the first roundabout onto Samhällsvägen / Yhdyskunnantie road and after 400 m the 3rd exit of roundabout onto Kuusmiehentie / Sexmansbågen road. Follow this road for 1,4 km to the end where you can park at a large parking lot. Trails to Paloheinä and further into the forests of Haltiala start here.


A map of Mustavuori to the east of helsinki a larger version of the previous map
A map of Mustavuori.

In the northeastern part of Helsinki lies this small forest which might be the best locality in this region for both Greenish Warbler and Red-breasted Flycatcher. You can wander around here on a circular trail and find both of these eastern specialities with relative ease. It should be noted though, that in particular the flycatcher stop singing as soon as a pair of birds couple, and late in the season it can thus be somewhat harder to find.
The parking lot that is situated on the western outskirt of the forest is one of the best places for the flycatcher and you should spend some time here listening for its distinctive song. If not succesful you can follow the forest road into the forest for about a kilometer (ignoring for the moment a road that forks back uphill to the left) to where a sideroad branches about 90 degrees to the left; follow this sideroad for a few hundred meters to where it goes steeply downhill. This is a very good place for the Red-breasted Flycatcher. You can follow this road through the forest and if you always keep to the left (partly on minor trails) you should eventually connect again to the first branch of the main forest road (that you ignored a few hundred meters after entering the forest, see above).If you did not see or hear the flycatcher where the road goes steeply downhill you could try at this roadfork; I heard some mention that this road at the highest point should also be good, but I have not myself seen it here.
One good place for the Greenish Warbler is immediately after entering the forest at the first point where the road goes steeply up (before reaching the first roadfork), but this eastern warbler could possibly be found anywhere in this forest. I have also heard it from the circular trail in the northeastern part of this forest.
Hawfinch is said to breed around the carpark.

Birds at Mustavuori

Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Dunnock, European Robin, Greenish Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Red-breasted Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Willot Tit and Hawfinch.

Getting There

Mustavuori is about 13 km from downtown Helsinki and can very easily be reached on the main Itäväylä road leading east out of Helsinki (route 170). From the start of route 170 in Helsinki (where it branches off from route E75), follow this road for 11,5 km. Here is an unmarked road to the right that immediately after the exit turns sharply to the left. Follow this road to the end, no more than 150-200 m, and park here.
If you get to Kehä III road (Ring road III), you have missed the Mustavuori parking with about a kilometer.

Central Helsinki

In the very center of Helsinki are a few parks that serve as popular birdwatching sites for many of the local birders; numbers of migrating geese, raptors, pigeons and passerines can be very high with favourable weather conditions, both in spring and autumn. The most interesting time should be September and October, though, when many migrating passerines stop in the parks to rest before continuing across the Gulf of Finland. At this time good numbers of vagrants are concentrated here in a relatively small area, and can be seen well. The two best parks are Kaivopuisto and Tähtitorninvuori, both in the southeastern corner of the city center. Both parks are known as almost certain places for Yellow-browed Warbler (nearly annual in Sep-Oct) and Pallas's Leaf Warbler (less regular than Yellow-browed, Oct-Nov).
In the winter months Kaivopuisto is known for having day-roosts of Long-eared Owls, but I have no specific information.

Birds in central Helsinki

Kaivopuisto and Tähtitorninvuori (autumn):
Brant Goose, Common Wood Pigeon, Long-eared Owl (winter), Ring Ouzel, Fieldfare, Common Chiffchaff, Yellow-browed Warbler, Pallas's Leaf Warbler, European Pied Flycatcher, Common Chaffinch and Brambling.

Getting There

Directions to Kaivopuisto and Tähtitorninvuori: both parks are in the southeastern corner of the city center, just to the south of the South Harbour (Eteläsatama) and close to several tourist attractions; both are well marked on any citymap. More specifically the Tähtitorninpuisto park is on the northern side of Tähtitorninkatu street and Kaivopuisto park lies between Puistokatu street and Ehrenströmintie road.

Laajalahti, Espoo

(Sw.: Bredvik, Esbo)

A map of Laajalahti, between Helsinki and Espoo, showing the main birding areas a larger version of the previous map
A map of Laajalahti, between Helsinki and Espoo, showing the main birding areas.

The Laajalahti bay lies between the cities of Helsinki and Espoo and is a wonderful place to spend a few hours of birding, both during the migration and in the summer. The best time at Laajalahti, at least for share numbers, is probably in late April - early May. Then good numbers of resting swans can be seen here, and the Whooper and Mute Swans should be checked for Bewick's Swan, which is seen here quite regularily. Other interesting wildfowl here in spring are Canada Goose, Gadwall, Garganey, Eurasian Teal and Smew, and Red-necked Grebe, Little Gull and Caspian Tern are also fairly common. The best places to check Laajalahti for waterbirds are two birdtowers at the western shore of the bay, these can both be reached from Villa Elfvik, a nature center. The first tower is at the shore near the nature center and can be reached on a well-marked trail. The other tower at Otaniemi can be reached on foot from Villa Elfvik on a boardwalk, but it is a 2,5 - 3 km walk (see below for driving directions). The reedbeds around the towers should be checked for Bearded Reedling and the last years the Eurasian Penduline Tit breeds at Laajalahti; check out the parking lot at Villa Elfvik for this difficult bird.
Just north of route 1 (Turunväylä), at the northern end of the bay, is a small inlet known as Iso-Huopalahti, which turns into a mudflat at low tide. This is the best place to watch migrating waders and in late spring you can find Common Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Temminck's Stint, Spotted Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Red-necked Phalarope and, in late May, also Broad-billed Sandpiper here. From late summer waders are again seen here, also arctic waders as Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper, but the numbers of birds are generally lower than in spring. Also for wildfowl this area is much more quiet in the fall than in the spring.
More common birds at the shore of the bay are Sedge Warbler and Eurasian Reed Warbler and other species in this area are Barred Warbler, European Goldfinch and Common Rosefinch.
The area around Iso-Huopalahti and Vermo Racetrack just to the north is probably the best place in the Helsinki area for nocturnal warblers; Common Grasshopper Warbler, Marsh Warbler and Blyth's Reed Warbler are common, River Warbler less so. Other birds you might see or hear here in late spring or early summer are Corn Crake, Long-eared Owl or Thrush Nightingale.

Birds at Laajalahti

Red-necked Grebe, Whooper Swan, Bewick's Swan, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Gadwall, Garganey, Eurasian Teal, Smew, Corn Crake, Common Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Temminck's Stint, Spotted Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit, Red-necked Phalarope, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Little Gull, Caspian Tern, Long-eared Owl, Thrush Nightingale, Common Grasshopper Warbler, River Warbler (uncommon), Sedge Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Barred Warbler, Bearded Reedling, Eurasian Penduline Tit, European Goldfinch and Common Rosefinch.


Near the northern tower there is an environmental education centre, Villa Elfvik. In the centre you can find temporary exhibitions about natural and environmental themes and there is a café there. At the main information desk you can also get information about recent sightings. Please consult with their website for opening hours, contact information and other practical information about the education centre and Laajalahti Nature Reserve.

You don't need any permits to bird Laajalahti, but please explore the area from the trails and the towers only.

Getting There
a photo of a River Warbler
River Warbler (Locustella fluviatilis) can some years be heard in the northern parts of Laajalahti.

To get to Villa Elfvik, and the two towers on the west side of the bay, take Ring road 1 (Kehä I) to the west and about 400 m after crossing route 1 (Turunväylä) turn left onto Brukstrandsvägen / Ruukinrannantie. Turn right onto Elfvikintie / Elfviksvägen after 200 m, this road leads to a parking lot. From Villa Elfvik there are marked trails to the two towers. The southern tower is about 2,5 - 3 km further away.
Directions to the southern tower at Otaniemi: from the exit to Villa Elfvik follow the ring road (Kehä I) for 2,3 km and turn left onto the Tekniikantie / Teknikvägen road and then the first to the left (Otaniementie / Otnäsvägen road). From where this road bends sharply to the right there is a short trail to the birdtower, so you should find a place to park your car here.
The Iso-Huopalahti inlet can most easily be reached from the Vermo racetrack. To get there from the Ring road, coming from the south (Villa Elfvik), take the route 110 exit (BEMBÖLE / PITÄJÄNMÄKI / SOCKENBACKA / POHJOIS-LEPPÄVAARA / NORRA ALBERGA) and keep right at the fork after 250 m (ETELÄ-LEPPÄVAARA / SÖDRA ALBERGA). Turn right onto Bergansvägen / Perkkaantie road after 100 m and follow this for 800 m. Turn right onto Vermontie / Vermovägen and follow this for a few hundred meters until you see the racetrack parking.
Driving the ring road (Kehä I) from the north, take the exit toward LINTUVAARA / FÅGELBERGA / VALLIKALLIO / VALLBERGET and at the first roundabout take the third exit onto the Mäkkyläallén / Mäkyläntie road. Follow this road for about 1 km and turn left onto Turuntie / Åbovägen (road 110) and then the first to the right (Bergansvägen / Perkkaantie). After 400 m turn left onto Vermontie / Vermovägen and follow this for a few hundred meters to the racetrack carpark.

link to

Suomenoja, Espoo

(Sw.: Finno, Esbo)

A map of Suomenoja near helsinki a larger version of the previous map
A map of Suomenoja.

Suomenoja is a very productive lake, actually considered one of the better birdwatching wetlands in the country. It is an important breeding site for Black-headed Gull and numerous wildfowl as well as other water birds: Horned Grebe, Mute Swan, Garganey, Eurasian Teal, Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Shoveler and Common Pochard all breed here. Particularily the Horned Grebe is numerous here and one of the most interesting species to expect at Suomenoja. Another interesting breeder here is the Common Moorhen; this is actually quite an uncommon species in Finland, but by checking the edge of the reeds here at Suomenoja you should be able to find it.
Resident shorebirds at Suomenoja are Northern Lapwing, Common Snipe and Little Ringed Plover. From the reeds you should see, or hear, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler and perhaps a Great Reed Warbler. Common birds in the surrounding vegetation are Thrush Nightingale, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Eurasian Blackcap, Garden Warbler and Common Rosefinch.
Suomenoja is also very good during migration, when particularily waders can be numerous here. Waders you can see here include Temminck's Stint, Dunlin, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Ruff, Jack Snipe, Spotted Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper and Red-necked Phalarope.
There are two birdtowers overlooking the lake and both can be reached easily on a track from the car park. The track goes all around the lake and thus make for a couple of hours of easy birding. Please be aware that this is a popular recreational area and it can be quite crowded here, particularily on sunny days in the weekends.

Birds in Suomenoja

Horned Grebe, Mute Swan, Gadwall, Garganey, Eurasian Teal, Eurasian Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Common Goldeneye, Eurasian Coot, Common Moorhen, Water Rail, Northern Lapwing, Common Snipe, Little Ringed Plover, Black-headed Gull, Thrush Nightingale, Sedge Warbler, Eurasian Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Common Rosefinch and Common Reed Bunting.

Temminck's Stint, Dunlin, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Ruff, Jack Snipe, Spotted Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper and Red-necked Phalarope.

Getting There

The most direct route to Suomenoja from Helsinki is to drive road 51 west out of Helsinki and take the exit signposted KAITAA, KAITANS 2. Turn left towards ESPOON VENESATAMA, VILLA RUUD after the exit and after 300 m turn left again onto Rusthollarinkatu/Rusthållargatan. Turn right after 400 m onto Hyljeluodontie/Själörsvägen and turn left after another 400 m to a carpark (signposted LINTUTORNIT/FÅGELTÅRNEN). From here it is a short stroll to the lake.