Nesting birds

The most common nesting bird species in the Kvarken archipelago are various gulls. Common gulls, herring gulls, common and arctic terns often nest in large and noisy colonies. The more unusual lesser blackbacked gull and Caspian tern can also be seen, especially in the outer archipelago. Large flocks of black guillemots nest among rocks and boulders on barren islands, especially at Valsörarna, Rönnskär or Norrskär. Another bird that thrives in similar places is the razorbill. Also, common eider, arctic skua, rock pipit and ruddy turnstone thrive in the outer archipelago. Among the rarer species are scaup, a small diving duck which is endangered in Finland, but can be found in the area around Molpehällorna and Rönnskär.

Image 1: Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea)

In the more sheltered inner archipelago swans, great crested grebes, common golden eye, tufted duck, velvet scoters, and both goosander and red-breasted merganser thrive. A bird that is worth mentioning is the endangered horned/Slavonian grebe (Podiceps auritus). In recent years they have decreased greatly in number, possibly because of the disappearance of many suitable nesting sites. Horned/Slavonian grebe thrives in small lakes, ponds and small shallow coves.

The white-tailed eagle is one of characteristic species of the Kvarken archipelago. During the 1970s, the eagle population in Finland consisted of only a few individuals, but as a result of intensive conservation programs, there are currently about 350 nesting eagle pairs in Finland. Many of these white-tailed eagles can be found here in the Kvarken area. Nowadays it is not an unusual sight to see them sailing over the islands in the archipelago. Another bird of prey that you can see the fishing in sheltered bays or flades is the osprey.

Image 2: White-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla)

The most common forest-living species and other passerines are the pied wagtail, chaffinch, various thrushes and warblers, meadow pipit and wheater. If you’re lucky, you might also see the white-backed woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos). It thrives in bright and sparse deciduous or mixed forests, where it feeds on insects that live in dead or decaying wood. Pastures with sparse growing vegetation are therefore excellent sites for the endangered white-backed woodpecker.

Image 3: White-backed woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos)

Sources:

Metsähallitus. 2010. Skötsel- och användningsplan för Kvarkens yttre skärgård, förslag

Hietikko-Hautala T. 2010. Jääkauden jälkinäytös – Merenkurkun saariston maailmanperintö. Waasa Graphics, Vaasa

Kannonlahti J. 2012. Merenkurkun linturetkiopas. Vaasan yliopisto & Levón-instituutti, Vaasa

Rassi P., Hyväringen E., Juslén A., Mannerkoski l. 2010. Suomen lajien uhanalaisuus – Punainen kirja 2010. Ympäristöministeeri ja Suomen ympäristökeskus, Helsinki.

Rinkineva L., Bader P. 1998. Kvarkens natur. Kvarkenrådets publikationer 10, Vaasa

Valkama J., Vepsäläinen V., Lehikoinen A. 2011. Suomen III Lintuatlas. Luonnontieteellinen keskusmuseo ja ympäristöministeriö. http://atlas3.lintuatlas.fi (15.10.2012) ISBN 978-952-10-6918-5