It's been a while since posting anything, as we have been away on a whirlwind 10 day non-birding trip starting in Stockholm, then on to Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn and Helsinki, so 5 countries and capitals with 2 nights in each.
We didn't take our bins on this trip as we would mostly be in towns and didn't want the additional weight, but my 500mm lens for the camera came just in case!
However it wasn't really needed for birds as they were few and far between, as per David Lindo we were always looking up just in case, but apart from clouds and buildings there was nothing, with exception of Feral Pigeons and Hooded Crows. We did get one first in Stockholm although it was a sub-species and that was Baltic Gull, really a Lesser Black-backed Gull in my eyes:
Another abundant species in most places, although I didn't get a photo, never changed the lens in time were White Wagtail, so another sub-species. Around the harbours of Stockholm, Tallinn and Helsinki there were plenty of Cormorant about. Also a boat trip around the islands of Helsinki did show up Red-breasted Merganser, some Wigeon and Mute Swan.
One highlight was a large flock of Barnacle Geese that we came across when visiting the Drottningholm Palace just outside Stockholm:
The only other common bird in the Stockholm and Helsinki Archipelagos were Great Crested Grebe, there were tons about, especially juveniles.
So from a birding point of view very disappointing, but from every other point of view; History, Culture and most importantly Beer and Food it was a great trip! We learnt so much about what the Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians have had to put up with over the last hundred years at the hands of firstly Tsarist Russia, then the Germans and finally the Soviets, you have to admire their spirit and courage.
Here are a few other snaps from the trip, birds only, nothing exciting!