In Hannu's Footsteps - The Hannu Hautala Nature Photography Centre
In Hannu's Foot steps - The Hannu Hautala Nature Photography Centre

THE MYSTERIOUS GREBES


STYLISH ENSEMBLE017985 k
Sääksmäki, june 1975

Great crested grebe, with its handsome crested head, is one of the most common water birds on the lakes of Southern and Central Finland. The species increased its numbers a lot in the 1960’s and 1970’s. I moved to Kuusamo in 1979. I purchased a boat during the first years. Me and Heikki Seppänen used to row around Toranki Lake, and found three Great crested rebe’s nests. They were the first ones in Kuusamo, as far as we knew. It was easy to spot them among the rushes, because the nest is basically a floating raft. When a lived in Helsinki, I visited my home in Ostrobothnia quite often. The road to Tampere lead through the bridges of Sääksmäki. There was a cafe parking lot next to the bridge, and a great crested grebe had a nest there every year, in a little bay by the river.

 

AN UNUSUAL NESTING SPOT017987
Tammisaaren archipelago, june 2012

The ever-growing trash fish population has led to a growing number of Great crested grebe nests in the archipelago. They have adapted to nesting even on open ground without any protective vegetation. This nest is in the Tammisaari archipelago. This couple lived on a half-kilometer beach surrounded by summer houses. When there are lots of summerhouses in the area, the motor boats drive by quite slowly. That is how the nest was spared even if the backsplash sometimes washed over the nest. In the careful nurture of their parents, three younglings grew up and took flight.

 

PARTY BIRD013718
Pori, june 1973

The horned grebe is a bird you will easily recognize if you get a closer look. This grebe dandy often nests by quite small ponds. You will not see this species in Kuusamo every year, but it does often return to the same nesting spot year after year. When on the nest, it is very trusting and easily approachable. It usually stays hidden among the vegetation, and you can hear its spring song every now and then.


HISTORICAL MOMENTO017987
Töysä, Tuuri, Matkuslampi, june 1962

In Southern Ostrobothnia where I was born, there was a small forest lake with several horned grebe’s nests. This photograph was taken in the summer of 1962. I was a happy owner of a new tele lens. The pond Matkuslampi was my regular hiking destination, a forest lake with several different water bird species. I came across this picture when I was going through my archives. It is nostalgic in its lack of technique. The nest is on open water, which is exceptional. The rain creates a unique atmosphere.

 ”PURE ART”017988
Huotinlampi, Kuusamo, june 2001

It was spring and I was on my usual observation and photography trip at Oulanka National park. I was at Huotinlampi pond, which is used for growing newly hatched whitefish over the summer. In springtime, fishermen bring fertilizers on the ice, to make the micro-organism grow faster. They serve as the fishes’ food, and also attracts lots of different water birds. I noticed a horned grebe with my binoculars. I played a recording of horned grebe’s voice with a cd-player. It immediately took flight swerving by me and landed a bit further to observe.


A WINTER RARITY017989

Kuusamo, Hänninen Likolampi, november 2005

The Little Grebe is an interesting bird, only the size of a man’s fist. It has been confirmed to nest in Finland only a couple of times. It nests in very lush, ingrown lakes in Sothern Sweden and Europe. In Kuusamo, I found the first Little Grebe in 1983 as I was looking for Dippers by a stream near Kuontijärvi lake. My second observation of the species was in 2005 in Ellala. I attempted to photograph it, but the species is quite timid, I only got one shot.


OBSERVER017986
Kuusamo, Säynäjänperä, june 2000

Red-necked grebes like to make their floating nest in a hidden place midst the dense horsetails. Like other grebes, they leave the nest by diving in the water, and return the same way. I photographed them from a floating hide. My assistant had already left. Suddenly, and totally silently, a head rose from the water by the nest like a periscope, observed for a second, and the bird rose to the nest. Whenever they leave the nest, they cover their white eggs to protect them from crows.

 

UNMUSICAL BELLOWER004525
Kuusamo, Kitkajärvi, Jortinlahti, june 2000

There are some bird species in the Finnish avifauna that are known for their loud, arresting voice. The voice of a Red-necked grebe is well-known on the lakesides of Kuusamo. The farreaching, hoarse bellow brings a suffering pig to mind. In Kuusamo, they nest in bays of big lakes. There might be up to three nests every year near the Kitkajärvi boat harbor.