Harakka Island – Chapter 8

It’s another chapter of Ice Swimmer’s Harakka an Island.  We’ve climbed down from the top and we’re ready to go. Lead the way Ice Swimmer.


Chapter 8- East Shore to Vellamo


1. A Birch and Särkkä, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

A bit to the south of the crossroads, there’s birch and we can see the island Särkkä in the southeast. Särkkä is next to the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress and the fortfications in Särkkä were built to support the main sea fortress. Nowadays Särkkä is used by a yacht club as a base and there are two restaurants there.


2. Footprints or Whose Island Part 3, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Also on the eastern shore, webbed feet are quite numerous.


3. Strawberries ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Wild strawberry plants were plentiful, but there were very few berries.


4. Stone Ruin and Vellamo Cottage, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The Vellamo House/Cottage is a nature fairy tale house for kids featuring books and educational play facilities.


5. Entry, Ice Swimmer, ©all rights reserved

This mystery path through the bush starts next to Vellamo.


6. Duckboards or Pitkospuut,  ©all rights reserved

The mystery path features duckboards, in Finnish pitkospuut (free translation: lengthwise planks of wood), to walk on. We don’t (or more like, I didn’t) want to get ticks so, we leave the mystery be a mystery.

Next, we’ll go to the front yard of Vellamo to take a look east.



Harakka Island – Chapter 3

It’s time for the next chapter of Ice Swimmer’s series, Harraka – An island. Thanks again, Ice Swimmer. I’ll let you take it from here


Chapter 3 – Former FDF Building


1. Main Door, Former FDF Building, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The building is from 1928 and it used to belong to Finnish Defence Forces and nowadays it is used by artists who can hire studio space for five years at a time there. This is the main entrance.


2. The building and the Birch, © all rights reserved

There is a big birch next to the building.


3. Rusty Ring, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

A ring fixed into bedrock next to the building. As for the picture, Caine was definitely an influence for me in this kind of photography.


4. Corner, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

We’re going around the building. This is the northwestern back corner.


5. Backyard and Fireweed, ©Ice Swimmer all rights reserved

There was a lot of fireweed in bloom on the island. Now we’re in the backyard of the Artists’ Building, looking at earthworks built when Harakka was partially fortified.


6. Tractor, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The little tractor is probably used for hauling various things.

7. Chemistry Equipment, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights re

The building was used by the FDF as a chemical laboratory. For that reason, while there were plenty of wild raspberries, strawberries and other berries growing on the island, tasting them didn’t feel too attractive. The building is actually the third site for the FDF Chemical Laboratory. At first, the laboratory was in downtown Helsinki, in the same building that housed the University of Helsinki Chemistry Department and after that in one of the garrisons in Helsinki before it was moved to the island.


8. Whose Island part II, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The ratio of shoes / webbed feet is fairly small.


9. Birch stump, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

At the southwestern corner of the building, there used to be a birch.

Now we have seen the building used by military chemists and subsequently artists and some of its surroundings. Next, we’ll go a back, a bit south in the backyard of the building.


Harraka Island – Chapter 2

Today we’re back with Ice Swimmer for the next chapter in his series Harakka, an Island. Thanks, Ice Swimmer. I’ll let you take it from here…


Chapter 2 – Uphill


1. Crossroads, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

In picture 1 we’re looking south. The low wooden building is the brackish water aquarium building. We’re going to go uphill, to our right.


2. Geese Uphill, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

A barnacle goose family is blocking our way. They’ve got little ones so the parents may get aggressive.


3. Geese Uphill in More Detail, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

A closer look at the geese.


4. Uphill, © all rights reserved

After a bit of an undocumented detour, the goose family is elsewhere so we can try going up the hill. It seems there’s a dead tree at the end of the road.


5. Dead Tree and a Windmill, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Indeed, a dead tree, a lamp post and a windmill/wind turbine. And there are a few gulls.


6. Footprints, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Going up the hill and looking at the gravel, one begins to wonder: “To whom does this island belong?”


7. Building, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The gulls are observing their surroundings and we can see a vaguely neoclassical building.

Wednesday Wings

Another one from Barcelona. Parakeets are neozoons in many parts of Europe, including the Mediterranean, though interestingly, their number their is relatively low (3000 in Spain, 800 in Portugal) when compared to colder countries like the UK (35.000) and Germany (10.000). The Barcelona population makes one wonder about the accuracy of that count. 

Parakeet in a tree

©Giliell, all rights reserved


Friday Feathers

The second bird instalment during the week comes right before the weekend.

Today’s Friday Feathers come from Nightjar who managed to capture barn swallows. The one with the feeding is my absolute favourite. As usually, click for full size.

"This is boring" © Nightjar, all rights reserved

Young barn swallows waiting for food

© Nightjar, all rights reserved

Adult feeding one of the youngsters

“This is so unfair, I never get first dips” © Nightjar, all rights reserved

Adult flying away

“Was that all????????”
© Nightjar, all rights reserved

Wednesday Wings

Hello and Welcome to Wednesday Wings, one of the new features replacing the Daily Bird. Today’s gorgeous pics are from David in NZ, who writes the following:

This is Manu, he puts on a show for the crowd, flying from one keeper to another, untethered and outside a cage. He did go for a “holiday” for 3 days last year.






Blue Macaw

Blue Macaw sitting on a hand

Macaw flying

Macaw flying

I know that the birds of prey ion our local zoo tend to go on holidays as well, but generally return because hunting is too much work.

Tree Tuesday

Majestic 800 year old oak tree, ©rq, all rights reserved

This week rq has sent us gorgeous photos of a majestic oak tree that looks straight out of a fairytale. rq says:

This oak is 800 years old or thereabouts and has earned the title of dižozols, which means ‘Grand/Great Oak’. If a tree adheres to specific criteria regarding trunk diameter and height and other things, it can also aspire to dižkoks status and people can send in submissions to the registry. They get marked on a map as objects of tourist interest, and also go down for preservation measures if anything happens or threatens their surroundings.

This one! Is the second tallest Great Oak in the country at 23m in height, with a trunk circumference of 7.1m or so. It is well and alive, and hosts a large number of birds in its branches, including being permanent home to an owl. It is also hollow inside, home to an unidentified bird, possibly a dove or wood pigeon or some such (see final photo, it’s dim, but there was definitely a bird hissing at me when I peeked in).


I visited at sunset, it sits above a winding creek and overlooks some farmland and marshes. 

rq thanks so much. 800 years seems like an impossibly long time for a tree to live, but there it is. This is definitely a tree that I would like to see in person. There are several photos (all of them beautiful) and the rest are below the fold. [Read more…]

Monday Mercurial

Hello and welcome to Monday Mercurial, a regular feature for all the critters out there. Sadly we won’t be able to keep up the Daily Bird, but we will replace it with three regular features throughout the week for the winged and furred inhabitants of planet Earth.

This is a young magpie that kept begging for food, even though it was already old enough to get over to the bowl of dogfood some campers had forgotten outside.

Young magpie with open beak

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Yound magpie, begging for food

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Young magpie with open beak

©Giliell, all rights reserved