27 November 2011

Exploring Viikki Nature Reserve, Helsinki Finland

November 2011

Weather forecast promised sunshine for the last Saturday of November. Southern Finland was still lack of snow. In practice there hadn't been real under zero degree days except only few one. Earth was not frozen yet. All of these quite unusual, but not exceptional though (last year at this time we had almost two feet of snow and minus degrees, which both stayed quite long).

Based on these facts decided to explore Viikki Nature Reserve (in Helsinki, Finland) and its neighborhoods to observe what's going on there under these conditions.

The sun had just rised when I parked my car near Viikinmäki's industrial area. Nearest tracks were in few meters. Headed first towards Pornaistenniemi. A few people tried their luck to catch fish at rapids near there. Across the walking bridge and soon started duckboards to Lammassaari island.

Duckboards were hidden in high willows which grew in these wetlands. Some species of birds lived in these neighborhoods. Duckboards were very slippery. Some birdwatchers headed to Lammassaari island, too.

Before exploring Lammassaari island, continued straight to Kuusiluoto island via another duckboards. At summer time you meet a group of curious sheep there, seldom any people. Some little birds continued singing like it was a peak of the summer. Maybe they thought it's arriving due to weather ...

Talking about weather, light rain started. That much about sun shine.

Back to Lammasaari island. It's full of very small, old summer cottages. What's more, it was in a good position to observe birds along wetlands on the bay. The watchtower was at the north end. Perhaps the best place to observe birds as the sun usually is behind you.  Saw some Swans,  a Hawk and some Canadian Geese. Not too bad of being a November.

Back from the same duckboards to main land. Crossing the wetland hit the idea to get some coffee. Gardenia wasn't too far. Crossed the field and enjoyed a full lunch at there, and coffee as well.

Back to track towards Arboretum. Large variety of trees, bushes etc. From there towards Mölylä rocks. There's another good spot to see over the whole bay and wetlands.

It had been cloudy since Lammassaari. Now strange things started to happen and clouds vanished bringing the sun in view. Well, the whole nature looked different at first sight.

From Mölylä towards Fastholma's bird tower. The tower was the most modern I've ever seen, steel stairs.

It was time to get back. Knowing also that the sunset was coming soon, the light it gave was so attractive to shoot photos. Actually, you needed to hurry up as light would disappear soon. It caused constant click in my camera.

 All in all, it was great to see how things were at Viikki at this time of the year, in these conditions.

This was the route I explored there:

With the following photos I try to explain what I saw and experienced there

Again starting with some Black and White Photos:

La Casa del Vento

A Willow


A spruce tail

Tower of Koitto Building on Lammasaari island

Lammassaari island:

Duckboards towards Kuusiluoto island

A monument made by Nature

Il Vento

Something should be done to this pier

Unwanted inhabitants

A private concert by a Great Tit

A Great Tit showed me that I'm on Nature Reserve, on their territory



Knock, knock, who's there?

Around Arboretum:

Agriculture meets people

Noble Tree Forest

Fuzzy Logic

An Obstacle

Time for a break

Fresh Cones!

The sun hits new and old

Holy Mackerel, new strawberry leaves!




Wetlands, occupied by cows during summer months


Paths, tracks:

An Alley

A track for mountain bikes

A Birch Tree

I'm 6ft tall and my shadow's 20ft

Sunset arriving:

... Lennä Nykäsen Matti, Lennä ...


Hidden sun:


A Silhouette of Helsinki. Do you recognize buildings? 

Last glimpses of the sun, today

The sun's gone, hope to see it again soon

20 November 2011

A Day Hike on Torronsuo National Park, Finland

November 2011

Southern Finland has many small places for doing outdoor activities and which are therefore worth visiting. There are many National Parks, Nature Reserves and Recreation areas. These places are usually small. Although they are not comparable to more magnificent similar areas in Eastern and Northern Finland, they all have some special characteristics, which make them unique. And what's more, they are near at you in case you live in Southern Finland. Very many of them can be reached by public transport, too.

Visited one of such places, namely Torronsuo National Park some days ago. It was a mire, one of the largest in Southern Finland.

Its popularity is seen around the year (some statistics of visitors here, in Finnish only); Spring and Autumn time are for birdwatching. Autumn is popular for berry picking (cloudberries and cranberries). At winter time the mire is occupied by cross country skiers. Smell at summer time is fabulous, which alone might attract you.

November is not a perfect time to visit, birds are almost all gone.  Wanted to see some cranes, but didn't have much luck with them (although heard their voices in distant). Duckboards were quite slippery to walk, too. So, be careful out there.

Despite discouraging 'Misember' time, decided to hike through the mire, then to come back via Torro village.

Weather was mild, plus degrees but strong wind made it feel colder. Gore-Tex helped in these situations and especially on sudden showers, too.

The track was marked to be some 10km long. It started from Kiljamo parking lot via duckboards which went across the mire, then followed by a small path. At Torro village the path changed to a sand road and finally a tarmac road. The last km was again on duckboards.

Here's hiked route clockwise (larger view):

With the following photos I try to explain what I saw there:

Road brings you right into the park

Update yourself before hike

A Highway

Berry Picking

Overview of Torronsuo mire

Tough Life

Moss in many colours

Local grass

A couple of shicanes

Bypassing wasn't easy

Time for a break

Sun appeared for 10sec

A forest on the mire

Someone's lunch break's over


'All Along The Watchtower'

Tiny ponds on the mire

Idyllic road at Torro village

This is where local rally drivers come from

Which one is older?