torstai 26. kesäkuuta 2014

Saimaa seal excursion

We were a few bird quides invited to watch Saimaa seals to Rantasalmi, in the neighborhood of Linnansaari Nationalpark. The inviter was Elina Enho from They organize Saimaa seal safaris.
Saimaa seal is an endangered species. The total amount of this mammal is nowadays only 310 individuals. This breeding season was quite successful with 50 new seal pups. After first year the number of survivors will be about 20. Scientists estimate that the threshold value of seal populations survival is over 400 individuals. Hopefully the protection of Saimaa seals and their habitat will be successful. I suppose it is our generations responsibility.
Our lodging was in a log cottage in beautiful lake landscape on a small island. We got lift from a native Rantasalmi inhabitant, Jari, whose family has lived there from 16th century. He had many funny and interesting stories to tell us. The weather was excellent when he and Elina came to pick us up. Nature was really green as it is during spring summer and lot of bird singing in the air. It was still early evening when we started looking for seals. We had our binoculars with us and we watched shores very carefully because we knew that the Saimaa seals will come up to the flat stones to spend their nights. When our boat was floating in open water my thoughts started to wander. I imagined how our ancestors were floating on these waters fishing and hunting. At that time one Saimaa seal offered lots of food and the skin was multipurpose material for clothes and accessories. But fascinating was the thought that the landscape now is about the same as it has been for hundreds of years. Open waters far away from shores are the only place where the scenery is about invariant. That made me feel really good and confident.
Meanwhile I was deep in my thoughts the others noticed an Osprey flying around its nest stone. Beautiful evening sunbeams coloured  the bird gorgeously.

When boating around islands and through the narrow straits which Lake Saimaa has thousands and thousands we ran into a beaver couple. They were in the middle of their evening procedures and we saw very quickly a warning. A magnificent tail splash was loud and splatter.

We left the beavers to continue their tasks and sailed along to the next bay. There were spectacular rocks and flat stones on the shoreline. We entered the bay very carefully and slowly, because we anticipated seeing the Saimaa seal just there and how right we were! There was one very handsome, quite dark and spotted individual sun bathing in the last evening sun beams. It was obviously enjoying its whereabouts, probably with full stomach and peaceful mind.

After a good while we left the seal alone and took heading towards our lodging. On our way we still saw a Swan with chics and a Red-necked grebe.

It was a very fine evening with beautiful nature experiences fulfilled with Elina´s complimentary sparkling wine which wrapped up our day with this scenery.


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