A bit of genuine nature

Finnoviken is a valuable and notable nature site, the likes of which are not found elsewhere in Finland. The area’s nature trails and bird-watching towers are popular recreational sites for all nature-lovers.

A man and a child in a bird-watching tower.
The nature trails and bird-watching towers around Finnoviken attract both children and adults.

The Finnoviken wetland consists of a water basin and the surrounding flood meadow. The water basin was separated from the sea bay long ago through the building of an embankment. Nowadays the shallow basin has reeds growing in it and open water surfaces, making it an ideal bird wetland. The Finnoviken wetland is bordered by urban forests and there are two rivers flowing through the area: Finnobäcken and Djupsundsbäcken. The nutrient-rich soil and natural environment offer ideal conditions for plant life, various insects and birds.

The Finnoonpuro stream.
There are two streams in the Finnoviken area.

Respecting natural values

The natural values of Finnoviken have been recognised and are taken into account in the development of the area. An important bird habitat, the area was designated as a nature reserve in the area’s master plan and local detailed plan and protected with regulations when the City of Espoo chose Finnoo as one of its upcoming metro centres and city districts to develop. A management and use plan has since been prepared for the bird habitat, which will safeguard the area’s natural values as the surrounding urban structure continues to become denser.

A cattail.

The Finnoviken basin’s plant life consists mainly of common reeds and bulrushes. There are also soft hornworts growing in the water basin, which serve as food for a variety of waterfowl.  There are no fish in the basin, which is good for waterfowl chicks that might otherwise fall prey to pike. In addition to plants, the basin’s birds also feed on insects.

Easy to recognise by its laugh

Finnoviken is home to the second-largest black-headed gull colony in Finland. Black-headed gulls might not make the most popular neighbours due to their loud, laughing calls, but their presence in the area is important as they protect the nests of other birds.

A flying black-headed gull.

The wetland is also home to several threatened species, such as the Slavonian grebe, the gadwall and the norther shoveler, which are able to raise their young by the basin thanks to the black-headed gulls keeping predators at bay.  The basin is also used as a nesting site by a sizeable population of common pochards, one of the fastest-declining waterfowl species in Finland. The second-most-common nesting bird in Finnoviken after the black-headed gull is the sedge warbler, which sings loudly among the reeds.

A horned grebe.

In addition to birds, the area is also home to a variety of other rare animals and insects. Species protected under the EU Habitats Directive include the Siberian flying squirrel, the moor frog, the northern bat, the Daubenton's bat and the whiskered bat. The most notable insect species include the protected azure damselfly and Myrmica gallienii, an ant species that is exceedingly rare in Finland. Also found in the area are the beetle species Amara littorea, which is considered to be rare, and Phyllotreta exclamationis, which is classified as vulnerable.

A moor frog.
An azure damselfly.

Photos: Jukka Ranta