Finnoo hides a piece of genuine nature

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2020-06-16 12:45

The new residential area of Finnoo is a unique combination of the best bits of Espoo – the sea, the metro, nature, environmental friendliness and a modern city. For many, the best of these bits is the nature. Finnoo also houses Finnoviken, 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.

People in a bird-watching tower.
Visit a bird-watching tower to observe birds at a close range.

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.

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.

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.

A mute swan in its nest.

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 flock of gulls at Finnoviken.

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 moor frog.

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.

Ants marching on a branch.

Photos: Jukka Ranta

Read more about the new seaside and metro neighbourhood of Finnoo.