Hi, my name is Isko Salminen.
I'm an adventure seeker and I love exploring nature with my camera and Australian Shepherd called Fire

Filtering by Tag: Fire

Fire and the baby bird

This summer we – like thousands of others Finns – traveled to our summer cabin to celebrate Midsummer. 

This is also the time of year when birds start to leave their nests and learn to fly. So while doing the usual yard work, we weren’t surprised to find a baby bird resting on the ground.

Later during the day, we noticed that the baby bird was in a really bad shape. She was clearly not strong enough to fly, and by the looks of it, was already abandoned by her mother.

Few hours later we were checking on her from afar and noticed she had wobbled to an area in our yard which is covered by ants and they had already attacked her and were about to eat her alive. As she was too weak to even move anymore, we simply could not stand by and watch this.

We gently picked her up, moved her on a moss covered rock closer to her nest, and gently brushed the ants away so she could be in peace.

This was when Fire saw her and, as we were brushing the last of the ants away, curled up on the rock next to her like this. I quickly took these photos of the two unlikely companions and then asked Fire to come down so that we’d leave the little bird alone.

Sadly, few hours later we found her dead :( hopefully we managed to make her short life on this earth even just a little bit more enjoyable.



You should never touch or interfere with a baby bird that has fallen to the ground. Even if they might seem like they are alone, their mother is usually around and your actions might cause them to abandon the little bird.

In this instance, as soon as our parents noticed the baby bird, we notified everyone and actively avoided the area where she was last seen as much as we possibly could. We only intervened as we saw her totally helpless, covered by ants. 

She was in such a bad condition, and by this point clearly abandoned by her mother, that we knew we couldn’t rescue her but also couldn’t just stand by and watch her being eaten alive. We made a judgement call that if her short life had to come to an end, it would be nicer for her to spend her last moments in peace and comfort. This isn’t always the case so, unless you know what you’re doing, it’s better not to interfere!

Also, unless you really, REALLY, know how your dog is going to react, you should never allow them this close to wild animals! We’ve encountered many baby birds and other small animals by accident while hiking and I’ve seen how Fire reacts to them so I was sure he wasn’t going to harm the little bird. But while he saw a helpless animal in need of help, other dogs might see a quick and easy snack.

This wasn’t staged. We avoided touching or moving the bird as much as possible. Fire curled up this close to her on his own and was clearly protective of her.

Sunday state of mind

I've been pretty busy with work and everything for the past three weeks and I haven't had a decent nights sleep for a while. As I was getting a bit zombie-like, this weekend I decided to sleep off some of the accumulated sleep debt.

I have to tell you, it feels so good to sleep!

As I haven't posted anything during this time, here's a short video of Fire dozing off at our office. That's pretty much how I've felt for the past three weeks.

Here's to a lazy sunday!

Korpinkierros, Nuuksio

This Sunday I decided to spend the day outside with the dog. Since I didn't want to drive far, I went to Nuuksio National Park which is about a 50 minute drive from Helsinki.

Looking at the trail map, there were two ring trails that seemed interesting: Haukankierros (4km), which seemed to be more scenic but a bit shorter, and Korpinkierros (8km) which was just the perfect length. As Korpinkierros shared some of the same trail with Haukankierros, it was my trail choice for the day.

You can read more about the trails in Nuuksio here

All the ring trails start and end at the Haukkalampi Information hut. There's also a parking area where you can park your car for easy access. Because of the close vicinity to Helsinki, good trail conditions and easy access, the trails are pretty busy with other hikers especially during the weekends. 

I arrived at the late afternoon and was met with a lot of people already leaving. But even then there was a steady stream of traffic for almost all the way through the first half of the trail. A bit too busy for my taste.

I might want to try to come back during the week to see if it's more quiet then.

The trails were clearly marked and almost impossible to wonder off but the recent heavy rains had made them muddy, and at times formed streams across the trail. You will definitely need some hiking or other waterproofed boots with preferably good traction on slippery surfaces.

As with every National park in Finland, dogs should be kept on leash at all times. This is a bit frustrating as Fire gets so excited when we get on the trail that he just dashes all over the place, bursting with energy.

To give him some room to run and wander, I keep him on a Flexi Giant L which is an 8m (26ft) long retractable leash. It works well on open areas and in places where there are not a lot of trees and turns on the trail.  

To make walking on the long leash easier, I've taught Fire "left", "right" and "straight" commands. This steers him into right direction and helps to keep us both on the same side of the trees. But even with this, at times the trail became so narrow I had to reel him in to avoid getting the leash all tangled up in the brushes.

In the more open areas, I hook the leash to the hip belt on my backpack for "handsfree" hiking. This works well if you can control your dog but should be avoided if your furry friend has a tendency to dash off or run over the leashes length as this will cause some very nasty face-plants. 

The first part of the trail is littered with beautiful scenery as the trail crisscrosses between small lakes and green hills. At times you can hike along the boardwalks to get over the bogs and wetlands.

On the way in, I noticed a fireplace where I planned to eat as we got back from the ring trail. I thought we had ample time to do the hike and come back before the dark but with the autumn, the darkness came so early and so quickly that we barely made it back.

The minute we reached the fireplace, the darkness surrounded us and you couldn't see a thing.

While I was setting up my Trangia, I heard a familiar voice among the few people already on the fireplace. I looked up and saw an old friend from work who was there with his family. We worked on the same team for almost three years so it was really nice to see him again.

We sat by the fire, drank some hot chocolate and talked for awhile. Their kids made sure that Fire was well fed with sausages and he didn't complain. It was nice ending the hike with some familiar faces and good company.

We parted ways in the darkness and while driving back, all I heard was a steady stream of snoring from the backseat. The dog was happy. 

Summer cabining

From the past three weekends we've spend two on our summer cabin. I really love going there to spend some time with the family, hiking in the woods, enjoying the lake and just being outside. And it doesn't hurt that we always try to make something nice on the grill.

Here are some photos from the past two visits.

Mads taking charge of the boat while I focus on taking photos.

Fire enjoying the boat ride.

My new Fjällräven pants.  Waterproofed.

Crossing a river.

Walking to the lake.

Fire across the river.

Barbecued salmon.

The Parents.

Enjoying the lake.

Mads on the way home.

First "swim" of summer, 2013

This past sunday, as we were walking along the Helsinki coast, I took this short clip of Fire enjoying the water for the first time this year. I think the waves were putting him off a little bit, but he was having a blast (this continued way longer than the video here).

As the weather has really taken a turn to more summery, I hope we'll get to do more swimming soon. Summer come soon enough!

Some random photos of Fire

Few weeks ago I went through about 5000 photos of Fire from the past 2 and a half years. I wanted to find some fun photos of him to send to his "mommy".

These are few from the bunch that I send.


Wallpaper pack: Fire in snow


Here's a set of wallpapers I did recently for myself from this photo of Fire. As they turned out pretty good, I decided to share these with everyone.

You can download the wallpapers in different sizes here:

Desktop | iPad | iPhone 5 | iPhone 4 (and below) 

If you like them, please share this page with your friends.