Wednesday, 15 February 2012

No owls.....unfortunately

Last night I took Madrid birder, Ricardo on a tour of the forests of Mangen in Aurskøg-Høland to listen to owls. These vast forests are the best in the area for Tengmalm's Owls with over 40 being recorded on one trip a few years ago and must have a slim chance of holding Great Grey or Ural especially after the good breeding seasons both have had recently in neighbouring county Hedmark. Wolves are also resident in the area. The middle of February is perhaps a bit early in the season but I felt completely certain that we would hear at least Tengmalm's. As it happened in 3 and a half hours driving through the forest we did not hear or see a single bird or animal. It was a cloudless night with a fantastic display of stars with little wind, both of which should be good conditions for singing owls. The only obvious negative factor was the complete absence of the moon which normally encourages owl activity. Maybe it is a very poor rodent year this year? Whatever the cause I was very disappointed to have to throw in the towel just after midnight and begin the drive home. I expect of course that in the coming weeks others will visit the area and have great success!

To bring some colour to this post, here are some pictures Rune took on our trip to Eftang last week which show a bit of light at this time of the year and the arctic conditions.

This beach held Dunnock, Meadow Pipits and Blackbirds finding food in the washed up seaweed

Birding in semi arctic conditions

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