A message I received at the breakfast table made today’s birding destination a nobrainer. Per Buertange could report that the Hawk Owl was again showing near Moss which is only a 40 minute drive from the house.
As I arrived in acceptable light it was sitting on top of a tall spruce tree above the club house of the local Bikers Club. Two questions:
1. Why do Hawk Owls in Østfold like the verges of busy roads?
2. Why are Bikers Club houses always right by main roads and with bars over all the windows?
It eyed me from the top of its tree but the tree was tall and the pictures were nothing to write home about. A couple of Bullfinches then mobbed it and it flew into the forest and was lost to view. I failed to refind it and decided on a trip to nearby Kurefjorden with the intention of returning on my way home.
I’ll come back to Kurefjorden, but on my return to the owl site at around 12.30 it was again sitting right by the main road. This time it gave excellent views and although the light was not that great I managed some perfectly acceptable pictures. It flew at one stage but I failed as usual to take a decent photo. So, I have now had Hawk Owl and Pine Grosbeak at the same locality just 4 days apart – that dreamed of photo is within touching distance!
Given that it is such an amazing bird I assume that there won’t be anyone out there who minds if I show a selection of photos :-)
|Hawk Owl (haukugle) Moss|
|the best flight shot I managed|
|Having a preen|
|that flexible neck|
|it is clearly finding enough food|
|at one stage it flew down towards the road narrowly avoiding a lorry. There is presumably a high denisty of rodents on roadside verges in this part of Østfold|
My diversion to Kurefjorden gave as usual some decent birds. A total of 14 Slavonian Grebes (horndykker) included a pair in display and there calls could be heard at many hundred metres range. At the mouth of the fjord a single Rough-legged Buzzard (fjellvåk), Shag (toppskarv) and late Oystercatcher (tjeld) were all of note. Also displaying Red-breasted Mergansers (siland) were nice to see. I normally find that the male mergansers are not in full breeding plumage but the birds I saw here were in gorgeous breeding plumage and the white was at least as shiny as you would see on a Goosander (laksand).