After yesterday’s owl fiasco I decided to return this evening to have another go. Per Buertange confirmed my theory of yesterday by telling me that at this time of the year the owls often sing only just after dusk especially if it is cold and then go silent. This doesn’t explain why the NOFOA trip on Saturday night had birds singing all through the night but did at least give a good explanation for why Per Christian and I had nothing yesterday from 8pm onwards whilst Jonas Langbråten scored before 8pm.
The conditions today seemed pretty much the same as yesterday so what was different? I left the house 30 minutes earlier than yesterday which meant I arrived in owl habitat at 1930. I also went in from the north via Årnes so started with the area where Jonas had his owls yesterday. The result: I had 11 singing Tengmalms’s Owls (perleugle)!!!! Ten in Akershus and one in Hedmark. I also had two birds still going strong at 2130 in a duet and the last bird was a distant one at 2155 at one of the sites we spent a long time at yesterday. So yesterday I was obviously just jinxed by Per Christian. It really is difficult to see what was different between the two days but today was fantastic!
The first eight birds I heard were all fairly distant and I was still searching for a close bird so I decided to explore some news roads. Just as I crossed the border into Hedmark at Øysjøen I had a bird right by the road. Using my head torch I was able to find it perched high up in a spruce with the eyes reflecting the torch. Through the bins I was even able to see the bird – my first visual of a Tengmalm’s apart from the trapped birds. I tried taking pictures but only managed to get the reflection of the eyes and the video also didn’t capture the bird although the song is easy to hear.
|the two white spots are Tengmalm's Owl eyes reflecting from my head torch - honestly!|
After this my hands felt like blocks of ice so I headed for home rather than continue along the new road although I expect I would have added many owls to my tally if I had continued.
I heard some howling but there was also barking coming from the same location so assume I heard a dog rather than a wolf. No other owl species for me but I feel the need to explore the dark forests of Hedmark soon for Ural (slagugle) and Great Grey Owl (lappugle).
Earlier in the day I picked up my first Wood Pigeon (ringdue) and Hawfinch (kjernebiter) for the year near Sognsvann whilst trying unsuccessfully for Grosbeaks. I also had a quick trip to Drøbak and drew a blank on Hawkie but did find the overwintering Little Grebe (dvergdykker).