Sunday, 24 March 2013


Last night was going to be the big owl night in Hedmark with Bjørn Olav. The evening started with Eagle Owl (hubro). We heard it singing first whilst it was still fairly light at around 1840 but thought the sound was coming from many hundreds of metres away. I walked closer to it and realised the bird was closer than we thought and it was just the lay of the land that made it sound so far away. However I it was deep in the forest and it then stopped singing. I walked back to the others who were ready to leave and we got in the car. We stopped where I thought we would be closest to the bird and as we got out of the car it flew out of an isolated tree only 100m away from us. The light was poor now but if only we had known it was there.... It did not fly far though and then started singing only 200 metres from us although not visible. It was also joined in song by the female and I saw it briefly one more time in flight. A great experience with the bird both seen (although poorly) and heard. The song was surprisingly weak and carried a lot less far than the Tengmalm’s Owls (perleugle) I have heard recently although according to the literature the song can carry upto 4km.

We then headed north close to the Swedish border. This was my third visit to this area where Ural Owls definitely occur but yet again we drew a blank. Listening conditions were perfect with hardly a breath of wind. It was bright with a cloudless night, a near full moon and temperatures down to -17C. The later may not have helped but Tengmalm’s Owls were in good voice although not as numerous as they were in 2011. We had 7 different birds singing over a stretch of 15 km. we also had a single Pygmy Owl (spurveugle) which was singing strongly at both 2230 and midnight which is unusual for this species which usually sings at dusk.
Due to the cold the night didn’t at all times feel like a success especially as the Ural Owls didn’t reveal themselves but 1 Eagle Owl, 7 Tengmalm’s and a single Pygmy Owl must go down as a good nights owling!! We also saw the northern lights although they were weak. I have a picture of them plus some video of some tree tops where you with a good bass on your loud speakers you can hear the low pitched call of an Eagle Owl. In addition to good speakers you will also need some good will to hear the owl above all the other background noise.

northern lights over the forest of Hedmark

young Moose

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