Tuesday, 20 May 2014

More Owls but not Tawny this time...

Thunderstorms yesterday evening and low dark clouds and some drizzle this morning made me very hopeful for something good at Nordre Øyeren. Svellet did deliver a fine adult Little Gull (dvergmåke) although it was at telescope range like most birds here. The long walk out to Årnestangen though did not deliver as hoped in fact there was nothing beyond breeding species to be seen. Quite disappointing it has to be said.

The day was salvaged though later when, following up on a tip, I found a Long-eared Owl (hornugle) nest. I first actually had an adult hunting in broad daylight and then heard the squeaky door call of a begging youngster. I located a youngster low down in a tree and then soon after found the nest: an old crow’s nest high up and quite exposed in a small spruce tree. It is incredible that they nest so openly! I sat down at a safe distance to observe and film. As you can see and hear at one point the young started begging and an unseen adult calls from right behind me. Exciting stuff but frustrating when you can't see the adult that is you know is so close.

Long-eared Owls are very anonymous and the species is probably far more numerous than the records suggest. Around Oslo there are hardly any records of singing birds but come early June when people are out listening for nocturnal birds there are numbers of records of calling/begging youngsters from small copses in farmland.

young Long-eared Owl - big enough to leave the nest but still far from fledging

the nest

adult out hunting in daylight

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