BIRD GUIDING AROUND OSLO

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Garden owl



It’s not normal that I update the blog this early with “live” news but today has started off in a very special way.

After brewing some much needed coffee I saw that the feeders were empty so went out to fill them up. Whilst doing so I scared off a new neighbourhood cat that has taken a real liking to our feeders and although I have yet to see any deaths he is definitely good at scaring the birds away. Shortly after he ran off I heard a chorus of scolding birds but they were too far away to be mobbing this particular predator. I walked around the side of the house and saw a line of birds on a telegraph wire with birds flying into a birch tree and mobbing a dark shape. I immediately assumed it to be a Sparrowhawk (spurvehauk) because it was sitting on a branch (obscured) and not against the trunk as I would expect from an owl. However the birds were very angry at it with Blackbirds (svarttrost) repeatedly flying at it and I could even here the local Blackcap’s (munk) call. I was curious enough that I decided I would walk around to see the bird although my clothing was hardly appropriate. However as I started walking which meant going around the house I heard the calling change. I ran back round to see the thrush in flight but couldn’t see what they were obviously chasing. The mobbing started again further away aimed at another tree before an owl flew out this time with a Crow chasing it (kråke). There could be no doubt it was a Long-eared Owl (hornugle) – or could there be no doubt? It flew in circles over the house for long enough for me to run in, change the lens on the camera and run out again and get some pictures.

Checking the pictures has had me scratching my head and for a while I thought that it must be a Short-eared Owl (jordugle)  which would be an amazing find in a garden and some of the pictures do show plumage characters which can only be Short-eared – apparent white trailing edge to the wing and solid black wing tips rather than finely barred wing tips. However, I believe this to be more as a result of bad light and grainy photos as the overall impression is still of a Long-eared Owl and location would have to suggest so.

EDIT: AFTER A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS I'VE ACCEPTED THAT THE PICTURES ARE GOOD ENOUGH TO SHOW THAT SUPPOSED SHORT-EARED OWL CHARACTERS ARE REAL AND THAT THIS REALLY IS A SHORT-EARED OWL WHICH IS AN EVEN MORE AMAZING BIRD TO FIND IN A GARDEN IN OSLO!!

Quite why it was seeking refuge in a garden I can only guess at but I assume it was migrating overnight and then when dawn came over the city it just decided it had to seek a safe roost. Why choose a garden rather than nearby Maridalen? It looks like there might be lots of fog further inland so it could be that it is only over the city that it could see somewhere to land?

What a start to the day!

Short-eared Owl (ugle) over the garden
the picture top left looks like it shows a pale trailing edge which is a Short-eared Owl character. The bottom two pictures also show rather solid dark wing tip. After trynng to convince myself these were photographic effects I now accept them to be real and it really was a Short-eared Owl that flew out of my neighbours garden!


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