This evening had all the hallmarks of a good owl evening: no wind and no clouds and also temperatures below zero. The only thing that wasn't perfect was no moon but you can't have everything can you?
I decided to walk into the forests of Nordmarka from Hammeren in Maridalen. I cycled in from here on 17 March last year and heard a couple of Tengmalm's Owls (perleugle) so hoped to be equally lucky today.
I walked in 4km and by this point the road was sheet ice and it was not particularly nice walking but I had got as far as one of last years owls so decided to settle down and wait for sunrise. Sunset was at 1830 although it didn't get properly dark until after 1900. After the sun disappeared I could make out the tiniest slither of a moon just over the western horizon and above this was Mars and above my head Jupiter. There was not a human made sound to hear and with no wind rustling the trees the only sound I could hear was ice on a lake cracking.
At 1830 though there was another sound: a Pygmy Owl (spurveule) started singing a couple of hundred metres from me and kept going nearly constantly until after 1900 at which time another bird sang from the other side of the lake. Even though I have seen more Pygmy Owls than Tengmalm's owls I have in fact rarely heard them singing which is in contrast to Tengmalm's which I usually only hear.
Unfortunately though I was not lucky enough to hear a Tengmalm's tonight and my attempts to call in the Pygmy so that I could see it in the torch light failed. Never-the-less a magical and very atmospheric evening.