Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Winter owls

Yesterday was one of those glorious winter days that I just wish we had all the time – blue skies, no wind, 30 cm of crisp snow and temperatures a very refreshing -15C! As long as you are dressed correctly, which I do not always do, then it is just lovely to be out. If, on top of this, the birdies play ball then we are talking dream like conditions and yesterday was indeed a dream!

Quantity of avian biomass was low, very low, but when I had close encounters with two Hawkies and a Pygmy Owl plus a couple of Moose then I am very pleased. The snow that has fallen is so deep (and especially so just a little higher up) that it is affecting the wildlife:

1.   The Hawk Owls are now feeding within woodland where there is less snow rather than in the clearings and are I believe finding it harder to locate rodents

2.     The Pygmy Owl was my first sighting in Maridalen since Dec 2018 and is a sure sign that the species is recovering/returning to the area due to the good rodent numbers and also that the conditions further in the forest are becoming unsuitable so they are moving to lower more open areas.

3.      A mother Moose and her calf feeding by the side of the road in the middle of the day is a sure sign of animals that have had to flee the thick snow and look for easier pickings closer to people.

4.      There seems to be just one Common Buzzard left in Maridalen and when I saw it today its wings were drooping and it didn’t look to be coping so well with the snow and cold (there is a reason this is the first time they have tried to spend the winter in Oslo)

Pygmy Owl (spurveugle) - my first in Maridalen since Dec 2018

one of two Hawk Owls (haukugle)

and the second bird

I think this is the only Common Buzzard (musvåk) that is left
I only avoided hitting this Moose which suddenly crossed the road because I had already started braking after having noticed the Buzzard

mother and calf

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