Monday, April 9, 2012

Sweden 2012 owling trip


This was a sad spring for my family. My mam was dying of myloma. We visited with my mam and dad. I have been fixated with the owls of Scandinavia since 1998, when my friend Greg Lowther and I hatched a plan to bike across Scandinavia to look for birds. Greg's passions led him elsewhere, and I ditched the trip and went birding in Northern Australia instead. Unfulfilled I have wanted to visit Scandinavia and see it's wonderful owls.

On March 28th 2012, Tui, Charlie and I flew from Gatwick to Stockholm. We rented a car and drove to Uppsala.

March 29th 2012. At 1am I left our hotel and drove to a small lake, call Haisjon. It was a cold, and blustery night, and despite a couple of hours of playing a tape, I just heard one brief single call from a Ural owl. As dawn approached I drove up to Fiby Urskog. At Fiby, I soon got a response from a female tawny owl to my Ural owl tape. Soon after I heard a Tengmalm's owl call. Once dawn arrived, I switched strategies and began taping for pygmy owl. Within an hour I had gotten a response and soon was enjoying excellent views of a pygmy owl in the lower canopy. Moments later, I head an unsolicited Ural owl calling. This surprised me as it was daylight. I taped for the Ural owl, but every time I approached it's location, it would call from a more distant location, until eventually stopped calling. Reluctantly I returned, tired but happy to Tui.

Around 6pm the same day, Tui, Charlie and I returned to Fiby Urskog. We hiked the loop trail, and towards the end of the hike, while up on the bedrock escarpment we heard Ural owl. We walked quickly towards the calling owl. Whilst waiting beneath the canopy a huge Ural owl swooped into to a leafless tree. We were able to enjoy beautiful views of the owl for a couple of minutes, before it disappeared.What an amazing day!