Alan Dalton post's birding diaries and original artwork from Sweden. Established in 2006, this now long running blog is now a complete overview of my birding experiences. As an artist I greatly enjoy sketching birds in the field and you will find a wide selection of that work here, from fieldwork to finished paintings. I am very passionate about my artwork and try to depict birds in their natural habitat, as I see them in the wild. My artwork is for sale and can be viewed at http://www.alandalton.net/
As regards to my photography, since 2008 I have used a Nikon D90 DSLR camera coupled with a Sigma 150-500mm OS lens for since March 2012 for bird photography, all previous images being digiscoped. Regarding sound recording, I have been usung a Telinga Stereo Dat Mic and parabol to record birds in the field, coupled to a Marrantz 661 digital recorder, a superb piece of kit. Interest in butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies has recently seen the accquisition of a Sigma 150mm macro lens. I hope you enjoy the blog and please feel free to leave comments or contact me at alandltn@gmail.com

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ural Owl; Northern Uppland, 29th March 2008

Ural Owl

Ural Owl

Ural Owl

Ural Owl
Ural Owl is a major challenge to see anywhere and we visited northern Uppland realistically thinking to hear one would be a result, if we could glimpse one briefly in the darkness, then we would be really happy. What transpired very much superseeded our expectations...
We arrived at the site at around 17.30 and picked up a few commoner species straight away. A flock of 10 Mistle Thrush fed on the rough meadow, whilst 6 Northern Long Tailed Tits flitted through some nearby brush. Common Buzzard was in evidence, but better still was a cracking male Goshawk that Aidan picked up perched in a spruce tree. It eventually gave us a great flight view as it moved left over the trees.
After waiting for the dusk to start falling to listen for owls our attention was drawn to an area on the forest edge by the Mistle Thrushes, which were clearly aggitated by something and were kicking up a racket in the nearby trees. As nothing could initially be picked up from where we stood, we were wondering if the Goshawk was still in the area. That notion was soon dismissed when Magnus, who had joined us for the rest of the trip, wandered up the road and discovered the true cause tucked tightly against the trunk of a birch tree, low down on the forest edge, Ural Owl. We could not believe our good fortune as we watched it at about 120 metres in fading, but still daylight. This was a huge bonus for us and we really enjoyed every second. Again the bird was hunting and watched and listened carefully for prey as we looked on in awe. After ten minutes it drifted back into the woods and out of sight.
A short while later, still elated, we located 2 Pygmy Owls, one of which we managed to call in when Magnus imitated the call. The incoming bird initially almost hit him as it zoomed straight in! It gave us another virtuoso display of attitude, scolding us for five minutes at close range before dissapearing as quickly as it arrived. The calls given suggested strongly that this was a female bird rather than a male, though we could not be certain of this. As darkness fell four very, very happy birders left the area.
Further attempts to hear Ural Owl calling failed in the early part of darkness, as did a stop at a site for Eagle Owl. We headed back for food and sleep after a couple of hours, after a celebratory sip of scotch at the accomadation!



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