On the east side of the town, close to the sea, there is a small golf course where a minimum of 7 owls have decided to settle. Something I would never have imagined; we have had some last year migrating or seen briefly, but nothing like this.

This year seems to have been very good for them, maybe it has been a good breeding season but a poor winter in food, causing them to move to our latitudes. They are birds that are usually seen solitarily patrolling fields and crops in search of something to take to the mouth, not in groups like this hunting and sleeping together.

When I say that they are in the city, they are in the city ...

Yesterday I spent a total of 6 hours watching them between morning and afternoon, seeing all their behaviors; fighting with mousetraps and between them, hiding, hunting, resting ...

In the morning the light was not very good but I could do a couple of photos while they were posed. This has been the first time I've seen them for so long and so close. In the past I've seen some in Extremadura and Norway, but from afar and quite fleeting.

In the afternoon I returned with Alex and we put on the boots as soon as we arrived. The sun gives a beautiful light now in December because it is always very low over the horizon.

We also locate some of the other inns on the fence posts. There is a lot of variation in the plumage, from very pale, almost looking like common owls, until very dark.

But the best moment came when we encountered an individual who should have been teasing us. It had its small hunting territory and we were to hunt between 5-10m of us, letting itself fall on its prey feet and head first. We watched her pick up a couple of topillos, but she was making bids every 10-20 seconds. Unbelievable when he stayed on the ground a few meters from us ...

And flying over our heads while scanning the ground for those tops.

To finish this entry, the peak moment. This owl that was giving us so much game already happened to tease us. She decided to stand on a pole near where we were and at the end we were only 6.5 meters from her (measured ehh!). At the moment half the time you spend making photos and the other half stunned by its beauty, simply looking at it without the need for binoculars.

I think a birdwatcher is granted a limited number of incredible bird experiences and, For me, this has been one of them.

English translation of the text:


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On the eastern side of Aberdeen city, , there's a small golfcourse where at least 7 Short-Eared Owls have decided to set up shop. Something I would never have dreamed of. I have seen these birds in the past on the passage or brief glimpses in winter but never anything like this before.

This seems to be a good year for this bird. Maybe they've had a good breeding summer but a poor winter food and have to come down to our latitude. They are normally seen as the singletons quartering farm fields in search of a quick snack but not in groups like this hunting and roosting together.

And when I say "in the city", I mean "in the city", as you can see from the second shot of the bird flying against the backdrop of a block of flats.

Yesterday I spent a total of 6 hours in the morning and afternoon watching them and enjoying their whole range of behavior: scrapping with buzzards and with each other, hiding, hunting, resting on the ground ... < / p>

In the morning the light was pretty poor, just good enough for some shots of them perched. This is the first time I've ever seen them close up. In the past I've seen them in Extremadura and Norway but always fleeting and far off.

We have found a few perched on fence posts. Their plumage is pretty variable, ranging from almost Barn-Owl pale to pretty dark.

But the best moment was when we came across a bird that seemed to be taking the mickey. It had its own small hunting patch and happily quartered it up and down only 5-10 m away from us, dropping on its prey head and talons first. We saw it a couple of voles but it was dropping down to the ground every 10-20 seconds. Incredible when it landed on the ground only a few meters away. It also flew right over our heads in search of these voles.

They're quite surprisingly small and compact, making them even more special for me. You can see in one photo that they're even squatter than a Carrion Crow.

To wind up this post, the culminating moment. The bird that had been taking the mickey decided to perch on a fence post only 6. 5 meters away, and I do not exaggerate, as you can see from the photo Alex took of me and the bird together. At these moments you spend half the time taking photos and the other half just soaking up the beauty of this wild bird perched so close, even without the need for binoculars.

I reckon any birder is blessed with a few red-letter days in his life, and this was certainly one of mine.

  • Adam Floyd