How many Longeared Owls fit in a tree?

Post image for How many Longeared Owls fit in a tree?

by DaleForbes on June 3, 2012 · 2 comments

in Birding Western Palearctic

At least 200. With space for a Short-eared Owl. Well, at least if you are in the little Hungarian town of Hortobagy in Winter.

We were in the steppes of Hortobagy earlier this year and our guide – Balazs Szigeti – couldn’t wait to get us in to the quaint village of Hortobagy to show us all the owls in the garden of the National Park Info Centre. I immediately saw a few owls peeking out of the gaps in the little conifer, but the more I looked, the more little faces and camouflaged forms we found.

But it was only when a passer-by flushed the birds out of the tree that we really got a feel for just how many owls were about. Literally hundreds. Everywhere we looked, there were little owl forms trying to blend in. But with those great big bright eyes – how on earth did they expect to blend in to anything?

All these wonderfully beautiful bright-eyed owls everywhere offered some lovely photo and video opportunities – pity the most of them were a good few metres up, making for difficult camera angles.

But almost the highlight of our little owling trip was when a Short-eared Owl came cruising in from the surrounding steppes to land in one of the trees with a dozen or so Long-eared Owls. This made for great studies of both species alongside each other.

If you look carefully at a blow-up of this Short-eared Owl's eye, you can see the reflection of a Long-eared Owl in a neighbouring tree.

In late January and early February of 2012, Central Europe had been plunged through a dramatic cold spell with daily temperatures hovering between -10 and -20°C (-4 to 16°F) for three weeks. This icy cold drove many birds of the region in to survival mode and evidently this was the reason why the Short-eared Owl had taken flight in the little grove in the village. As far as I understand, this only really happens when it gets seriously cold out in the steppes.

What an incredible experience to see so many owls in such a small place – I just wish there was some way to capture the experience of the abundance of owls. Maybe a video would have done the trick.

All images digiscoped with a Swarovski Optik STM 80 spotting scope, TLS800 digiscoping adapter and a Canon 7D.

Happy birding,

Dale

 

Random Posts:

    DaleForbes: Super-rare Amsterdam Albatross a new species: The Amsterdam (Island) Albatross Diomedea amsterdamensis was first described in 1983 – breeding on o
    Category:Birding News

    Rebecca Nason: ‘Tirrick’ Tern Gallery: A small ‘Arctic Tern’ Sterna paradisaea  or ‘Tirrick’ (Old Norse/Shetland for Arctic Tern) gallery  
    Category:Birding Western Palearctic

    DaleForbes: out birding, not blogging: lunch time in the glass house restaurant with a great view over Bodensee / Lake Constance, the lake
    Category:Birding Western Palearctic


Similar Posts:

    Rebecca Nason:Leo Musings . . . .: Time Spent with Leo’s . . . Fair Isle can be a special place to enjoy many migratory birds, but one
    Category:Birding Western Palearctic

    DaleForbes:Long-legged Buzzard twitching mega rarity: “Is this really a Long-legged Buzzard?” was the question from Reinhard Hölzl, a friend and local pho
    Category:Birding Western Palearctic

    DaleForbes:Spanish Steppe Birds, crazy awesome digiscoping: What a lot of fun! Being great big open habitats, steppes can often be very difficult habitats to ph
    Category:Birding Western Palearctic

    DaleForbes:Snow Buntings in a suit: Tirol is a pretty much a winter wonderland – great big pointy Alps, covered in fluffy white snow. Pi
    Category:Birding Western Palearctic

    DaleForbes:Digiscoping Vultures in Extremadura, Spain: On my recent trip to Extremadura, Spain (Europe’s raptor heaven), the Griffon Vultures and Eurasian
    Category:Birding Western Palearctic

Subscribe Now

If you enjoyed this post, you will definitely enjoy our others. Subscribe to the feed to get instantly updated for those awesome posts soon to come.

BirdingBlogs.com gives you top birding content every day!

  • Jason Kessler

    Yikes! Talk about “an embarrassment of riches…”

  • Jason Kessler

    Yikes! Talk about “an embarrassment of riches…”

Previous post:

Next post: