Friday, January 1, 2016

The snow came with new year's day....

.... but is wasn't much and with it a hunter I never did see here before; a varfågel or Northern shrike (Lanius excubitor). It was the second sighting of a rare bird for me lately. The first being a slaguggla (Strix uralensis).


Source; http://gamla.uof.nu/galleri/slaguggla.html




I saw the owl sitting on a perch, a fencepost, when I drove to work the other day. The post was right next to the road, about 2 meters away. It sat there, tall (I guess half a meter), looking directly at me and the disks in the face were very clear. I checked the mirrors, hit the brakes hard and stopped to look at it. After a while I backed the car to get closer, but it lept up and flew, wafted is more like it, away. Broad, majestic....
My first live owl sighting!!


source: http://www.larslundmark.se/wordpress/tag/varfagel/page/2/




I was brought to the attention of the shrike, because a small bird hit the livingroom window I was sitting by. The loud thump startled me and I looked out, seeing the shrike in midair. 
I keep a set of binoculars on the windowsill just for occasions like this and I could get a good look at it. A very noticeable pattern gave it away...
It apparently was hunting over our house, spooking the small birds, sending one of them slamming into the window. It does feed on rodents, insects and small birds, as I learned when I checked the books. It impales its prey on branches, thorns and the like.....

3 comments:

  1. Nice species. Any birds, but especially owls are nice to watch. Some years ago I catched few lemmings and voles in a small cage, and placed it in the front of kitchen window. A while before the sunset there was 3 short eared owls and one hawk owl walking around the cage, tilting and turning their heads trying to find out how to get the prey out.

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    Replies
    1. Hej Pasi, I never get tired looking at birds and they always amaze me with their variety in shape and color, even though the basic shape is the same.

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  2. We have a beautiful barn owl in our barn and great horned owls hoot through the night when the weather is warmer. I, too, never tire of watching these birds. It's a gift to see one fly near the car headlights at night. The great sentinel flying off into the night in search of a meal. Doing what they've always done. We also have acorn woodpeckers and Great Egrets. We had 15 at our lake last fall. Incredible. We see bald eagles every once in a while. In the valley coming home from down south we saw thousands! of migrating geese. I'm not sure but I think many of them were snow geese. Bird World and welcome to it!

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