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tisdag 24 april 2012
Great Grey Owl / Lappugle
After the first time I saw a Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa) in Northern Sweden many years ago, I have always wanted to spend more time with this majestetic big owl of the Northern Forests. This spring, there has been many reports of the great grey from many places over Scandinavia, and finally, I was able to stand eye to eye with the king of the forest again.
I spent too little time in the forests to be able to tell a story about the owls, but most of the daytime was spent resting, and few or no attempts to catch voles was seen during mid-day. In early morning and in the evenings, they started to get more active and with ever-lasting patience, their special hunting-technique often gave result. The food was always eaten directly after capture.
Resting during daytime
Great Grey Owl - Landscape
As the evening drew closer, the owls started to get more active and after much waiting suddenly an owl would take off after hearing something under the deep snow. After locating the sound of a vole under the snow-cover, she (or he) hit the snow with amazing precision using the long legs to get down to the vole - a hunting technique that will never stop fascinating me.
Seconds after taking off, the owl often hovered in the air for a fraction of a second for some final fine-tuning, and then dived towards the invisible target under the snow with determination.
This time, the owl didn`t manage to catch anything and soon flew away again to start listening again. With the crust on top of the snow being hard, the hunting got more and more difficult and this is probably one of the reasons why so many great grey owls have been reported in areas far south of their "normal" range of distribution.