A Northern Hawk Owl near Vetschau in eastern Germany 2006

A few tips from colleagues and the thought of taking nice pictures of an owl that is rare in Germany and otherwise only found in the taiga made me think of a trip to the Northern Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula) in south-eastern Brandenburg. Because in the winter of 2005/2006, some of these owls crossed the Baltic Sea and headed south. So I planned a trip to the cold East, near Cottbus.

A Northern Hawk Owl has been staying there since mid-February in a wood that is crossed by the road that leads from Bischdorf to Dubrau in a brown coal opencast mine near Vetschau.


While previous observers had seen the owl in a robinia forest, it had probably since moved to a sparse birch/willow grove. The tire tracks on the side of the track and the trampled grass also revealed the exact entrance to the wooded area. I arrived in the late afternoon. Of course, at first there was no sign of the owl. That didn’t change in the first half hour either. I decided to give it another try in a “perfect open forest habitat” before having to drive the 200 km to the next job. On one last try, I saw an owl fly straight at me. It flew gracefully between the thin but dense trees and perched on a branch near where I was standing. I already had one camera on a tripod, so I put my warm coat on and buttoned it up.


I noticed that the Northern Hawk Owl was always sitting on exposed perches for a quite a while and that it didn’t seem all that shy. It almost seemed that the Northern Hawk Owl didn’t give a damn if a person was around. She just took one look at me and then continued chasing for prey. Once it was promptly successful with a fat Vole (Microtus agrestis), which then dangled from her beak. A very fruitful photo afternoon. In any case, it could be photographed extensively for a good 2 hours.


To cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic Bird-Lens is keen to enrich the range of pictures of birds you can find in the western palearctic and beyond.  Trips to places like this one to capture images not only of rare birds of western palearctic were very successful. The nice image of the blog is only a first impression, what you will find in the gallery in the “Picture Shop” very soon. Just give bird-lens.com a message, if bird-lens.com could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.

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