I kept to Maridalen again (and why not?). Much was the same as yesterday with the Scaup and Tufteds still on the lake but in a different bay (water levels have risen quite a lot after recent rain so feeding conditions may be changing). The recent rain combined with a return to freezing temperatures left the roads very slippery and were harder to walk on than to drive on.
Both the Great Grey Shrikes were present and three flocks of Fieldfares were the most numerous bird. The undoubted highlight though was a very close encounter with a Pygmy Owl. I was made aware of its presence by a number of tits alarm calling although wasn’t quite sure what I was going to find. This is my first Pygmy Owl since the spring and I’ve had my eyes out for them recently without finding any. As the winter progresses though they should become more visible. As I tried to get closer to this bird I had a mouse run over the path in front of me so no doubt why it was where it was. I was able to get very close to it as its concentration was on the ground below it. It also called a couple of times.
I got so close that I couldn’t fit the whole bird into the 500mm and had to zoom out. Despite being so close though the light today was so bad that I was forced to have very low shutter speeds to avoid too high ISO and the pictures bear evidence of this. None the less when you burn off a couple of hundred pictures you are bound to find one or two that you are happy with. I didn’t have the superzoom with me but took some handheld video through the bazooka and I don’t think it’s too sh*t but if you watch until the end you’ll see the owls opinion.