After a tip-off, Paul Holt, Alice Carfrae and I spent yesterday evening looking for an owl… not just any owl but a Northern Boobook (formerly known as Brown Hawk Owl but now ‘split’ into a species in its own right). We arrived on site at 6pm and, after a short walk, we soon heard and saw, spectacularly well, this lovely owl: the first time I have ever seen this uncommon species. Unfortunately it was an overcast evening, meaning the light was poor for photography, but it was also very still, enabling us to hear it well.
Although we only saw one bird, it was clear that there were two birds present, probably a pair, with the other bird (a female?) calling at a slightly different pitch.
We were then told about a nearby breeding pair of Oriental Scops Owl and, sure enough, after a 5-minute walk, we were watching and listening to one of these small owls in the company of a few uncomfortably large, low flying bats. Although Oriental Scops Owl is a migrant in good numbers through Beijing, we didn’t know it bred….
There is so little we know about the birds in the capital, let alone the rest of China….!