09/06/18. Young Long Eared Owls. Dalmunzie Castle hotel estate. Glenshee, Cairngorm National Park.

I left my recorder and microphones on a ridge overlooking a small cluster of pine trees to capture the “squeaky gate” call of the young long eared owls. This short extract was from about 11:00pm; it was not yet dark, but the sun was down.

The calls are from the young to their parents. They want to be fed. Each bird calls every 4-5 seconds; this goes on for hours. The recording captures at least 2, possibly 3 in different places in the wood.

All around are the sounds of the evening: a little water sound from Shee Water; lots of noisy sheep; some oyster catchers. The sheep and owls seem to alternate. At about 3:19, there is a curious grunting bird call that lasts for a few seconds. It is a woodcock!

And, many thanks to Chris Watson and Jez Riley French for organising and leading the Murmurations workshop/gathering; and also to the participants who also provided such inspiration and fantastic company.

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