Last weekend, I explored a new patch (look here) along the Red River, located approximately 20km upstream of Hanoi. A wonderful area, hundreds of hectares of grasslands, reeds, sandbars, mudflats, ponds… with no hunters, no 4x4…. I didn’t see much birds at this time (it was at noon) but I promised myself to come back. It is just the kind of place where you feel there is something great to find…
As I was walking between the soft sand and the grassy terrace, I bumped into 3 Short-eared Owls that were roosting at the feet of a clump of grass. I flushed them at very close distance (10m). I managed to get some shots, but all - except one - are blurry !
Very excited, I decided to check the nearby thick grass terrace. After 200-300m walking through high blade grass, I flushed 2 other owls at a very very short distance (3m!), in a patch with sparse bushes.
They flew up from a bush in which I found, on the ground, a nest with 7 eggs! The birds flew a short distance ahead (ca 50) and put down again in the thick vegetation. I noticed that the face was very like Barn Owl. I phoned immediately to Falk, who was busy with his bears. “ Does the Barn Owl nests sometimes on the ground ?”, I asked stupidly. ”No, but the Grass Owl does”; he answered. Grass Owl ? I must confess that it was the first time I heard about this species.