The Living World - Birds of the Taiga
Chris Sperring visits Sweden in the depths of winter, where with local guides he sets off in search of birds from the arctic including the hawk owl.
In January Sweden can be a cold and inhospitable place. Despite winter temperatures dropping to minus 15 southern Sweden is alive with birdlife which, like in Britain, heads south from the high arctic to the relatively warmer climate of Scandinavia. For this week's Living World, Chris Sperring travels to the Vastmanlan area of Sweden where the huge taiga forests begin, forests that stretch east all the way to Alaska. Travelling 40 km north of the town Vasteras he meets up with Torbjorn Hegedus a local ornithologist and Tom Arnbom from WWF Sweden to head out for the day and see what birds they come across in this snowy wooded landscape.
In the taiga birch woodland pygmy owl is a common species which Torbjorn attempts to lure down with a series of calls. This calling brings down crested tit, coal tit and a whole host of species, feeding in the woods. Penetrating deeper into the woods rewards the trio with a sighting of a hawk owl, a true specialist of the high arctic, but if that wasn't enough excitement for a day, pine grosbeaks come and mob the hawk owl. A wonderful example of the varied birdlife that can be seen in that area of Sweden which is at the same latitude as Shetland.