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I have been regularly visiting Mandelieu La Napoule on France’s Côte d’Azur for many years and have become accustomed to the soundscapes of this part of the world, many of which I have already shared on the World Sounds website. One of the signature sounds I always heard during the summer months was the call of the Eurasian Scops Owl and in late spring 2021 I finally managed to record this beautiful sound.

This is one of those soundscapes that, when I put on a pair of headphones and close my eyes, teleports me straight to the location. It took me many years to understand what animal was making this call. Originally I thought it was an amphibian, but after some time researching online I learnt it was actually an owl.

Recording this soundscape was a challenge. At the time, France was in the midst of a high wave of Coronavirus cases and the government had just introduced an evening curfew. Scops owls begin calling after dusk, so successfully recording them meant sneaking around after curfew. The second challenge was getting close enough to the owls, they are all perched in the large trees on the Old Golf Course, meaning I had to jump over the fence and head into the heart of the golf course at night.

Most of the golf course is closed off by a high fence but I had found an easy entrance point close to the main road. After heading out one evening I managed to get into the golf course without seeing anyone. I headed along a winding path until I reached a large forested area where I heard a pair of owls calling out. I set my mics up, ran some long cables to a covered area and settled down to record. It is such a calm, melodic, repetitive call that I sat for a long time just listening. I hope listeners out there will enjoy this soundscape.