Beach shacks and lazy summer days along the fabulous Australian Coastline, you got to love it, hey…!
Photo’s: Baz, Kangaroo Island, Southern Australia.
Janet and I think of this area as our ‘backyard’ and over many years we have walked and kayaked through this area, which is little more than 20-kilometres north of the Sydney CBD. And yet, this was a first time spotting for us of the powerful owl, which is Australia’s largest, in this location.
Although, it is a familiar bird for us as we have visitations from one into the local park opposite our home. In fact, I heard our resident owl calling just a few nights ago…
Following my sighting of the bird last week I made contact with Beth Mott, Project Officer for the Powerful Owl Project with Birdlife Australia who was excited to review the area and to glean if there is a pair that might be raising a young chick.
So today, Janet, myself and Beth set off along the track to see if we could find any further signs of inhabitation.
Janet and I were on a steep learning curve when it came to bird observation, but Beth, who holds a Degree in Conservation Biology, and who has undertaken a PhD study on ‘Animal Community Dynamics’, enthusiastically showed us many of the ‘telltale’ signs to look for.
Um, that includes bird vomit and droppings, you know, poo!
Beth’s enthusiasm was infectious and on our walk she went on to explain…
“We aim to locate Powerful Owl breeding pairs within urban Greater Sydney, which also includes Newcastle in the north to Kiama in the south and west to the Blue Mountains.
We also aim to identify the location of nesting trees and record breeding behaviour and success.
This information will help determine the critical roosting and breeding requirements of urban Powerful Owls. We are collecting data on diet and foraging habitat to gain a greater understanding of their urban ecology, as well as look at threats (causes of injury and mortality) within the urban landscape.”
We were surprised to learn that there is estimated to be only around 400 Powerful Owls in the Greater Sydney Region and around 5,000 in Australia, and that puts them only one notch above being an “endangered species”.
Powerful Owls have a slow; double-note ‘whoo-hoo’ call that is soft, but very strong and resonant, and which can be heard more than 1-kilometre away. And the most common time to hear them is when they “wake” to a new day, at least for them, around dusk…
So if you hear that sound, take the time to look around your ‘backyard’ you might just find a special visitor, and if you do observe one, be sure to let the good people at Birdlife Australia know…
Photos: Baz – The Landy, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Bobbin Head.
Recently, I was contacted by a researcher from Germany who is doing a thesis on a bird that I grew up with in Northern Australia and one that will be familiar too many, the Zebra Finch, and they were keen to use this photograph in their paper.
It is a favourite photograph of mine that showcases this wonderful bird in all its splendour…!
Photo: Baz – The Landy, Outback Australia
ps: I had about one-second to get this shot away before they flittered away – the wonders of continuous shooting…!
And hey, take my word for it…!
I worked in Malanda in the late 1970s and lived in this very pub.
Today, I had my first meal in the Malanda Hotel in almost 40-years and I am pleased it is still owned by the same people, the English family, and it is as grand as I always remember it. And how good is that silky-oak timber.
Um, yeah, a touch of reminiscing going on here…!
But hey, the past is what makes up the mosaic of whom we are today, right…!
Cheers, Baz – The Landy, in Far North Queensland…