Monday, August 18, 2008

Heyfield Birdwatchers - August '08

G’day Blogworld,
Yesterday, five Heyfield Birdwatchers ventured into ‘Owl’ Creek. Fortunately we had two 4-wheel drive vehicles with us, so the journey down and especially back up, was made a lot easier. (Thanks John and Duncan.)

As we set off, I was quickly put under notice that my position as ‘coordinator of the group’, not a very highly paid position mind you, was in jeopardy if we didn’t get an owl. DF and I had seen Powerful Owls in this location on several occasions, but despite previous visits by the other three members of the group, the owls had been noticeably absent.

We hadn’t proceeded far before we had some pretty good ‘ticks’ – Wedge-tailed Eagle, Satin Bowerbird, Lyrebird, Crescent Honeyeater, Golden Whistler, Eastern Spinebill, Eastern Whipbird, among them. The birds were quite prolific.

We’d even found a few Greenhood Orchids, which along with the dominating Incense plant, kept the flora fans in the group relatively happy. I was beginning to feel a little relieved. Despite no owls to this point, the day was going pretty well.


As I rounded a bend in the track, I saw the others in camera/binocular ready position.



Could it be I thought? Something really has their undivided attention. Yep, bewdy, there was a Powerful Owl not too many metres away. He wasn’t going to fly off too quickly either, as he had his tucker for the day well and truly in tow, (toe?).

Quite a stunning bird, in a classic position. I don’t know about the others, but I almost filled my camera card there and then. Strange how it works. You have a marvellous subject in focus, you know that after the first few shots you have about as good an image as you are going to get, and yet you keep firing away.

Some Powerful Owl details –
Their range is limited to a thin strip taking in the Great Dividing Range and the coastal forests, from south east South Australia to about Rockhampton in Queensland.

Possums, Gliders, other birds and mammals form its principal diet. It will often hold on to its victim all day before finally consuming it by nightfall.

Powerful Owls are territorial and a pair will normally occupy a permanent range of up to 1000 hectares.

Adult birds can be up to 700mm long. Usually they breed from May to October, nesting in a large hollow trunk or branch of a tree. Their call is a mournful ‘whoo – hoo’. They are classed as uncommon.

Oh, and the victim –
Brushtail Possum, marsupial, can have a body length up to 500mm, plus a tail of around 400mm and weigh around 4 kg. Some meal!

Link - Duncan's Blog

Great day, great company, great result.

Regards,
Gouldiae.

6 comments:

  1. Five very privileged people I'd say. Great pics.

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  2. You and Duncan sure have some good days out. This time, however, would have been exceptional with that owl. I think all of us with digital cameras now do the same thing - keep right on shooting even when we know we pretty well have the perfect shot already. Just occasionally!! the last one is the best!

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  3. G'day Mosura and Mick,
    Yeah, exceptional day. I think we'll remember it for a while. I agree with DF though when he says, "Any day in the bush is a good day."
    Thanks for visiting,
    Gouldiae

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  4. Wonderful outing, well recorded.
    Fantastic to see the Owl with its prey. It must have been a relatively recent capture - late in the night, or more likely, early morning.
    Treasure those images and the memories. I am jealous as hell.
    Denis

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  5. Thanks Denis,
    Yeah, probably a late capture, there was a fair bit of the possum left. It was about 10am when we spotted him. A little bit of research tells me the owl starts by consuming the head, and...'Sometimes it will take the rear end of the animal back to its roost, carefully place it on a branch and hold it all day in its talons, then eat it before leaving the roost in the evening'.
    I guess that's what it was doing when we saw it.

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  6. This is VERY very exciting! Thanks for sharing!

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