Archive for the 'Owls Frogmouths and Nightjars' Category

A little night time visitor

Australian Owlet-nightjar

Australian Owlet-nightjar

Last night we were watching television with the lounge door open; it was a pleasant summer’s night. During a particularly quiet segment of the show we were watching we suddenly heard the churring call of our “resident” Australian Owlet-nightjar.

“He’s still around,’ we both cried out.

Now I need to clarify a few points here:

  • I use the word “our” loosely. It is a wild bird in the natural environment so we do not own it.
  • I am not sure if this particular bird is actually a resident on our 5 acre property. We do hear it often enough to think that it is here most days, but have no proof of that.
  • I have no idea if it is a male or female – to call it “he” is more of a generic term.

Over recent months we have not heard this bird calling many times at all, so it was delightful to hear the call last night. I like to think that it is quite contented living around here most of the time.

A few years ago one bird – perhaps the same one – took up occupation of a significant hollow in one of our mallee trees in our back yard. Amusingly, during the cool winter months it would emerge from the hollow every morning around 11am and sun itself in the opening of the hollow, call a few times and then retreat to sleep until evening. Sometimes we would even hear it calling again as it went out feeding during the night., being mostly a nocturnal species. It was on one of those occasions that I was able to sneak up closer for a photo (shown above).

Over the last two summers the hollow has come under the “ownership” of a pair of Mallee Ringneck parrots who have successfully added to their family each time. Lately they have been busy feeding two very persistent young ones which have recently fledged.

Further reading:

 

A pleasant welcome

I meant to write about this last night but somehow became distracted by a movie. We are currently staying with our daughter in Clare in the mid-north of South Australia. Last night she showed us an interesting movie, one we hadn’t seen before, and the evening went without an update here.

We arrived here two evenings ago after appointments in Mt Barker on the way. Our daughter had dinner ready for us when we arrived, so I left the unpacking of the car until later. As I braved the frosty air I noticed the moon rising over the nearby hills; one of those crisp, clear winter evenings so common in the Clare Valley – except that it is now early spring. Oh well.

As I unloaded the car a Willie Wagtail called from a nearby garden, a common enough sound on moonlit nights. A few minutes later the Willie Wagtail’s call was accompanied by the distinctive “boo-book” call of the Southern Boobook Owl. It was probably calling from one of the larger eucalyptus trees in a nearby reserve.

It was too cold – and I was too tired – to track it down to get a photo, so I’ve used one taken some time ago in our own garden.

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Southern Boobook Owl

Southern Boobooks at the Australian Reptile Park

Southern Boobook owls at Australian Reptile Park

Southern Boobook owls at Australian Reptile Park

Over the last week or so I have been sharing photos of birds taken during a recent family visit to the Australian Reptile Park near Gosford north of Sydney.

This series continues today with the photo above of two Southern Boobook owls roosting in their aviary. Boobooks are widely spread in Australia and are a well-known species because of their “boo-book” call ringing through the bushland and even in suburban gardens.

We recently had one calling near our home in Murray Bridge, South Australia. You can read about that here.

Tawny Frogmouths at the Australian Reptile Park

Tawny Frogmouth

Tawny Frogmouth

On our recent visit to the Australian Wildlife Park near Gosford north of Sydney, I was pleased that a part of their collection of animals included birds. In fact, some of the birds were in walk-through aviaries. Such cages are good opportunities to get good photos of species it would be hard to obtain with animals in the wild.

One of the aviaries featured owls and frogmouths. I’ll show the owls in another post in a few days’ time.

Tawny Frogmouths, as shown in today’s post (above and below) are one of my favourite birds. Ever since a family Easter camp in the 1986 at Hattah-Kulkyne National Park in north-west Victoria we have loved these birds. On that occasion one decided to roost on a branch above our tent and call for quite a while during the night. Once we worked out what it was, the constant oom-oom-oom call soothingly put us to sleep.

We have occasionally heard and seen this species in our garden at home in Murray Bridge, South Australia. Because of its soft call we do not hear it if the television is going in the evening. Perhaps that is a good reason for occasionally switching it off.

Tawny Frogmouth

Tawny Frogmouth

 

Tawny Frogmouth in Artarmon, Sydney

My wife and I are currently staying with our son and family in Artarmon, a suburb of Sydney in New South Wales. Our two grandchildren, ages 5 and nearly 3 are taking an increasing interest in birds, due mainly from my influence. I often have my binoculars out looking at the birds seen in their garden or in nearby parks.

Last week my son was removing some clothes from the clothesline after dark. As he was getting the clothes off, he realised that he was being watched from the top of the clothesline a mere two metres away. From his own observations he instantly recognised it as a Tawny Frogmouth.

The bird stayed on the clothesline as he chatted quietly to it, removing the clothes slowly. As he turned to go inside, the bird silently flew off. He remarked to me how silently it departed.

Two nights ago the bird returned; I am assuming it was the same bird. Again it was perched on top of the clothesline. This time the grandchildren were still awake, so in turn I picked them up and quietly approached the clothesline. Each of them had good views of the bird before it silently flew off into the night.

Wonderful.

I didn’t get a photograph as I was more interested in letting the children see the bird. Below is a photo taken in a friend’s garden in the Adelaide Hills several years ago.

 

Tawny Frogmouth

Tawny Frogmouth