Great Birding Moments #32: my first Powerful Owl sighting
2007 Australian Capital Territory trip report #14
During the weeks before departing on our holiday in the eastern states in September, I had read of reports of various birds present in the Canberra region. I had subscribed to the local birding newsgroup, Canberra Birds, on the internet. One of the birds that interested me was a Powerful Owl in the Australian National Botanic Gardens. I also knew that this was one of the places we were definitely planning to visit. As the day approached I had a great deal of excited anticipation. You see, I’d never seen a Powerful Owl ever before. Everyone was saying how easy it was to see this individual roosting in one of the trees near the Visitor Centre of the gardens.
I was determined to find this bird all by myself; a foolish notion in retrospect. The gardens are extensive and there are literally thousands of suitable trees or bushes where this bird might have decided to roost. Finding it was probably right up there with the proverbial needle. Pride does funny things to you. It also prevents you from seeing some really interesting birds.
Near the end of our visit my wife struck up a conversation with one of the volunteers doing some weeding. When I came around the corner with my binoculars at the ready he instantly, in a flash of recognition, realised I was a birder. “Have you seen the Powerful Owl?” he immediately interrogated. When I replied in the negative he gave me some simple instructions as to where to find said bird. It was less than 50 metres from where we stood. I found it easily. Another “lifer.”
I do not think my pride suffered any major dents that afternoon.
When in doubt – ask.
- Great Birding Moments – my archives of other great birding moments.