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:


Last bird for 2012

Happy New Year to all my readers.

Didn’t get to go out to do any birding yesterday. I was too busy preparing for our New Year’s Eve celebrations. Not that we hold wild, unbridled parties – quite the opposite. We invited six close friends to join us for a barbecue and an evening of unbridled anecdotes, jokes, laughter, serious observations on life and plenty of food. It was low key, relaxed and relatively quiet.

Just before midnight we heard the unmistakable call of “our” Australian Owlet-nightjar in the trees in our garden. It was a wonderful ending to a low-key year of birding. The Owlet-nightjar has been a resident species in our garden for several years now. We don’t always hear it calling, especially when the television is on. Another highlight yesterday was the return of the two Superb Fairy-wrens to our garden; they’d been absent for a few weeks.

I didn’t get a photo of the Owlet-nightjar but I did manage one of this normally nocturnal species a few years ago. You can click here to see a photo.

Related articles:

Australian Owlet-nightjar

Australian Owlet-nightjar

Australian Owlet-nightjar

During recent evenings there have been times when our house and garden are undisturbed by noise. No television and no noisy neighbours – the nearest are about 60 metres from our house. During these times we are aware of the wildlife in our garden – if they call. Last week it was a Brush-tailed Possum – I’ll write about that soon.

Tonight and last night we heard an Australian Owlet-nightjar calling briefly – not long enough to get a torch and track it down. Being nocturnal it had come out of its hiding place to feed. The photo above was taken a few years ago now. It shows “our” nightjar sunning itself in the entrance of its roosting hollow. You don’t often get a chance to see this species in broad daylight.

The Australian Owlet-nightjar looks like a miniature owl. It is only 20 – 24 cm long. It can be found all over Australia but is more often heard than seen.

Australian Owlet-nightjar

Australian Owlet-nightjar

Australian Owlet-nightjar

One of the endearing little birds we have frequenting our garden is the Australian Owlet-nightjar, a small nocturnal bird more often heard than seen. Last night around midnight I was checking my emails because we had been in Adelaide shopping all afternoon and at a dinner in the evening. The house was quiet with no television or music.

From just outside my office I heard this small owl-like bird calling several times. Normally the sounds of the television would drown out its call.

Last year we had one roosting during the day time in a hollow limb of a tree near our house. It would come out most days about mid-morning to sun itself in the opening of the hollow. It would call several times before retreating back into the hollow. This daily habit enabled me to eventually get a reasonable but not brilliant photo.

It is nice to know it is still around.

Good birding.