A special night visitor

Southern Boobook Owl

Southern Boobook Owl

Last night we had a wonderful visitor to our garden. Just before we turned on the television we heard the unmistakeable call of a Southern Boobook Owl in our garden. I immediately grabbed a powerful torch and head outside. Unfortunately the bird not only stopped calling, it must have flown off. I searched a few of the trees where I thought that the sound had been coming from but to no avail. Never mind, it was good to hear it and know that this species is still around.

It was a special visitor because we are so infrequently aware of this species of owl in our garden or in our little patch of mallee scrub about 80km east of Adelaide, South Australia. We actually hear it only a few times a year – at best. I guess we should switch off the television more often. Or perhaps I should head off with a torch and walk the “estate” more often – all five acres of it!

Because the bird we heard last night did not hang around very long, there was no opportunity to grab the camera for a photo. The photo above – possibly the same bird – was taken in one of our trees a year or so ago. On that occasion the bird obligingly posed for two photos.

Update October 13th: we heard it again this evening. This time it was closer to the house and we had a good view of it – twice in a few days is special.

Other nocturnal birds

Below is a list of nocturnal birds I have recorded on our property. Click on each to go to articles and photos of them.

Great Birding Moments #1 Spotted Nightjar

From time to time birders – like anyone passionate about a hobby or interest – experience great defining moments. These special events could include:

  • The moment when one sees an elusive species for the very first time.
  • When one sees a favourite bird in all its colourful splendour, lit by the bright sunlight and perched picture perfect in full view.
  • When a photograph of a bird turns out just right.
  • When one has waited or searched patiently for a particular species, only to find it flitting around the car you left hours before your search began. (That happened to me with the Rufous Fantail once.)
  • When one has a good view of a rare or hard to find species (like the Lyrebird following me down the track on Royal National Park near Sydney – it may be common to birders in that region but they are only found in the zoo here in South Australia).

My list could go on. One species I’d only had fleeting views of – and then only in the headlights of the car at speed at night – is the Spotted Nightjar. A few weeks ago I found (with some help from a friend) a single Spotted Nightjar roosting on the ground at the Pangarinda Arboretum (Click here for the full story).

Spotted Nightjar

Spotted Nightjar