Boobook has a family!

I always keep an ear open for the call of the boobook owl who lives on the sprawling grounds of my workplace. Every so often, I get to see a flash of his grey wings as he zooms by, no doubt on the hunt for some delicious mouse or moth, but he is a reclusive fellow. I do hear him from afar, though, and sometimes call back to him with the sound that names his kind: “boo-book, boo-book”.

In this past week, I’ve been doing some different duties at work, and its taken me to other areas on the site which I don’t normally see. Since I work afternoon-evenings, it’s been dark by the time I get to these locations. There are plenty of large trees, and so many kinds of birds and even some microbats, that nights are filled with animals sounds and the constant movement of insects and creatures.

In one of the lovely great trees I’ve been walking under each night, I could hear an odd chittering sound from within the branches. It could have been any kind of bird, even one confused by the nearby lighting. I’d stopped and tried to get a peek of the animal before, but my eyes just aren’t made for night-vision, much to my disappointment.

This evening, on the final night of my other responsibilities, I look up again at the faint sounds. Where the branches spread out from the top of the trunk is a wide stump. I hadn’t seen it from this particular angle before. Watching with huge, glistening eyes are two small boobooks! My owl friend has a family of his own!

I was overcome with delight; they were so sweet and bobbed their heads and bodies in a perfectly owly way, watching me as I watched them. They knew I’d seen them, and I thanked them for letting me have such an awesome experience, then wished the family well and continued on my way.

I’m so happy that the boobooks are living in the area and have a lovely, secure nest to raise their young. I really do love animals, but these owls will always have a very special place in my heart.

~A

Cygnets!

We have enjoyed a breeding pair of black swans at the local lake for as long as I remember. They probably aren’t the same pair that were living there when I was a child, but it’s wonderful to still see these amazing birds having a healthy life in our area.

A few weeks ago, we realised only one swan was ever out and about on the water anymore. It wasn’t long before we spotted the mama swan on her nest, hidden away under the branches of a tree overhanging from one of the little islands. She was well protected and very hidden; only the flash of her red beak really gave her away as she carefully inspected her nest as she sat on it.

Every time we go to the lake, we make sure to choose the path that will take us passed the swan on her nest. She’s been diligent and dedicated to incubating her eggs. The black swan has an average nesting time of 40 days, so we knew the time was drawing near for a new batch of babies to arrive.

And they did! Cygnets are super fluffy grey bundles of delight. They are so cute and elegant for a baby bird, and watching the parent swans with their cygnets is very exciting. Mum and dad swan are protective and attentive to their fluffy children, paying mind of the brood at all times.

The last set of cygnets the swans had grew into beautiful black swans, who went on their way to find their own mates. I hope they’re doing well and have guarded their own nests at another body of water this year. And in time, the new babies will do the same thing, and hopefully, I’ll get to see the excitement all over again!

Promise, I’ll remember to take my camera with me next time I go for a walk, too.

~A