Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Tawny Frogmouths at night

The moon and Venus above the female frogmouth
I was out watching the frogmouths last night with Steph and Matt. There were a pair which appeared with fledged chicks last year from an unknown nest site, so we staked out the area at dusk. The female was calling from her daytime roost perch for ten-fifteen minutes as the light faded. Then as it became truly dark she shifted to another perch and continued to call her rapid repeating 'ooom-ooom'. The call is distinctive, but so soft, we wondered how far away her mate was. The call only carried to our ears for about fifty metres. Do they do so to avoid attracting attention from their main night-time predator, the Powerful Owl? Then the male swooped in silently from the shadows and landed right next to her. She twitched her tail, he jumped onto her back and they mated for a minute or so. He then went off and hunted, catching an insect from some foliage up in a tree. She flew over to their nest site and continued to call. 

So, we accomplished our quest to find the nest site and all this happened in about half an hour immediately at the onset of true darkness. There is so much to see in the dark.

The distinctive silhouette of a Tawny Frogmouth - a broad, bushy head and a tapering tail 

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