Bushwalking is for the Birds
The major highlight of Dot Gallagher's Botanical Gardens walk on August 11th was the sighting of a Powerful Owl. As its name suggests, the Powerful Owl is a large bird, Australia's third largest raptor behind the Wedge-tailed Eagle and Sea Eagle, and larger than any other eagle, falcon or kite.
Dot was fortunate to see the owl as it is a nocturnal hunter and spends much of the day roosting high in the treetops. Its main food sources are the Greater Glider and the Ring-tailed Possum, and it needs to consume the equivalent of one large possum every three days in order to survive.
August 11th must have been a good day for birds, because while Dot was watching her Powerful Owl, John Souter was leading a group of 19 under the cliffs between Pointer Gap Lookout and Florance Head, which got up close and personal with a Lyrebird chick which was safely ensconced in its nest beside the track. There was only one chick in the nest because lyrebirds only lay one egg per breeding season.
The Powerful Owl and the baby Lyrebird have not been the only birding highlights on recent walks. Karen Davis led 13 Shoalhaven Bushwalkers on a birdwatching walk around Booderee NP on August 1st, spotting (or hearing) 32 different bird species, including a wonderful look at an Eastern Bristlebird (an endangered species) and a couple of extended and close sightings of two Peregrine Falcons, both while they were perched and in flight.
(Ettremist - August 2004)