Owl ID Query

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Owl ID Query
From: knightl <>
Date: Sat, 15 Feb 2003 17:33:58 +1000
OK, here's the scenario

Leanne and I were picking our way down a rainforest gully when we flushed a pale looking owl from [what I think was] the stem end of a piccabeen frond. I had time to say [deleted] 'that's an owl' before it flew down the gully.

Sizewise, it was comparable to a tawny frogmouth, and from what I could see of it as it was flying through the canopy reminded me a bit of a night heron. I didn't get to see it through the knockerlockers, and when I flushed it a second time while creeping down the gully it flew of high and out of sight [couldn't see it land].

The bottom line is that seen from the front, my impression was of a white/grey bird and I did find a feather and some mouse-sized bone fragments below its perch. The feather looks like a chest feather. It is a bit over 4 cm long. The first 2.5 cm is a very downy white with a bit of a grey fringe. The last 2 cm is a mid-grey. Most of the grey section is fairly continuous, but the barb tips [last 2-3 mm] are all distinct.

The rainforest habitat might suggest a sooty, but the bird seemed a bit pale, and I don't think sooties roost out in the open [don't know if they eat mice]. The paleness of the bird and the mouse bones suggest a barn owl, but I'm not sure if you get barn owls in rainforest gullies. I believe you might get pale morph masked owls in SE Qld, but do they hang out in rainforest gullies?

Regards, Laurie.

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