Toolangi Masked Owl - not.

To: "Steve Davidson" <>, <>
Subject: Toolangi Masked Owl - not.
From: "Tim Dolby" <>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 13:25:27 +1100
Interestingly a friend of mine said that they'd recently had some
Sooty's come into a Masked Owl call in far-east Gippsland. It was in an
area where both species resident. I reckon all the Tytonidae / barn owl
complex are the same bird anyway and should be clumped (with the
exception of the Phodilinae or bay owls ;-)

Also no need to apologies: I reckon you've just gone from being a good
birder to an excellent birder! Excellent birders follow-up and
substantiate and are willing to change their call and admit errors. And
the thon's just a silly bit of (environmentally sensitive) competitive
fun, used for raising funds for ornithological conservation.



To all Birding Aus subscribers who may be concerned,

I and a fellow birder recently competed in the Victorian Twitchathon on
Nov 10&11.  We had heaps of fun and saw some quality birds.  However one
bird that we heard at Toolangi State Forest was claimed as Masked Owl,
purely on the nature of the call and my previous experience with the
species. The site being re-visited a week later in an attempt to
re-locate and see the bird resulted in the appearance of none other than
a Sooty Owl, uttering the same call as was heard a week prior.  Assuming
this was the same bird as heard during the Twitchathon, I am retracting
the original record of Masked Owl, and replacing this with Sooty Owl.

I would like to offer an apology to those who may have attempted to go
and find this bird in the belief that it was a Masked Owl, and I hope
that it has not caused great inconvenience to anyone.  The claim was
made by me and not my birding colleague.

Out of interest, does anyone have any first-hand experience with a Sooty
Owl call that is virtually identical to the regular Masked Owl call, ie
a long, unwavering, heavy screech with the occasional slight upward
I've not heard a Sooty call in this manner ever and am wondering if it
may be a juvenile bird uttering either a begging or contact call, with
intervals between each screech of about 5-10 seconds.  The bird in
question called this way relentlessly for at least half an hour during
the Twitchathon visit, and for at least an hour last weekend.  It was
still calling as we left the area.

Again, apologies to all concerned.

Good Birding

Steve Davidson

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