Re: birding-aus Powerful Owl & the Eastern Freeway Extension

To: "Paul McDonald" <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus Powerful Owl & the Eastern Freeway Extension
From: "Nigel Sterpin" <>
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1999 19:42:45 +1100
I and my wife also sighted a pair of Powerful Owls (either about to breed or already done so) in the Mullum-Mullum Valley region of Donvale on Sunday night, March 7th. We are probably going to go back again in the near future.
There was a public meeting on Thursday the 4th, regarding the Eastern Freeway Extension from Springvale Rd to Maroondah Hwy, Ringwood. VicRoads has proposed a short tunnel (about 700 metres) under the more environmentally sensitive areas of the Mullum-Mullum region. However, the 500 people at the meeting (@ Whitehorse Council Offices), voted unanimously to pursue a long tunnel option to preserve more land and wildlife. The Powerful Owl is just one of the animals in danger of the VicRoads proposal. The issue is cost, potentially an extra $150 million for the long tunnel proposal (approx.. 3.2km long). I raised the point that any 'extra' cost could be covered by tolls (user pay system).
I ask you all to get behind the push to save this area.
Letters can be directed to the Minister for Planning - Rob McLellan or directly to the Premier himself, Jeff Kennett.
PS: Could someone let me know of the female student (or her email address) at Deakin University doing a thesis on the study of the Powerful Owls in the Mullum-Mullum? She may want to know of my sighting.
Thanx & uroo, Nigel Sterpin
-----Original Message-----
From: Paul McDonald <>
To: <>
Cc: <>; <m("","penny.olsen");">>
Date: Friday, March 05, 1999 8:15 AM
Subject: birding-aus Powerful Owl

Hi all,

Finally stopped procrastinating about it and went to look for Ninox strenua at the well known spot at Epping. 15 mins after leaving the office and I was looking at an adult eating the lower half remains of last nights meal, a Common Ringtail Possum (Pseudocheirus? peregrinus (from memory)). Fantastic sight to watch this magnificent bird eat a whole hind leg in one gulp! Amazing! Sat and watched it (from size a female, but I can't be sure) for a couple of hours. After many attempts at finding it during the night, and half dozen times hearing their enormous call, to see one during the day was absolutely great. It was perched in the coachwood as I had been told, and was a very sleepy customer!

While Rufous Owls do look meaner, these birds have some serious beaks and talons, the size and thickness of the tarsus alone was incredible. And the wings!!!!!!!!!!! It reminded me very much of a huge peregrine, with the distinct owl head shape being the least obvious in comparison with every other Australian owl, in my opinion.

Just a note to say that this bird was definitely worth the wait for me, and to thank all those birders that made this sight known. It has definitely reinforced my opinion that if I am reincarnated as an animal, I want to be on the owl end not the mammal one!

Cheers, Paul
Paul McDonald
Department of Biological Sciences
Macquarie University, Sydney NSW, 2109
Phone: (02) 9850 8191 Fax: (02) 9850 8245
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