Suburban probable Powerful Owl

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Subject: Suburban probable Powerful Owl
From: "J G KROHN" <>
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 2000 23:21:53 +1000
Last night, outside my parents' home in Glen Iris (about 10 km ESE of Melbourne CBD) at about 11 pm, a Brush-tailed Possum made its way into dense cover in the foliage of a tall Melaleuca from the much more open canopy of a neighbouring Eucalypt.  A minute or two later, just as I started my car, my father heard in the distance to the north a Ninox type call - as I was inside the car I missed it.  We listened carefully for a couple of minutes, but heard no more, and I got back into the car to leave.  Almost immediately a very large, dark Owl flew from the north, over the car (which was parked next to the Melaleuca) and low over the roof of the house to disappear into the darkness beyond.  There was a fair bit of ambient light at the time due to nearby street-lights and a pale, overcast sky, so we could see the silhouette clearly.  No colours were visible, and the bird was past us before we picked it up so it wasn't possible to pick up markings on the underparts.  The back and upper wings seemed uniformly dark.  It looked much larger than a Boobook - it followed a similar path over the roof and at a similar height that the resident Magpies use in the daytime and it looked considerably broader in the wing and bulkier than they do, although I know that night estimates of size can be deceptive.  We only had it in sight for a couple of seconds, but it's hard to think of anything else but another of the wandering Powerful Owls that seem to drift through Melbourne's suburbs around this time of year.
There has been the odd Boobook sighting in the area in recent years, occasionally a Barn Owl drifts through, and in the past year or two the Tawny Frogmouths seem to have returned, but never before has there been a Powerful Owl in Glen Iris that I've heard of.  It would be interesting to know if anyone else has seen or heard one around since the one in the Fitzroy Gardens took itself off.
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