Saturday, 11 June 2011

Dusky Eagle-owl

The forest at Bukit Wang in Kedah has provided quite a few outstanding records since my first visit a few years back. Located just within a couple of hours drive away, it is no surprise that this locality instantly became a hotspot for me and most birders from Penang as well. The latest heart-stopping find was a real treat - the Dusky Eagle-owl. Being one of the largest and rarest owls in Malaysia, it was indeed a very significant record.

When the owl revealed to Choo Eng and me that it was also nesting in the vicinity, the discovery elevated to a whole new level. The plot thickened when this breeding pair of Dusky Eagle-owls was seen using the nest site of the Wallace’s Haw-eagles from the previous season. Two rare species using the same nest consecutively. Now, that’s what I call one hot piece of real estate property! It cannot be confirmed if the owls took over an empty nest or they drove away the eagles and any intentions they had to re-use their old nest.

The owls appeared to be quite tolerant if we observe and photograph from an accepted distance. Anyway, it is a known fact that owls will defend their nests quite ferociously and the Dusky Eagle-owl does cut an imposing figure. And those talons look like they could really do considerable damage. I have to admit it that this owl certainly earned my admiration and respect.

In the following months, a few of us birders kept a close tab on the owls and their 2 cuddly chicks. Unfortunately, one of the chicks did not survive and the parent birds doubled their efforts to make sure that the last surviving chick does not perish as well.

The chick did manage to fledge successfully in the end, thus providing a slight but much-needed increase to the population of this majestic nocturnal hunter.


holdingmoments said...

What a great encounter of a beautiful bird. Excellent shots.
I love that fourth one, and the last one.

Anonymous said...

Great photography, love the documentation too, well done CW Mun!

Choy Wai Mun said...

Thanks all for your compliments.

yen said...

In that case, I should make a trip to Bkt Wang soon ; - )

Great Shots.

Choy Wai Mun said...

Dear Yen, the owl family has long disappeared into the forest. You might be in for a disappointment.

Choy Wai Mun said...
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