Powerful Owl death stare!

Some of the restrictions on Melburnians have now been relaxed. I hope we're not being too optimistic. But this morning, I found that we're allowed "outdoor photography". Close enough to birding, let's go!

I was very twitchy, so I decided to go to Banyule Flats. This is the best birding in my area, mainly due to the variety of habitats found there. Banyule is on a floodplain of the Yarra, just below the confluence of the Plenty River. It has a relatively large lake, extensive reed beds (that provided a Painted Snipe a few years back), a chain of billabongs, riparian trees, open grassland and of course, the Yarra itself.

It also has, famously, a couple of Powerful Owl roosts. I've seen lots of Powerful Owls before, but one more would always be good. So when I arrived I made a beeline for the spot (which I'll be vague about...). The long grass around the owl tree had been trampled in places, so I clearly wasn't the first birdo here.

It always takes a while to find the birds in the canopy. They're very large, but pretty well camouflaged. They're also potentially dangerous, as I wrote a little while back. The sky was bright with hazy clouds, and I squinted into the canopy, and eventually found not one, but two owls, one with the remnants of last night's meal. Spring has definitely sprung!

I did a slow lap of the park and came back to find that one of the owls was being hassled by a few Pied Currawongs. The owl didn't seem too fussed - it'd moved a bit, but the Currawongs hadn't chased it away. It did produce a great death stare at one stage though - Julie Bishop would've been proud!

Other birds at Banyule included both Spotted and Striated Pardalotes, Rufous Whistler, Sacred Kingfisher, Common Bronzewing, as well as a host of others, including the usual suspects. There's also mobs of wallabies there.