A history of the Owl Land is coming shortly, in the meantime you can view the latest Owl Land Updates here.
Owl Lands Update – A bad year for babies!
The image in this newsletter is the first clear image we have of the ONLY baby Powerful Owl hatched this year in the Mount Evelyn District that we know off. From four breeding pairs monitored to date we can conclude that it has been a very tough year for the owls. The Reserve Breeding pair appear to have changed hollows this year but because they are usually the most successful pair – usually exhibiting twins we have determined most of the factors at each site for the lack of successful breeding. The drought conditions extended well into Autumn and beyond.
Although we are only currently in receipt of approx. 60% of our annual rainfall the Winter and Spring nocturnal temperatures were much lower. The combination of a harsh drought affecting the breeding of nocturnal food sources viz. Ringtail Possums, Gliders and Brushies and then much colder nights resulted in a severe deficiency in their food chain. However Clare and Franc believe that increased human interference is also playing an important part.
The Quinn Reserve pair we believe are easily disturbed by human habitation and possibly by the broad spraying that occurred at a critical time close to their habitat. Although they appear to be a juvenile pair, early indications due to the number of ‘pellets’ observed below their hollow demonstrated that the female was being fed for some time which suggests she was ‘sitting’ but that it may have been only one egg and we know that stressed birds often leave the nest when any further disturbance occurs. This can be fatal for fertilized eggs in extremely cold and elevated areas.
The Owl land pair have moved further down from the Owl Land and are presently in an area which is increasingly being impacted by Human interference – viz. Motor bikes and Horse Riders. Early indications in Lower Hazel St. and Hunter Rd. were promising but although ‘whitewash’ sites were significant we cannot locate the birds to date. The reports from Lower Bailey Road have also been unremarkable to date.
The impacts on the Owls in the Reserve cannot be allowed to continue without it being addressed by both DSE and the Council in a timely manner as it is critically urgent to keep the pair/ pairs(?) at this site. The Recreational Master Plan must take account of this immediately and we believe that the Lower ‘Oval’ which is actually the ‘Picnic Camp reserve’ anyway should be immediately removed from the Master Plan forthwith. To what degree the ‘Children’s Camp’ is affecting this is becoming a source of concern as well.
We should ask that a ESO and HO be applied asap Any development in this area is not warranted, fulfills the recreational needs presently required and any further earthworks or development plans are NOT negotiable by MEEPPA.