Jops and I have been waiting for the family of Philippine Scops-Owls that spent many nights in their backyard last year. We weren't really actively looking for them since it was still a few months early from when we last saw them (we saw them April last year.)
Call it a brilliant stroke of birding luck, but Jops was able to hear the call of the immature Philippine Scops-Owl when he drove his mom to church one evening. He was able to spot three immature owls and got glimpses of the adults too!
Intermittent viewing schedules for birders and bird photographers were organized soon after. Each trip offered different experiences with the owls. On one night, the adult owl perched really low and in the open, showing off a dead, headless rat in its claw. It then proceeded to feed it in chunks to its three hungry owlets. Yum.
As they days wore on, the owlets were becoming more and more active, flying from tree to tree. It made for more difficult views and photos but still an experience in itself. I tried for several trips to take a photo of any of the owls but failed miserably. When the owls did show well, I didn't have my camera with me! =(
Finally, last Thursday, Jops and I accompanied Adri, Trinket, and Singaporean birder Albert to view the owl family. We decided to go to the area a bit earlier than usual and hope to see them before they actively flew around. I was a bit anxious since I did not want to go home empty-handed yet again. But I was blessed this time =)
We were able to see the three young owls and one adult owl perched in a line on a high branch, partially hidden by branches and leaves.
|From left to right: adult owl, young owl, young owl, young owl|
We spent some time watching the owls through our bins and through the scope. We could see them beginning to stir from their perches, the young ones moving their heads in a circular motion. As the sun began to set, they started moving to different branches but still staying close to each other.
|Do you still see the four owls? And can you see the immature owl|
with a cute (or creepy) 90° turn of the head?
After just seconds, they all moved a bit further away from each other. By this time, the sun had almost completely set and the light was fading on us.
|The adult owl perched out in the open while|
two of the young owls perched above it.
And then in an instant, they all flew off in different directions! We were able to track the adult owl to where it perched and it sat quietly, looking around while the young owls continuously pssssst-ed around us. It transferred to another low tree before it flew away into the night. The young owls were continuously calling but were very hard to spot as they moved to higher parts of the trees. Before we left, we were able to get one more glimpse of the owls before they flew off again.
It would be nice to think that these owls are the next generation from the owl family we saw last year. Hopefully, they will continue to breed and allow us birdwatchers to see them as they grow and raise their families in the middle of a bustling city.