28 July 2021

GECKO; African Grass Owl's

25 June 2021 - GECKO Conservancy

I was really happy to be able to join the team along with EWT for the last outing of this breeding season to ring, measure and weigh 4 remaining youngsters at one of the sites within our conservancy.

Three of the four youngsters were already able to fly, albeit only a short distance, so we had our work cut out to ensure we safely secured all four.

Juvenile African Grass Owl (Tyto capensis)

Safely back in the tunnel nest after being ringed and a fitting end to this successful season.

Juvenile African Grass Owl (Tyto capensis)

The adult birds were present, but not in the same location as the youngsters. The adults are still feeding the young, but soon they will be independent and old enough to hunt for themselves

African Grass Owl (Tyto capensis)

Part of the team then went to check the adults at another location and to ensure the site was still preserved and the adults present. We found and confirmed that the pair were still at this site

African Grass Owl (Tyto capensis)

But a little later a Pied Crow, flew low and one of the adults flushed again and this time was pursued aggressively by the Crow. Luckily, it escaped with some nifty aerial maneuvers before diving into cover. These are but one of the hazards these vulnerable Owls have to endure

African Grass Owl (Tyto capensis)

Pied Crow (Corvus albus) in pursuit; 1st attempt

2nd attempt

Evasive action

Walking back to our cars, we had a bonus fly-by of a Black Sparrowhawk clutching a prey item together with the perch it may have been roosting on - a great bird for the pentad.

Black Sparrowhawk (Accipiter melanoleucus)

Until next season and we keep fingers crossed the winter fires will not decimate the few sites we are monitoring.

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