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Thread: Help Me Identify a Bird

  1. #16
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    can you film it?

  2. #17
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    Maybe. We are looking at at least getting a photo. I do have a telescope and a spotting scope and some binoculars which would aid if the target was stil and if it wasn't nocturnal. Most of the stuff stops being useful at night though so I think we are going to be reduced to a pretty basic camera phone type thing. In our favour though is the fact that the bird is large and slow moving and, lately, the nights have been bright and clear. Liza almost managed to catch a photo the other day but it just went out of sight as she clicked the button, however I'm thinking that if we keep persevering and looking every night we ought to capture it to some extent at least eventually....

  3. #18
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    Well a couple of days ago my emails to various random bird experts* bore some fruit in the form of this email and the ensuing dialogue ....

    I know you say it is not an owl, but I think it may be one—specifically, a Short-eared Owl. Based on eBird records, the species is predominantly found in your area only in the winter. It is the size and color and flies in the manner you described. Also, it is an unusual owl in that it hunts in the open, over grasslands and marshes; its daytime roosts often are in adjacent scrublands.
    Which is definitely interesting. What he says about the behaviour of this bird makes it an almost perfect fit (and is a real eye-opener for me). The only problem is that the pictures and videos I find of this owl don't really look similar to what we've seen - but we've only seen our friend at night and from a fair distance so that's not as big an issue as it first sounds. Also, the problem with videos on youtube of the short-eared owl is that they are always of the exciting (cool) moments when it's hunting and it twists and turns and glides in total contrast to the bird we've seen, BUT, the expert says (and I do find it plausible) that the bird flies in a completely different way when hunting to the way it does when it flies from place so this difference in itself does not rule it out. The only thing is that the bird we've seen appears such an ungainly flier that it does stretch belief slightly that it could change from this ugly flapper to the red arrow on the video.
    But, overall, what he says about the habits is very compelling. At the moment I'd say that I'm almost able to give it a positive ID as a short-eared owl and move on to the next thing... almost. He too suggests a video to finally put the matter to bed but sadly despite constant trips to the balcony throughout the night the thing has not revealed itself lately and even if it does it simply will not be that easy to get decent footage.

    *Although I realise that most people have had enough of experts these days, especially when their so-called advice comes out contrary to what you want it to be - perhaps it would be wisest to just tell him to fuck off, suppress his report, and tell all of you that I have conclusively decided that it is either an ostrich or a phoenix and no other options will be considered henceforth.

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  5. #19
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    put a bit of food for the owl on your balcony and lure him in!

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  7. #20
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