This is one bird that took my heart ever since I first saw it in July this year. The birds were interesting and listed common but difficult to spot unless you discover it by chance or someone points out the exact location to you - and then too you have to be lucky enough to have light to spot it and photograph it. Well it seems I was lucky on all the above points. Well the story is simple - I had one friend over from Hyderabad for Birding and this was his 'Very high on priority' - bird to see list. Well I had seen it once and was fairly confident that I will see them again... how wrong can I be ?
|The sleeping beauty that still kept an eye on us...|
Wrong I was - means - three months is a good time for the bird to fly over and go anywhere else - no? This was the only small point that I missed out in the entire gambit of planning for hunting this bird. I planned hunt for this bird in the afternoon - when the sun is high - the bird is roosting and there is some light in the thick foliage - the place the birds like to roost during the day.
|The mate was roosting well hidden and was just pure chance that we spotted it...|
As the afternoon approached we reached the spot and were immediately mobbed by mosquitos. When I say mobbed - I really mean it - they were all over us - attracted perhaps the sweat and the CO2 we were exhaling. Braving all this we peered the top canopy of trees expecting to find some movement or the dark ghost like silhouette outlining the birds. Straining the neck the better part of 15 minutes did not reveal any bird. I personally was disappointed as I was so sure when I promised the birds sitting at the location pointed out by me. In desperation - my partner asked me if he should ring and ask somebody else of location of the birds. My ego was hurt to no bounds - but I had to agree. As he went to fetch his mobile from the car parked in the parking - I peered harder. Suddenly - Voila - there in the thick of the leaves I saw the silhouettes that looked like an Owl. I shouted to him - got it I almost screamed. He ran over and we started the game all over - peering and straining our eyes to find the bird sitting almost 30-40 feet above our heads in thick canopy. Seeing the outlines we at once started taking shots to identify birds. Alas - the birds turned out to be Indian Scops Owl - I mean they are really beautiful and not something you see everyday but then we were expecting something and we did not get it.
Finally after another 15 minutes I resigned to the fact that birds were not there any longer and I asked my partner to ring his friend to ask if there were birds at any other location. He gave us the location and we were off driven to the point specified - 4 km away. There too we were just not convinced that the birds would be there. The logic was simple. The place had a lot of movement and there was what can be constituted as disturbance to birds like owls. We looked around and were ready to move - abandoning the hunt when my partner decided for one last call to see if he can help us with location of the Owls. he had just put his mobile to his ear when he spotted the bird and put down the mobile almost jumping with joy. It was the time I too picked up the bird sitting on a branch. Oh what a sight it was...
Hawk Owls are smallish, small-headed and earless hawk like owls with yellow eyes and longish banded tails. As far as the Brown Hawk Owl is concerned, well - this bird is a 32 cm mid-sized owl with a small white spot over bill. This bird is nocturnal and crepuscular often sitting on top of tree hawking insects. It preys on insects, small bats or other small prey. The bird sounds are included below.