There have been some new noises in the night just lately. One familiar sound I know well from a similar bird New Zealand – the Morepork as we call it – or the mopoke or boobook as it is known here. This owl has a distinct call. There are some in the bush nearby. One of my favourite birds. I talk to them, mimicking their call. I had a family of them in the trees in the Shire Sentinel chicken pen in Halls Creek.
There is another new call I am not familiar with. It is a sad eerie sound, almost ghostly, like “weee low” Today I think I found the bird that makes it. As I walked back to my caravan, I found this bird sitting on the stone slabs outside a neighbour’s cabin. I’ve only seen it once before, at a wildlife park, where it sat motionless in the leaf litter under a bush, convinced it was invisible. It is the Stone Bush Curlew, Burhinus grallarius.
This fellow was sitting rock still on these stone slabs. It thought it was invisible, I think. I hobbled right up to it, thinking at first it might be injured. It didn’t move, just gave a little grumbling call. I decided not to disturb it, and went to fetch a camera. It never moved until I was about to take a picture. Then it stood up. But still it didn’t run away.
Below is one of my boobooks in the chicken pen in Halls Creek.
The Australian boobook is a species of owl native to mainland Australia, southern New Guinea, the island of Timor, and the Sunda Islands. Described by John Latham in 1801, it was generally considered to be the same species as the morepork of New Zealand Ninox novaeseelandiae until 1999. Its name is derived from its two-tone boo-book call.
Scientific name: Ninox boobook