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Latest on Pels Fishing owl?

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Scipio
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Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?

Unread postby Scipio » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:15 am

Hahahahaha @ Scipio.. Geez you are funny, almost split my gut over that one :roll:


Deedee, now that will be a disaster of epic proportions. :twisted:


But that brings me to a question: There are these awesome sightings in Capetown i.e. What could the reasons be, is it change in weather patterns, this Global Warming thingy, human changes, Avian adaptation? Would be interesting to hear from the Knowledgable guys out there. :thumbs_up:

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Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?

Unread postby DotDan » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:38 am

Really a good question which is open to debate, but I do think all these storms and hurricanes up north are throwing these migratory birds way of course as in the case with the Crake and Skimmer etc which normally uses coast lines to migrate in the first place.

The owl is unique as there is not really a reason for it to be in CPT other than it being either some escapee bird, which Trevor Hardaker did investigate and couldn't find anything which means it must have had one moerse desire to visit the Cape.

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Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?

Unread postby wildtuinman » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:03 am

My opinion is this bird is an escapee. And there is just no way that anyone is going to own up to it as it was held without permits.
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Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:49 pm

wildtuinman wrote:My opinion is this bird is an escapee. And there is just no way that anyone is going to own up to it as it was held without permits.


Another :mrgreen: Gautenger.

It is possible, because there is a martial eagle at a bird sanctuary that was rescued from the illegal bird trade.

But who and how would let a bird like this escape? How would you catch one? Surely it would be newsworthy?
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Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?

Unread postby hilda » Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:15 pm

What a beautiful Owl! Thanks for the awesome pictures BB! :clap: :clap: But please tell me, how come that you went to such an important occasion "cameraless"? :roll:
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Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?

Unread postby wildtuinman » Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:19 pm

BB, I am jealous, yes, because of the shots you Cape Tonians got of the bird, but having seen them myself in Kruger in their natural habitat makes up more than enough for the jealousy. :D I'd much rather see them in their natural habitat without having to fight off 10's of other birders for a view to be honest. :wink:

What bugs me about this bird is the following:

1. It seems very at ease with human presence. In Kruger for instance all the owls I saw spooked and would take flight at the first sign of a human.

2. What is it doing in Cape Town? Take into consideration where its nearest natural habitat is? Owls aren't known for their strong long distance flying. They are not serious migratory birds. So why did it decide to fly from the Okavango or Kruger or Northern KZN to Cape Town? Even if Fishing-Owls could migrate, I cannot think of any place more harsh for a Fishing-Owl to migrate through than the Karoo!! :big_eyes:

It just doesn't make much sense, does it? But this is only my personal opinion.

I can only suspect that someone held this bird in captivity and that it had escaped. We will never know unfortunately. As no one will own up to this bird out of the fear of being prosecuted.

A few years ago we had an Eurasian Eagle-Owl on the loose in Bedfordview, Johannesburg. It had also escaped from captivity.

Nevertheless, I am happy that you guys down there had the excitement of seeing this awesome bird. :thumbs_up:
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Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?

Unread postby o-dog » Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:48 pm

wildtuinman wrote:1. It seems very at ease with human presence. In Kruger for instance all the owls I saw spooked and would take flight at the first sign of a human.



Agree about this

wildtuinman wrote:2. What is it doing in Cape Town? Take into consideration where its nearest natural habitat is? Owls aren't known for their strong long distance flying. They are not serious migratory birds. So why did it decide to fly from the Okavango or Kruger or Northern KZN to Cape Town? Even if Fishing-Owls could migrate, I cannot think of any place more harsh for a Fishing-Owl to migrate through than the Karoo!! :big_eyes:



If the Pel's were to migrate from Ndumu I would be surprised if it went through the Karoo - I think it would follow the coast which has much more suitable habitat. Infact most of the Natal and Eastern Cape and SOuthern Cape Coast has many rivers which could easily host Pel's. I am surprised there are not Pel's in parts of the Knysna forest area.

Also out of interest is that apparently there is a record of Pel's seen in Cape Point Nature Reserve in 1940. So perhaps they can migrate to the Cape.

:thumbs_up:
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Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?

Unread postby Trrp-trrrrrrrr » Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:52 pm

Thanks BB...Absolutely awesome :cam: of the Pels Owls .... right here in the Mother City so 8) :thumbs_up:
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Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?

Unread postby wildtuinman » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:29 pm

o-dog wrote:Also out of interest is that apparently there is a record of Pel's seen in Cape Point Nature Reserve in 1940. So perhaps they can migrate to the Cape.

:thumbs_up:


I have heard of this "unverified"(well at least to my ears) and very old record of it in Cape Point. The only other record I know of is as shown in our bird guides dotted by a red x in the northern Cape and which is also quite an old record and therefore I am not sure how well verified.

But my point remains, why would a bird not known for its migratory skills travel 1000's of kilometers away from its stronghold to a Cape Town suburb? Personally I think the odds are stacked more against it being a genuine vagrant than it being an escapee from someone's illegal private collection or illegal trade in the area.

I am not sure how long this bird has been in the area, but too me it looks like an adult bird and one couldn't even argue that it was a young bird, getting displaced or out on the look for new territory. Coming down along the coast from KZN it would surely have found much more suitable habitat long before it had reached Cape Town, not true?

Recent new additions to the Cape such as Abdim's Stork, Wahlberg's Eagle and Montagu's Harrier are all migratory birds and one could very well expect to find such birds out of their normal distribution. Another 2 recent additions are Tawny Eagle and Long-crested Eagle, which have gradually started to edge lower south and west in recent times. So even that was imminent.

As for why they don't occur in the Knysna area. Personally I think that the climate is too cool and perhaps even too wet for most parts of the year. Even in summer those forests are freezing! In my inexperience as a climate expert, the Knysna area and the natural habitats of Pel's differ too much.

Hopefully my suspicions are wrong. And I hope to be proved wrong. But until such time, I will remain very skeptical about this bird as being ticked as a genuine wild vagrant. Maybe we just don't understand the habits of these owl well enough and that there is a treasure chest of info we still have to unlock unknown to scientists.
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Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?

Unread postby o-dog » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:08 pm

Wildtuinman...I do agree that there is a fair chance its an escapee! Interesting one to discuss!!

And as far as Knysna and the Wilderness areas go, I'd imagine the thickness of vegetation to be to their liking but perhaps it would be too cold for them as you mention :thumbs_up:
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Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?

Unread postby wildtuinman » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:24 pm

Let me put it this way.

If I saw a Pel's in Pretoria where I live, the first thing I would think is that it is an escaped bird from Pretoria zoo or some illegal collector. Seeing it in my suburban garden where it is hunting my koi fish, my suspicion would be doubled, if not trippled!

The fact that it is in Cape Town multiplies my suspicion by every kilometer from its nearest stronghold! :lol:

What do one do when you see a non indigenous waterfowl? You assume that it is an escapee. Why? Because waterbirds aren't suppose to migrate. What do you do when you see it amongst human habitation? You don't even assume it is an escapee. You know it is one!

Why is Pel's Fishing-Owl treated differently? Because it is a Pel's? And because it is something everyone wants to see as it is regarded by some a mythical creature....? The question remains a rhetorical one. :wink:
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Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?

Unread postby o-dog » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:42 pm

:lol: ...it is certainly odd that it decided to frequent a busy suburb when in fact they are supposed to like quiet backwaters etc...anyone ask the world of birds if they had a Pel's or no longer have a Pel's ?? :sniper:
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Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?

Unread postby wildtuinman » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:52 pm

The world of birds was contacted and they had no record of a missing Pel's, :lol:

Here is a bit of a case study based on Blakiston's fish owl.

Blakiston's fish owls have a fragmented distribution in the Russian Far East, northern Japan , and northeastern China. There are two generally-recognized subspecies, an island subspecies, which occurs on Hokkaido Island, Japan, and Kunashir and Shikotan Islands of the southern Kuril Islands, Russia (Dykhan and Kisleiko 1988, Brazil and Yamamoto 1989, Takenaka 1998, Berzan 2005), and a more broadly-distributed mainland subspecies, which ranges from the Russian provinces Magadan in the north to Primorye in the south (Surmach 1998). The species may occur in North Korea ; however political tensions have prevented recent survey attempts there (W. Duckworth pers. comm.).

Both Pukinskii (1973) and Mikhailov and Shibnev (1998) stated that fish owls are non-migratory. Although Pukinskii (1973) dismissed a description by Shibnev (1963) of apparent fish owl migration in the Bikin River basin in winter, several secondary sources have cited it (Voous 1988, König et. al. 1999). At present however, there are few data to verify either assertion, as fish owl seasonal movements are poorly understood. Although long-distance migration is unlikely (Pukinskii 1973, Mikhailov and Shibnev 1998, S. Surmach unpubl. data), short distance movements, such as seasonal shifts in home range, may occur and should be investigated.
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Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?

Unread postby Scipio » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:20 pm

WTM, as I asked, and even though it cannot be directly corrolated:

Gymnogene has been seen in the Middle of Roodepoort, Lammergeier in a town called Fochville, and the Skimmer, and the Crake and, and, and.

Could it be that things are changing? Are birds adapting like the YBK at Tswokwane or the Gymnogene I had at my house in Phalagat, actually feeding off Human made goods?

Afterall, even though the books are all marked with little crosses, blue lines, red dots, the birds don't read those books, andthey have been doing strange things lately. :hmz:

And please, no offence by this post, I know you Birdbrains are touchy. :twisted: I just find it very interesting. :wink:

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Re: Latest on Pels Fishing owl?

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:38 pm

wildtuinman wrote:but having seen them myself in Kruger in their natural habitat ..... I'd much rather see them in their natural habitat .....to be honest. :wink:


Absolutely Oom. That is why I am not canceling my imminent trip to the Delta. I want to see one/some in their natural habitat too. :thumbs_up:

But if one opportunistically arrives on one's doorstep.....

The areas where it has been seen are densely wooded, and it has been harassed by forest buzzards, so maybe it was happy that these funny creatures were just walking about, 20 metres below where it was perched, and not a threat.
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