“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Thursday 22 December 2011

Unexpected Visitors Land for Christmas....

Christmas is the usual time for unexpected guests to arrive unannounced. Family, friends and neighbours may pop by for a quick visit and hopefully you have stocked up enough on nibbles and party pickies to cope with the influx. But I never thought we’d be receiving the three guests that literally landed yesterday.

I was busy pottering around the garden {as you do at Christmas time :-/ well you do in Australia} whilst nattering with my daughter nearby, when she suddenly became aware that three pairs of eyes were peering down on us!
Over head were three ‘Tawny Frogmouth Owls’ They were perched in the tree overhead with amazing camouflage plumage that mimics the bark of a tree. They were hunched down nestling on a branch and looked uncannily like a tree stump. You hardly notice them so she did really well spotting them.

The tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides)
Here's two sharing their perch....

And the third one was a little further up the tree....
It's amazing what you learn when you blog....for a start I now know that they aren't actually owls at all!
I can be forgiven I suppose because the name 'Tawny Frogmouth Owl' sort of leads you to believe that they are actual owls. In fact they are birds that are awake at night. They don't have strong talons like owls and don't hunt like owls at night either. Frogmouths generally remain sitting very still on a low perch and wait for food to come to them....a little like the boys in this house ;-)
They catch prey with their beaks and sometimes drop from their perch onto the prey on the ground.
If you've been following my posts recently you may have heard about my abundance of snails and hey guess what Frogmouth's eat ...yep, you guessed right...snails! Happy days all round....
They also feed on rats, mice cicadas, beetles, frogs and other small prey. They catch their prey with their beaks rather than with their talons, another way in which they are different from owls.
This poor chap {or chapess...I've no idea} had had a very hard day impersonating a tree stump and was just beginning to rouse himself as the sun started to set. Look at the size of that mouth...

Tawny Frogmouth pairs stay together until one of the pair dies.....ahhhh.....and they breed from August to December. They usually use the same nest each year, and must make repairs to their loose, untidy platforms of sticks. After mating with the male, the female lays two or three eggs onto a lining of green leaves in the nest. This is the bit I like....both male and female take turns sitting on the eggs to incubate them until they hatch about 30 days later. I've always thought that it would be better for us humans to share the incubation period ie four and a half months each. What do you think?
The chicks move to the edge of the nest and direct their droppings over the edge. I'm not sure you really wanted to know that sort of detail but there it is...... About 25 days after hatching, the chicks are ready to leave the nest and lead their own lives. Imagine that you're offspring leaving so young...terwit terwhoo!

Here's what they sound like.....Frogmouth

I think this little chap is so cute....and he knew the camera was on him....

So you've had a little light relief from the Christmas capers but its time to get back to it I'm afraid, but remember.....
Stay calm and don't lose your head....

Don't worry all you bird lovers out there....I promise no animal was harmed in the creating of this post!
Have fun ; D


  1. Oh wow Neesie!! How utterly fantastic. I've never seen anything like it! How wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing. Merry Christmas Neesie! xxoo

  2. Hi Marie,
    I was thrilled with them too. They are so unique aren't they?
    I'm so happy that you enjoyed reading about them.
    I hope and wish you the best Christmas, health and happiness for 2012! :D Take care xoxo

  3. A VERY interesting sighting - even if they aren't pretty in the conventional sense of the word!
    Happy Christmas to you, and I hope you will continue to natter in 2012!

  4. I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder Mark...but I agree with you...Nae bonnie!

    Have wonderful time with your family and friends over the festive season.
    Merry Christmas :D

  5. Oh aren't they something! So,unusual and down right cute!

    1. They are very strange looking but cute. We haven't seen the family this year, but we have had a lone visitor to our large fir tree in the front garden.
      Have a great week and thanks for stopping by ;D

  6. Very cool sighting, they are strange but very cute! Awesome photos.

    1. It seems so long ago that I took these photos.
      We had the owls nest each year after this sighting. Very special indeed.
      Thanks for stopping by...I hope you have a lovely Sunday evening and a great week ahead ;D


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