Saturday, September 25, 2010

Friday 24 September

A rather disruptive day for Pot Plant Owl.

We had the experts from Africam here to assist with getting the new webcam installed. This entailed a lot of activity near the nest area so she was constantly alert.

In the late afternoon, Allan sets out on the balcony to drill holes for the webcam. Pot Plant Owl remains in the nest sitting on her chicks, as Allan makes his way out on the balcony. I remain inside to monitor Pappa's movements. Allan asks me to fetch something inside. My head is turned away from Pappa on the far roof for 10 second and when I turn back, I hear a 'strong word' from Allan. I look up to see a trickle of blood running down his back. Within seconds the trickle of blood is joined by a few more trickles and soon his whole back is streaks of blood. Pappa flew in and zapped Allan on the head with his sharp talons - puncturing his head in a few places. I can't believe an owl can do so much damage.

I join Al on the balcony under the umbrella, and he finishes what he needs to, without further incidences.

Throughout this whole ordeal, Pot Plant Owl remains on the chicks in her nest.

Tomorrow night we have to drill two more holes, and then that's all done. The webcam is up and people can start watching it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday 22 September

It's all happening now. We have three tiny chicks, and proud parents (all 4 of them / us).

Allan got a few great pics just now of the 3 chicks in the nest, when Pot Plant Owl left to get food. I watered the plants under the watchful eye of Pappa, and I even managed to water the far side of the nest.

To be inches away from these precious little things and not pick them up and hold them, is proving my restraint training in Life. It is also teaching me to 'let Nature be' - something I can't seem to do if I see animals or birds in need of my help (or what I perceive to me my help anyway).

Secured extra shade cloth to the side of the balustrading - we can't have these little chicks pushing themselves through and falling off the balcony. Been there, done that last year, and it was a nightmare.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday 20 September

13h00 - An egg has hatched! Just seen a glimpse of a tiny white bundle of fluff under Mom's wing. Looks like it isn't even moving. Can only be hours old - less than a day.

18h00 - Another glimpse. This time Pot Plant Owl moved the newly-hatched chick so we saw more of its little body.

If Pot Plant Owl leaves the nest tonight, we'll be able to see if the other eggs have hatched yet.

Now the fun begins...

Sunday 19 September

In the late afternoon we noticed Pot Plant Owl sitting upright and alert. She stared wide-eyed when I said 'hello' to her, instead of doing her usual winking and blinking reply. When the sun set, she didn't leave the nest. Immediately we thought an egg had hatched.

An hour later: Just checked the webcam when Pot Plant Owl flew to the neighbour's roof. There are still 3 eggs. Wonder why the change of behaviour? Perhaps it is any hour now that the eggs will hatch. Maybe something scared or irritated her during the day when we were out - crows, for example.

Will keep monitoring closely.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thursday 16 September

Thanks to the joys of Telkom internet services, we've had no connectivity to the net for days now. But you'll be pleased to know that you've missed nothing - the paint is still drying (almost there), and no news to report.

We've just fixed a few branches to the side of the ballustrade to give Pot Plant Owl extra shade. She watched from the neighbour's roof - not worried at all. In fact, although we had our umbrella open and ready, we didn't even need to stand under it for protection. Both owls allowed us to water all the plants on the balcony - including the side of the nest pot plant. Still 3 eggs - it must be any day now.

The webcam is up, and we are monitoring everything from our laptop. As soon as we are streaming live, I'll give you all the details. The webcam is positioned on the wall near the nest, looking down into it. When Pot Plant Owl moves, you can actually see the eggs underneath her, and watch as she plays 'football' with the eggs and moves them to a different position. The first glimpses of the chicks from the webcam's position will be amazing.

Still looking for nominations for schools to receive copies of our book, Pot Plant Owl, for libraries or classrooms. Please email them nominations to:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday 13 September

Last night, Pappa spent most of the early evening in the neighbour's garden and on our perimeter wall. Both owls hunted in our gardens and didn't venture out of sight. We believe the eggs will hatch this week and that is why the adults aren't leaving the immediate area.

Good news! The webcam should be up this week. We'll give you the full details once finalised.

I've noticed today that Pot Plant Owl is much more alert in the nest. She's not sleeping as soundly and she appears restless. I wonder if it means one of the eggs has already hatched.

Wish me luck! Tonight I'm venturing out onto the balcony to water the plants. If there is a tiny chick, you can bet that tonight will be 'attack mode' for the owls.

Friday 10 September

We've made a few adjustments on the balcony under the watchful eye of Pot Plant Owl. Allan's set up the webcam which (hopefully) will be operational next week - just in time for the first glimpse of the newly hatched chicks.

I watered the plant in the nest and adjusted the shade branches.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sunday 5 September

Out again onto the balcony under an umbrella to water the nest tree. Pot Plant Owl flies to a closer rooftop to watch what we are doing, but she doesn't seem to mind too much. She didn't divebomb or let out her high-pitched whoop in annoyance.

It's been hot the last few days. I hope soft rains come soon because everything is badly in need of water.

Saturday 5 September

Not much to report over the last few days. The owls have fitted into a predictable routine, not unlike us humans I suppose.
During the day, not much happens. In fact, I believe that this year, Pot Plant Owl is much more relaxed. She seems to sleep more during the day than the previous 2 years. I often peep through the curtains and watch her while she sleeps. She doesn't seem to sense I'm there, or if she does, she is completely relaxed and doesn't bat an eyelid (literally).
At night, Pappa's cries can be heard getting louder and louder, until he's on the rooftop nearby watching the nest. Pot Plant Owl leaves to stretch her wings and this is usually the time Pappa remains on guard duty.
Just before sunrise every day, I hear Pappa's hooting. Sometimes it wakes me. Most of the time, the call weaves into my dream and I don't stir. Hearing Pappa just before he goes to sleep, comforts me. I know he survived another night in suburbia with manic drivers, poisoned rats and other nasties.
On the subject of rats: Please don't use rat poisons! The rats die and often owls like the Spotted Eagle Owls will catch them just as they are dying, and they get sick or die themselves. Encourage insects into your garden by planting indigenous trees. Spotties are primarily insectivorous, and if they see your garden is full of insects (Parktown prawns etc), they may well come and hunt there. And if any rats are stupid enough to venture out with owls about, good luck to them.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wednesday 1 September

The first Day of Spring and the weather is glorious! Everything in the garden seems to be screaming out 'new beginnings'. Wherever you look, there is activity and preparations for the new season.

Even Pot Plant Owl is looking happier today. Of course that could also be because we risked all last night, and ventured onto the balcony to fix the fallen branches.

Good Spring news! Our book based on our owl family, called "Pot Plant Owl" is going into e-book format. We've had a number of requests for quotes to ship books overseas. Unforunately, the size / weight of the book, combined with reliable printing costs has made overseas shipping not economically viable. In comes PPO e-book! It can be ordered online, is instantly available and works out MUCH more affordable for the overseas readers. It's not restricted to overseas readers though - South African e-book fans welcome too. Will let you know more when it becomes available.

The other good news is that we've got copies of our "Pot Plant Owl" book to give away to schools in South Africa to go into libraries and / or classrooms for children's education. I think it's important that we demystify owls and allow children to see for themselves how special these creatures are. Contact me if you want to nominate a school to receive a copy of the book.

Back to the star of the show: Pot Plant Owl. Yip - she's sitting. Nothing happening. She winks. She blinks. She sleeps. Wish I could tell you it was more exciting than this today, but she's just in the mood to soak up the sun and relax.

Aren't we all?