Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 27 and pot plant is getting small...

There's no denying it. These chicks have got 'it' - that special quality that draws people to them, and makes it hard for people to say goodbye. In two words - utterly adorable!

At this stage, the chicks eat and sleep, and eat and sleep, and precious little else. For those who haven't been watching the webcam, I don't think you can appreciate just how much food they devour in an evening. It astounds me still, four years on, just how quickly SEO chicks have to grow. All their energy is used for growth of wings, flight feathers and replacing baby fluff.

In the next few days, we will begin to see much more activity, as the chicks practice pouncing, wing flapping, hopping, gnawing and, of course, their favourite pastime - playing.

The pot will be a hive of activity, and pretty soon, too small to hang around in. When I watch the chicks, I see them peering over the edge of the pot, looking down. Ah! Our balcony floor already beckons...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 24 and look what happened 4 years ago...

I thought I'd share with you an extract from our book "Pot Plant Owl". This was written when those chicks were 24 days old, four years ago:

'Today marks another milestone in the chicks' developments. While sitting at the hide we watch Pot Plant Owl silently flying in with a 'live catch': a squirming cricket.

She lands on the lip of the pot, and drops the wriggling insect at the chicks' feet. The chicks stare down at it, and then look up to their mother as if to say 'Now what?' Pot Plant Owl departs, leaving the chicks to figure out what to do, and the fun begins.

Confusion is etched on the chicks' faces for, despite the familiarity of the shape and colour, this piece of food is crawling around. Curiosity gets the better of them and they start playing a game of 'Catch' with the cricket.

The frightened cricket scrambles for its life, as the chicks pounce towards it, trying to grab it. When one chick manages to close a beak over the cricket, the insect wriggles furiously and the chick quickly lets go. The same thing happens when the second chick accidentally catches the cricket.

By now, tears of laughter are streaming down our faces - the chicks just don't have a clue.

By the time Pot Plant Owl returns, the chicks have tired of their game and are sitting together begging for food. One very lucky cricket defied death, escaping to the back of the pot and down the side.

We think Pot Plant Owl is teaching her chicks how to recognise food sources. But it looks like she's going to have to give this lesson another go before the chicks get it right.'

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

25 Oct and Pappa visits

Pappa came to visit today. I woke up to find him standing on the wall by our garage. We often see him there in the early morning, and then he flies away to roost in a tree nearby. Today he stayed with us the whole day. I walked past him a number of times, saying a quick 'hello' as I went past. Pappa watched me carefully, but didn't seem too bothered. He is a welcome visitor.

Pot Plant Owl is fine. I haven't heard any coughing, despite the oppressive heat that we are experiencing. She spent most of the day sitting in the far pot plant on the balcony to escape the heat.

Our sweet chicks stood up together today in the pot, and eyed out our garden below them. They are taking in more of their environment as each day passes, and with this, their curiosity and eagerness to explore will increase.

We're still running the 'Name-the-Chick' competition on Africam ( You have a week or so to put your votes in, and stand a chance to win a copy of our book "Pot Plant Owl".

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 21 - 24 October and the air is thick...

The air is thick. Radio stations are reporting that today is the hottest October day in a number of years. Today feels like the height of summer and it's made even hotter by a thick, hot air that just 'hangs'.

The owls are coming remarkably well on the balcony. Pot Plant Owl sought shade under a small bush in a pot plant on the far side of the balcony. The chicks were kept cool in PPO's shade, and then in the shade provided by the shade cloth we secured on the side of the balustrade.

The chicks, at 21 and 20 days old respectively, are healthy and strong. No surprises that the chicks are growing so quickly with the amount of food they are devouring. Pot Plant Owl appears to be rationing the food intake - flying off with food, and returning to the nest with it later.

PPO's 'cough' is still a question mark hanging over our heads. We could ask FreeMe to catch PPO and take her in for tests, but what happens to the chicks? And what if there is nothing seriously wrong with PPO? For now, we are recording videos of PPO's cough so our bird specialist vet and FreeMe can decide the way forward. Apart from the 'cough', Pot Plant Owl appears to be behaving normally, and eating well enough.

Let's see what the experts say and take it from there.

And let's all do a rain-dance, and hope we get a decent amount of rain soon...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

22 October and two crows attack...

10:20am Central African Time: I've just witnessed two crows trying to attack PPO's nest. They flew past, spotted PPO and the chicks sitting there, and decided to swoop down.

PPO sounded her alarm call and instantly, Pappa flew to the nest to protect his family. Despite Pappa's appearance, the crows still came down low until they must have realised that their attack would be unsuccessful. After a few minutes, the crows flew off.

Pappa remained by the balcony for a while longer, looking around and hooting. He's just flown away to roost in the tree nearby.

All this occured metres from my desk, where I just 'happened' to be for a few minutes before heading out to the Market.

What an amazing display of family protection and unity!

How to make a nest-box for a Spotted Eagle Owl

(Taken from 'Great Garden Birds' book by Sasol)

As far as nest-boxes are concerned, a Spotted Eagle owl nest box is easy to make. It is a deep tray - approx 600mm long by 450 mm wide and 270mm deep. Add a roof if you will erect the box in a more exposed positition (such as on the side of a building).

1. To construct a roof: screw wooden pillars (50 x 50mm) into the inside coreners of the box. For a flat roof, make the pillars 460mm long; for a sloping roof make the front pillars 460mm and the back pillars 360mm long. Cut the tops of the pillars at the correct angle for the slope of the roof. The roof itself should be approx 750mm x 600mm (five-ply plywood works well), so that it overhangs the tray on all sides. Place the roof on top of the pillars and attach by screwing through the roof into the pillars. With a sloping roof. it is an idea to reduce the height of the box at the entrance to 170mm deep. Remember that the front or entrance should be the width (450mm) rather than the length side.

2. Waterproof box with varnish or wood-sealant. Avoid anything that might be toxic to birds! If necessary, seek advice from your hardware store or paint manufacturer.

3. Erect the box so that the entrance faces away from the direction that your wet and windy weather comes from, and ensure that it is securely mounted on the wall or tree. Add a 10-cm layer of clean river sand to the bottom.

Alternatively, if you have a spare pot plant container, why not try get your own 'Pot Plant Owl' chicks?

Friday, October 21, 2011

PM 21 October - Well done Bob!

Congrats Bob! You predicted that Friday i.e. today, will be the day when PPO spends more time out of the nest during the day than in it.

I may have guessed correctly the day when PPO would begin venturing out of the nest during the day (my prediction was Wednesday), but Bob won the bet!

Well done Bobandtheowls! I'm big enough and ugly enough to know when I am defeated.

Now what's the next challenge?

Day 19 - 21 October

I've seen it all. At least, I thought I had. From the minute our first PPO book was published, I happily declared that I 'know' these owls and don't need to write another book about them. I find myself today in the akward position of having to retract my statement and make a bold statement:

"Pot Plant Owl - I honestly don't know what you are thinking or doing sometimes"

This afternoon, I went to check on Pot Plant Owl and the chicks. The chicks sat in the pot together, looking off in the general direction of Pappa in a nearby tree. It took me a few seconds to locate PPO, and when I did, I could not believe what I was seeing.

There she was - sitting on top of Teeny's old shoe, with her enormous wings stretched out on the balcony floor. She saw me, became a little more alert, but didn't move from the shoe.

There were no signs of prey beneath her, and nothing to suggest that she was displaying this behaviour for anything in particular.

She was just sitting with her wings splayed over a shoe...

This season, I really give up, and I admit to not having the slighest clue what will happen next.

(It sure makes life interesting....)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 17 and PPO is on the move...

I'd forgotten how regal Pot Plant Owl looks when she stands in full view.
Her powerful talons wrap around the lip of the pot plant, and those strong, white legs steady her balance in the wind. She is a beautiful owl and a caring mother.

PPO will spend more time on the lip of the pot plant, or on the balcony railing close by. The chicks are growing so quickly, and soon the pot plant will burst at the seams with activity(didn't someone ask why the container has a crack in it? Now you know why).

Pot Plant Owl is amazing for another reason. She comes to my 'rescue' all the time. On a friendly wager, I bet that PPO would be out of the nest most of the day starting from today - Wednesday. Last night on the chat site, I conceded that I would probably lose this bet, because PPO showed no signs of venturing out of the nest.

But here she is today - in full view. She must know I need to 'save face' and demonstrate that I know what I'm talking about, for she has been on this lip for a couple of hours now.

Thank you, Pot Plant Owl! (I owe you one!)

3 Hours later....

PPO is back in the pot. Now I don't think it counts that she was out the pot for so long a little earlier on. Come on PPO, help me out here! Get out of the pot so I can win the bet!

Sigh. My pleading won't help. She has a mind of her own - just like her 'human' mom...

Pot Plant Owl on the lip of the pot - Wed 19 Oct

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

PM Tues 18 Oct

I don't know about you, but when I am feeling stressed, something gives physically. I get a sniffly nose, my back aches, my shoulders tense up - my body just doesn't feel 100%.

Perhaps that's how Pot Plant Owl feels with her unhatched egg - 'Shelly'. Ive watched her over the past few days. When I see her, she rolls her egg between her legs, and just stares down at it for the longest time. Maybe she's willing it to open. Maybe she's asking what may have happened. Maybe she's just staring at an egg.

PPO hasn't been 100% today and although the owl expert could see nothing visibly wrong, she advised us to watch PPO closely. That, we can do.

And the only thing we can do to help PPO with any 'stress' or 'confusion' she may be feeling, is to remove Shelly - the unhatched egg. So that is what I did, and good thing I did it now. The egg STINKS already and if it had broken in the pot, I think we'd all have had to abandon ship (house) and flee.

Pot Plant Owl flew to the balcony railing, and I crouched under the umbrella for a few minutes talking to her. She was on edge, alarmed, and ready to attack.

But here's the funny thing. As soon as my hand slipped between our sleeping beauties (the two chicks) and lifted the egg up, Pot Plant Owl seemed to visibly relax a little. By the time I had backed up to the door, PPO's feathers were unruffled and she was looking towards her pole.

I think it may soon be a case of "Out of sight, out of mind".

Day 16 and thank goodness for modern technology...

I must admit I was worried. From my office window, I have a perfect view of Pot Plant Owl and the nest. While I work, I sit and watch her and the chicks, and it always makes me smile.

But not this morning. This morning, something wasn't right with Pot Plant Owl. She was in the nest, making a high-pitched 'coughing' sound, and every time she did, her body jerked forward. I watch for a while hoping it would go away, but it didn't.

The big question was "What can we do?" And then the penny dropped.

We have sophisticated, modern technology set up on the balcony for viewers worldwide to watch 'our' owl family. The webcam with sound. I immediately phoned the owl expert at FreeMe Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and said "Please log on and take a look and listen to PPO".

And there you have it. Moments later, from kilometres away, an expert was able to watch and listen to PPO to see if anything was wrong. By this stage, PPO's strange noises and body jerking had stopped, but she was still observed to see if she was showing any external signs of discomfort or stress.

At this stage, PPO may have a cold. We will continue to monitor all owl behaviour. The beauty about Africam's webcam technology is that it provides a means for instant observation by experts with follow-up steps if required. If PPO stops eating, then it may be something more serious.

I believe in starting the day being grateful. And this morning, I am so grateful that we have this modern technology to help 'care' for the owls. Thank you!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day 13 and their eyes are opening...

6:30pm Central African Time:
Allan and I have just been out onto the balcony to water the plants. The plants were crying out for water, and I haven't had a chance this week to water.

I'm holding a bucket of water and Allan is covering us both with an umbrella, as we edge our way onto the balcony. Within seconds, Pot Plant Owl makes her first attempt at an attack to get us away from her chicks. She was close, but thankfully misses us.

Pappa continues the assault at us - finally landing on the roof directly above our entrance back into our bedroom. He looks down at us and then at his chicks and hoots loudly. By this time, Pot Plant Owl has flown to the neighbour's roof and is also watching closely.

I know that have approximately 5 seconds to pour as much water into the side of the nest pot as I can without watering the chicks in the process. Longer than that, I bet another fly-ib attack will occur -and this time, they may be successful.

I start pouring water into the far side of the nest pot. And that's when I notice that the bigger chick's eyes are open. Its face looks like a miniature adult owl - a wise old owl face on a tiny, fluffy, white body. Too precious for words! The chick eyes me out and snaps its beak defiantly - proof that it can definitely see what is going on. The other chick is facing the opposite direction and buries its head into its sibling's feathers.

As I type this entry, I can hear Pot Plant Owl and Pappa having a long 'conversation' outside. By now, I do believe they understand what we are doing, but I also think they expect us to just not water the plants.

This coming week will be full of action...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pic 2 - Day 12

This picture tells an interesting story. We were sitting on Ustream chatting when PPO stood up and hauled a rat out from the side of the pot plant. She took the rat in her talons and flew off with it to the neighbour's roof.

Here she is with this rat from the nest. Minutes later ,she flew back with the same rat?

Not sure why. Perhaps she didn't want to leave food in the nest for the hungry chicks to eat?

Pic Day 12

PPO feeding on a big rat and giving some to the chicks

Day 12 - 14 October and the garden is a jungle...

In the first year the owls nested with us, Allan and I gave them total carte blanche. The owls had the full rein of the balcony, the garden, half of our patio, part of the driveway etc. We left the garden alone, and for three months let the weeds grow like wildfire.

After the first year, we decided that perhaps that was taking the 'hospitality' a little too far. We used more of our own house - much to the dismay of PPO and Pappa who quite enjoyed the almost-exclusive use of their holiday home. And we mowed our lawns - although not too often. Just enough to be able to manage the grass and weeds.

Today is lawn day. And I have the task of turning the jungle that is our garden into a decent suburban lawn again. I've just pushed the electric lawn mower onto the grass, and a pair of sharp, piercing eyes stare at me from the balcony above. PPO is not impressed.

I talk to her:

"Yes, Pot Plant Owl - I'll be making a bit of noise now and your peace will be disturbed for a short while, but I've got to do it. The South African census people are coming to our house tomorrow to collect the form. If I don't do something about this jungle, they are going to come in with a bulldozer to make a pathway in. And then where will we be?"

Pot Plant Owl just stares at me. She's not interested in any excuse (reason!) I come up with. She's giving me 'that' look as if to say "I'm watching you!"

Some of our Garden Birds

A lot of viewers comment about the many bird calls they hear from our garden. I've been asked to give you a list of what we get so you can look them up if you'd like. Here they are:
Crested Barbets
Black-collared Barbets
Ibis - Hadedahs ( I think everyone can identify these noidy birds by now!)
Indian Mynahs (only one well-behaved pair)
Cape Robin (not sure what the new name is)
Cape Starling
Masked Weaver
Olive Thrush
Black-chested (?) Prinia
Cape Turtle Dove
Laughing Dove
Red Eye Dove
Grey Loerie (Go Away Bird)
Red Bishop
Cape White Eye

OK - I think I've listed most of them in our little garden. Forgive the old names, but I honestly don't know half of the new name classifications.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Comment on our daily lives

As I watch these new chicks getting bigger, I am reminded of how far I have journied with these owls. From a seemingly minor event, my life has taken a number of twists and turns, and led me to where I am today.

Four years ago, Allan and I woke up one morning to find an unexpected visitor on our balcony - Pot Plant Owl. That night when we ventured out onto our balcony to admire the view, we found a single owl egg. The following morning, we sought advice from FreeMe Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre's Clinic Manager, Nicci. Nicci told us that PPO had chosen our balcony, our potplant, as her nest.

That was it. That's how it started. Although Allan has a bird-watching background, we are not ornithologists by trade. We are just normal, average people who have an extraordinary natural event in our living space.

Everything we know about PPO and her family has come from spending many, many hours watching them from our makeshift 'hide' in our bedroom. Through our observations, we've picked up personality types, seen interesting behaviour and recorded beautiful moments.

We never intended to write a book on these owls. It happened because people following the story that first year, and asked us to put it in a book to share the story. We're thrilled at the response we have received from our book. Now, we only have 100 books left, and no plans to reprint.

Initially, we had no intention of putting a webcam on the balcony for viewers. That is, until we realised what a wonderful educational tool a webcam is, and the positive impact live view sharing has with people from all over the world.

The chat room on Ustream that I pop into whenever time allows, is a wonderful place to meet like-minded owl and nature lovers. Where I can, I answer questions based purely on our observations of PPO, Pappa and their family.

Another spin-off of PPO's arrival four years ago, is my Public Speaking career taking off in leaps and bounds. Allan and I do many talks to corporates, societies, schools and other institutions about environmental issues, and of course, 'our' owls as well.

Saving Pot Plant Owl's wetland is just an extension of this story - of the influence the owls have had on us and our lives. When the wetland development proposal came to light, Allan and I spent hours each day pouring over Environmental Acts, trying to help these owls.

How strange to think that all of the above is part of my life now, because an owl laid an egg in a potplant - our potplant.

Yet, as much as I'd love to write more books, chat more on the Ustream site, keep the webcam going for longer - all of these things cost time and money. People joke with me all the time and ask "When you are not playing 'grandmother' to owls, or wearing a 'Save-the-wetland' shirt, what do you do for a real job?"

As you can see, I wear many hats - colourful, interesting, exciting hats. And how much time I get to spend wearing each hat, is up to the Universe to decide.

All your support is so greatly appreciated - with caring for 'our' wetland, with our book sales, with 'looking after' these owls when we sleep, with hiring us for your Public Speaking engagements, with supporting us in our PPO online store.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pic - 12 October

Protective Pot Plant Owl with her chicks

Day 10 - 12 October and day time viewing is getting good

3:50pm Central African Time: Pot Plant Owl is such a loving mom. I'm watching her from my desk as she preens her two chicks. The chicks are getting so big! I can't remember them growing this quickly in previous years, but they probably did.

The advice on what to do with Shelly (the unhatched egg that is in the nest): I spoke to Nicci from Freeme Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. Nicci confirmed what I suspected - that it is probably best to leave the egg in the nest and let PPO decide what to do with it. When the chicks are older and away from the nest, we can remove the egg.

For those enquiries about the sandals on our Pot Plant Owl online store: I will let you know as soon as I receive word back from the USA. Hopefully I will get an answer overnight and be able to update you tomorrow.

Name-the-Chick Competition: Full details of the competition will be posted on the Africam website soon. I will also update you on my blog. Exciting opportunity for schools to get involved.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day 7 - PM 09 October

PM Central African Time:
What never ceases to amaze me is how much more there is to learn about 'our' owls, even when you believe you've seen it all. The minute you think you have it all figured out, something will happen to throw your pre-conceived ideas out the window.

I've been watching PPO and her family closely for a few years now - this being the fourth year that PPO has chosen to nest in our pot plant. There are some things that I take for granted about the family / family behaviour.

What I have learnt in the last 48 hours:

1. Even Pot Plant Owl can produce an egg that doesn't hatch, for various reasons. Just because we've witnessed all eggs hatch in the past years, doesn't necesarily mean that this will happen every year.
2. In past years when the chicks are very small, we've witnessed PPO only leave the nest one, maybe twice, in one evening, and only for a short time. Tonight, we've seen Pot Plant Owl leave the nest at least 5 times in a short space of time - leading me to believe she has ants in her pants. It's unusual for her to hop on and off the nest when the chicks are so small, but I'm sure she knows what she is doing.

I love it - the 'spanner in the works' that makes for interesting viewing and a greater understanding of the complexities of these beautiful owls.

I wonder what the rest of the season will bring.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

And there are two

Not much to say. Clearly two healthy chicks and one egg. Not sure what happens to the egg now.

Update on PPO Online store

Thank you for all your comments and enquiries about the PPO online store products. We've heard your requests and will action them all within the next day or two. Todayy we've had trouble uploading images, but hopefully this will be rectified soon.

9 October and will we see a third chick?

Every year that Pot Plant Owl has chosen to nest on our balcony, she has laid 3 eggs, and all 3 have hatched. This year there seems to be a problem.

Whether it is a temporary set-back or not, remains to be seen. In our opinion, the next 24 hours is critical. If the last egg doesn't hatch in this time, we don't believe it will.

On the plus side, Pot Plant Owl and Pappa are doing a wonderful job at looking after their two chicks. The chicks are inquisitive, hungry, and eager to explore, and this makes for fascinating viewing. Best of all, the chicks don't appear to be camera-shy, often popping their heads up from under Pot Plant Owl's feathers.

I can't wait to get to know them.

Friday, October 7, 2011

New Pot Plant Owl online store

Allan and I appreciate the offers we have had from people wanting to donate money to us to help save the wetland and for costs to run our website / the webcam. We have always declined these kind offers - only because we did not want to accept something without giving back in some way.

One of our chatters, Fi, offered me a solution - an online shop to offer a few PPO products for people to buy if they want. Thank you, Fi.

And here it is -
Top right button on the online store changes the currency.

For those who followed Teeny, Allan has compiled a 2012 calendar of our 'rehab' chick. There's a beautiful calendar of photos of PPO, Pappa and their chicks. Some of those photos are in our book, so for those of you who want to see book pics, here they are. And of course, there are a few fun items too.

Again, thank you to all of you who have kindly offered donations. Instead, we'd appreciate your support in our online shop, so we can 'give' something to you.

We don't want to turn it into a mass-merchandising venture, but if there is anything in particular that you'd like to have of PPO and her family, please send me an email, and I'll see what we can do.

Thank you!

Day 5 - and is this the third chick?

7 October and kids say the funniest things...

This morning I did a couple of talks on Pot Plant Owl and her family to a primary school in Johannesburg - one for Grades 1-3 and another talk for Grades 4-7.

Not having (human) kids myself, I was reminded today just how funny and spontaneous children can be. In a question and answer session:

Me: Ok boys and girls. Can anyone tell me the type of Owl that you see here? (holding the cover of our book which has a big close-up of PPO)
Reply from a little girl: Pot Plant Owl (reading the name of the book)

Me: Can you tell me where owls normally nest?
Reply from a boy: In pot plants

Question from a 2nd grader: I know the egg comes from the Mommy, but I want to know
where the egg leaves the Mommy.
Me: Your teachers will answer all your question in class

It was funny, entertaining and rewarding. To see the kids' expressions when I showed them photographs of the chicks, was priceless. When I showed them the book, the 'oohs' and 'aahs' that filled the hall, made my heart sing.

Not one child showed fear of owls, or any kind of superstition towards owls. It shows that slowly the message is getting across. Owls are lovely and so is all the other wildlife around us. I left the school happy and comforted by the knowledge that these bright kids are going to look after our Natural Environment when they grow up.

(And I left happy, knowing that the 'harder' questions like the one I avoided above, will be answered by their teachers...teehee)

6 October and still only two chicks...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day 4 - 6 October and still two chicks...

6:30pm Central African Time
we've just done a quick head count when Pot Plant Owl left the nest for all of 1 minute. There are still only 2 chicks and 1 egg. The fact that Pot Plant Owl was so quick to return to the nest might be an indication that the 3rd egg will hatch in the matter of hours.

There is a definite difference between the egg hatchings of last year and this year. Last year, all three eggs hatched within 2 days - somewhere between the 20th September and the 22nd September. This year, there is already a 4-day difference between Chick 1 and soon-to-be Chick 3.

Perhaps this means that instead of just protecting the first laid eggs, PPO actually started incubating them? Who knows. We will watch tonight and tomorrow with baited breath for our third and final chick to make an appearance.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

3 October - PM Central African Time

We're witnessing the most incredible feeding session. Minutes ago, Pappa flew in with a sizeable meal for his family. Pot Plant Owl started shredding pieces of food for her chicks.

We're now watching what can only be described as a 'feeding frenzy'. Webcam viewers are seeing the tiny little white heads popping up, and grabbing the pieces of shredded meat hungrily. It appears the chicks are ravenous for they are coming back for more and more and more. How their minute bodies will handle all the food going in, is anyone's guess.

From past experience watching PPO chicks, tomorrow I fully expect to see two chicks double their current size.

Pappa's in with more food - a tasty King Cricket which would normally be devoured in seconds. He stands patiently at the nest, offering the meal to his family, but there are no takers.

A minute later:

He's just flown away with the King Cricke, probably to eat it himself somewhere in peace.

Day 3 - 5 October and 2nd chick confirmed

And we now have a second chick. Still one egg that hasn't hatched. Come on baby - we can't wait to meet you!

Day 2 - 4 Oct and is there another chick?

No sooner had we confirmed that there was only one chick in the nest, and taken the picture below, then PPO started 'dancing'.

From left to right she shuffled, her head dipping to the silent beat of Motherhood in her soul. We've seen this 'dance' before, and we suspect (but can't yet prove) that the cause of this 'John Travolta' behaviour comes in a package that is white, tiny, fluffy and adorable.

You guessed it - the arrival of the second chick!

A short while later, viewers noticed eggshell on the side of the pot, and at one stage, PPO picked up a piece of (presumably) eggshell, and ate it.

Very exciting and can't wait to confirm Chick no.2 tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Day 2 - Still only one chick

Our tiny chick resting its weary head on the its 'soon-to-be-siblings'.
Day 2 and there is still only one egg.

Pot Plant Owl keeps a stocpile of food in the nest with her. Periodically, she shreds pieces of food and feeds the little chick.

Monday, October 3, 2011

It moves!

Day 1 First Chick Confirmed

Day 1 - 3 October 2011

It's unconfirmed at this stage, but there is every chance that we have our first hatching. At 11h50 local South African time, viewers saw Pot Plant Owl eating an eggshell.

Hours before, we had noticed PPO's change of behaviour to mirror what we usually see at this time when the chicks are due. PPO fidgets a lot in the nest, looks down and bends her head out of view. She sits more upright and we can confirm from our bedroom door view of her, that PPO is 'perching' rather than laying flat down. And the final tell-tale sign that could very well make the arrival of a chick true, is PPO's constant hooting today, and Pappa's immediate reply.

I'm not one for counting my chickens (owls) before they hatch, so I will try not to get too excited until I see the tiny bundle of white fluff for myself - or at the very lest, see it on someone's video or photograph.

So I encourage you all to keep a close eye on her, and see if you can spot our first PPO chick of the season. Happy viewing!

1 October and the Heavens open...

The sudden change of weather always amazes me. One minute the day is bright and sunny, with the promise of many more days that are alike to follow. The next minute, the skies turn a threatening black, as thick clouds build up. You know there is one mighty storm on its way.

And today it came - signalling the start of our annual summer rainfall. Typically we have beautiful, hot days and in the later afternoon the clouds build up. The Highveld (the are where we live)is an area that frequently gets thunder and lightning storms.

Poor Pot Plant Owl lay in her nest, covering her eggs as best as she could. With the heavy rains, there isn't much chance of Pappa hunting, so they both go a little hungry tonight.