May is the beginning of the ‘winter’ months in Daintree – cooler nights and misty mornings, followed by beautiful sunny days with temperatures in the mid-20’s.
In the cooler nights of late, owls have been calling. Around Barrett Creek the (lesser) Sooty Owl has been calling each night and in the town of Daintree, early morning calls of the Barking Owl have been common.
The Barking Owl, a small Ninox owl, often feeds on small bats which are swooping for insects under the street lights of town. These in turn are feeding on insects drawn to the light. On the ground, under the lights, are bugs, beetles and unfortunately, cane toads.
Last night a pair of Barking Owls called to each other incessantly for an hour or so – quite delightful!
The other favourite with birders is the Rufous Owl – a large (up to 55 cm) owl which swoops with deadly, but silent, precision on roosting birds or even bandicoots on the ground. The garden at Red Mill House in Daintree Village is often the hunting grounds of the Rufous Owl and many a birder has been called out from dinner to watch the spectacle of the Rufous Owl feeding in the garden.