Years ago when I was living at a house in Swiss Club Road whose garden abutted the then Turf Club’s outer car park, there was a pair of Spotted Wood-owls (Strix seloputo) living in some old trees just inside and outside the garden. They were resident for several years until their favorite tree blew down in a storm one day and they apparently moved away. Virtually any morning, if it had rained in the night, I could go down through the gate and find the pair drinking and bathing in a particular puddle. They took little notice of me as long as I remained at a distance. Would that I had been as interested then in photography as I am now, but I wasn’t, and so have no pictorial record of this.
On one occasion I heard a lot of noise at the bottom of the garden in mid afternoon and walked down to see what was going on. There on a branch about twenty feet up sat two adult Spotted Wood-owls and two young ones. Some yards away on other branches were four Oriental Magpie-robins (Copsychus saularis) vociferously telling the owls to go away. The owls were taking not the slightest notice of this and ignored me. In due course the Oriental Magpie-robins gave up and peace reigned once more.
Comment by R. Subaraj: Great account! So little is understood about the Spotted Wood-owl that even their bathing in a puddle provides good data. Then you have the breeding record of this uncommon owl. I do not recall any other breeding records from the Swiss Club Road pair. Finally, local confirmation that the Oriental Magpie-Robin, also dislikes and protests the presence of a potential predator within it’s territory… from a distance of course.
Richard Hale with R Subaraj
3rd December 2005