20 December 2021
As I was leaving at 04:30 on Saturday morning for the Verloren Valei Nature Reserve, I was treated to the awesome sounds of the male and female calling to each other – the male from the mast light in the car park, and the female from the back of the tower, above the nest box.
I’ve often commented on the fact that the female ‘is not particularly talkative’ – even with her previous mate, so hearing them calling back and forth in the pre-dawn represented another big step forward in the re-establishment of their ‘interrupted’ pair bond. It also took me back to the early morning of 28 February 2021 – when the ‘new’ male arrived, and started answering the extended calling that the female had been doing over a few weeks, this as she tried to attract a new mate.
There were more promising signs yesterday evening when I got back from Dullstroom. The owls were roosting in sight of each other, but about 5 m apart – the male on the window ledge, and the female under the overhang. Encouragingly though, as it got dark, the male flew up to the parapet next to the female, spending about 20 minutes sitting about 40 cm from her before flying off into the park.
By Geoff Lockwood