July 15: Arguments With Owlists

A Sunset drive tonight with more high quality sightings. The kind where the animals are up close and doing things. Tonight was all about the owls. Oddly, the only big Kalahari owl we missed out on was the Spotted Eagle Owl, which is by far the most common!

In the Kalahari, a lot of our Spotted Eagle Owls have orange eyes. This is a problem because Spotted Eagle Owls are supposed to have yellow eyes. It’s the easiest way to tell the difference between the Cape Eagle Owl (with it’s orange eyes) and the nearly identical Spotted Eagle Owl (with it’s yellow eyes). This had lead to more than a few arguments with serious birders on my drives, who insist we’re seeing Cape Eagle Owls. But actually, we’re seeing a rare ‘rufous morph’ of Spotted Eagle Owl– with orange eyes. But try telling the birders that.

Sightings:

Small Spotted Genet
African Wild Cat
Cape Fox
Black Backed Jackal
Bat Eared Fox
Steenbok
Springbok
Wildebeest
Gemsbok
Springhare
Scrub Hare
Southern White Faced Scops Owl
Verreaux’s Eagle Owl
Barn Owl

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