NEWS CLIPS - December 2012

A MOST UNUSUAL VISITOR!
A graceful visitor came gently strolling along the lagoon shore a few weeks ago to the surprise and delight of some of the residents along Cearn Drive who were fortunate to witness this handsome bush buck on his stroll.

 


This behaviour is very unusual. Speculation is that he had strayed out of the thicket at the shore edge of The Heads and become lost.

Some residents kept watch to ensure that he was not harried by any dogs before returning to safety.

XMAS MESSAGE
LIRA extends warm welcome to all our members who will be enjoying their holiday on Leisure Island this Festive Season. We hope you have a happy and restful time with your family and friends.

Our annual Christmas Carols event, sponsored by Sotheby's, will take place on Friday 21st December from 19h00 at the Entry Park (behind the Security Hut). The Pipers will be performing and of course we will be singing all the well known Carols.

You should bring something to sit on (blanket, stool etc) and any refreshements

In case of rain, the event will be held the following evening: Saturday 22nd December.

HOLIDAY OVERCROWDING/NOISE AND ALCOHOL ABUSE
LIRA has worked tirelessly this year with Knysna Municipality and the SAPS to achieve a holiday season where the amenities of the Island will be enjoyed by all in an atmosphere of peace, quiet and harmony. Where the rights of all are respected as well as our Island.

We have been promised appropriate and effective law enforcement, especially in regard to the by-law prohibiting the consumption of alcohol in public amenities. The Municipality have advised that they will be launching a public awareness campaign shortly. Allsound and our guards will be engaged in assisting the municipal law enforcement officers and SAPS.

IF YOU NEED TO REPORT ANY INCIDENT OR BREACH OF THE LAWS PHONE ALLSOUND : 044 382 5589/ 044 5584/ 044 5046

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The AGM of LIRA will be held at the Leisure Isle Country Club on Tuesday 18th December from 18h00. Light snacks will be served and there will be a cash bar.

BAIT COLLECTION
The Authorities are taking a firm stance on illegal bait collection.

As will be seen from the Map a large portion of the estuary around Leisure Island lies within the prohibited area. Fishermen are urged to obey the Rules




OUR BABY OWLS

My pal

SPOTTED EAGLE OWLS
Recently, Leisure Isle residents, and visitors, were delighted and intrigued by the birth of two Spotted Eagle Owlets in the large blue gums bordering Steenbok Nature Reserve and Links Drive. The fledgling owls have attracted a following of ardent fans who have monitored their progress during October and November. These celebrity chicks have taken the attention of the paparazzi in their stride, but the parents have been rather agitated and given warning hoots when their chicks have been approached too closely. They have even swooped down on unwary photographers and "dive-bombed" dogs and cats which they perceive as threats.

For the past three years this pair of Spotted Eagle Owls has reared chicks in the owl box near the Leisure Isle Country Club. This year, however, there was a dispute between the owls and Egyptian geese over ownership of the box. The geese won and the owls retreated to nest in a large blue gum near to their original breeding ground. Ironically, the geese immediately vacated the owl box after victory had been won.

The first fledgling owl was spotted on the ground near Horne Drive at the end of September. Concerned residents held their breath during the evening traffic hour. Lynn and Mike St. Quintin hastily erected signs near the nest cautioning motorists. A collective sigh of relief was shared when the owlet left the ground and flew onto the wall of Nr. 1 Horne Drive. Three or four days later, a second owlet appeared on the wall and these two downy bundles of fluff became the main attraction on the island.

According to Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa, the breeding season is mainly from August to October and the eggs incubate for 30-32 days. Two to four eggs are laid. The chicks spend 40 days in the nest and are dependent on their parents for at least 5 weeks after they leave the nest. The eggs do not hatch simultaneously, so one chick is smaller than the other. Spotted on rooftops in the vicinity of the nest, the younger fledgling cuddles up to its older sibling and there are touching displays of affection as they huddle close together and preen each other. They communicate in hisses and bill-clacking. The first-born is much more precocious and independent. Within three weeks the older chick started imitating its parents hunting for insects. It chases the insects on the ground and catches them with its talons.

The owls feed on insects, arthropods, small birds, mice, frogs and reptiles. At dusk, when they start to hunt, the small birds in the vicinity give alarm calls. A pair of glossy starlings regularly dive-bombs the parent owls in an effort to drive them away. The crows, too, are very aggressive and the baby owls react with alarm when a crow flies overhead.

The baby owls appear to be thriving and are growing at a phenomenal rate. They can now fly short distances and have more than doubled in size. Those residents privileged to have shared their gardens and roof-tops with the owls for a few days, have derived enormous pleasure from watching their behaviour and development. Nature never ceases to amaze and inspire.

Rose Markantonis, December 2012
Photographs: Claudia Fioravanti


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