The Christmas Lights spectacular turns the normally quiet-by-night Toowoomba Botanical Gardens into a riot of colour and sound, the kind of place any nocturnal animal would avoid like the plague. So, I was happy to hear, and then spot, a calling Southern Boobook Owl, sitting in a hollow in a Plane Tree less than 50 metres from all the Yuletide commotion.
I returned several times with camera gear, but was unable to get a photo of the owls. I did spot three birds quietly flying about, so perhaps they have raised one or two young in the park. The “mopoke” call of these birds is heard throughout East Toowoomba every summer, and since Christmas they have been calling in trees several blocks away from the Gardens. A most evocative night-time sound.