Thursday, 24 March 2016
Eastern Grass Owl (Tyto Capensis)
In a recessed seating area outside the Hinchinbrook Shire Council Building is a work of art – the first of two public mosaic installations completed by Ingham’s mosaic artist group. This mosaic features those things that are iconic about the Shire. The eye is drawn to the centre of the art work where stools of cane stand proudly in front of the mighty Herbert River and a patch work of cane fields. A full moon glows in the sky as an owl swoops through the night sky. The owl is the endangered eastern grass owl (Tyto Capensis) taking flight on dusk from its grassy habitat. Tyto is reputed to be one of Australia’s largest urban wetland rehabilitation of a naturally occurring, but previously degraded swamp and bushland and is named for the eastern grass owl. Cinematographer and naturalist John Young, frequently referred to as the Birdman, highlighted the uniqueness and fragility of the fauna of the Herbert River Valley. His personal vision instigated the Tyto Wetlands, a concept to which he gave design advice and provided images for the visitor centre. As a result Tyto, today, is important to the conservation of local species providing a healthy ecosystem in close access to the town of Ingham and draws avid bird watchers keen to catch a glimpse of the eastern grass owl in flight.