The Mysterious Lane Cove North Noise – Solved!!

Two weeks ago we were contacted by a Lane Cove North resident asking if we could find the source of a mysterious alarm that went off intermittently during the night.  ITC was on the case.

The Request

“I live in Stokes Street and every night for the last six weeks, an alarm has been going off. It happens intermittently for around 20-30 minutes about five times between 6.00 pm and 5 ,30am. It is a low tone…
My boyfriend and I have searched for the source, and have come up empty handed. It is starting to drive us crackers, as it is annoying enough to be keeping us awake. Can you please do a shout out to Huxtable Ave, Stokes Street, Helen Street and Murray Street to see if anyone else knows the source of the noise?”

The Response

Initially, no-one could pin down the source of the noise, but other Lane Cove North Residents agreed they could hear this sound during the night.  Then a few days ago, we were contacted by ITC follower, Nigel, who gave us the first clue in solving the case of the mysterious noise.

“Noticed there was a mystery around Stokes St Lane Cove regarding am alarm between 6.00pm and 5:30 am. I too have heard this repeating low tone – one night when I came home I thought I could hear it from the trees – a bit of internet research and it could be one of our resident owls (there’s a few in Lane Cove). I’m no expert on owls but this might be it – initially, I thought it was an alarm too.”

The Investigation

ITC contacted Birdlife Australia and asked if they could put us in contact with an owl expert.  Enter stage left, “owl expert”  Tim Bawden.  Tim told ITC it was very unlikely that an Owl was making the mysterious noise.  He thought it was more likely that the sound was being made by a group of Tawny Frogmouths (or as he likes to call them  Podargus strigoides).  Apparently, Tawny Frogmouths like to live in built-up urban areas.    He said they had a distinctive sound which was low and repetitive.


The Eureka Moment

We tracked down a Tawney Frogmouth soundbite and sent it to both our Stokes Street Resident and Nigel. They both agreed it was the sound they heard.  You can hear the sound on the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage’s website here.

ITC Fans Know Better

What ITC should have done was to cast our mind back to December 2015.  This was when an ITC fan asked us to help identify some birds he had seen around Lane Cove.  Guess what?  They were Tawny Frogmouths and one Facebook Fan even said they sound like a car alarm!!!!!!!  You can read that post here (and it was a very popular post – we like our birds in Lane Cove)

So that closes the chapter on another Lane Cove mystery!!!!  What should ITC investigate next??


Do you have a local issue you would like help with? ITC is here to help just email us at [email protected]

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