Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Creatures Of The Night

A quick update before I set off for Wales in just a few hours. My birding over the past week or so has mainly continued to consist of excursions into the back garden either side of Big Brother. A week last Friday I was fortunate enough to spot the Barn Owl again as it flew silently across the front of the house.

On Tuesday night, I focused my attention on a local bat roost. Between 9:30pm and 10:00pm I counted just under 60 presumed Pipistrelle bats emerging from their sleeping quarters. I'm sure many more came out after I had called it a night, but it was a little chilly, it had started to spit with rain and, more importantly, Big Brother was on!

Also that evening, a Curlew flew over the house, which I think is the first one I have ever seen from the garden. In a similar vein, there was a moment of birding magic at work earlier in the day. A large bird caught my eye as I pretended to slave over my keyboard. My immediate reaction was Buzzard, which are relatively common in Wythall, but then I realised it was something much better - a Red Kite! I caught sight of the forked tail just as it disappeared from view, the final piece of evidence that I needed to clinch its ID. My work colleagues wondered what I was up to as I leapt from my chair and pressed my nose against the glass. They remained a little non-plussed even when I explained the enormity of the situation, but what do they know?

On Friday evening, I had not one, but two Barn Owls over the back garden, then last night Mrs Reg is convinced she heard a Tawny Owl outside. Despite watching and listening for over half an hour, I didn't see or hear it. Mrs Reg thinks it was close - she heard it despite the bedroom windows being shut. Sounds like another one has slipped through my fingers. Damn!

A report from Wales will appear upon my return next week.

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