I was in the field with the horses at 7.10pm yesterday evening. I’m not usually at the yard that late, I was waiting for Kiwi to finish licking out his feed bucket before turning him back in with Ben. A couple of bats were swooping around us, diving up and down. I don’t know what type they were but they looked big. I always enjoy watching them, their characteristic wings flapping energetically as they dart up above the horizon into the evening light and then disappear again below the dark tree line.
As I watched the bats swooping above our heads I caught sight of a barn owl flying out from the old dove cote across Kiwi’s field towards a copse of trees in the far corner. It was an amazing creature. A distinct bright bird with wide curved wings. A few minutes later, a second owl flew out onto the same path above the field and into the darkness. I don’t know if these two were a mated pair, hunting to feed their young? Or perhaps two young fledglings?
I’ve spotted one barn owl in the bottom field before. The top of the field is several feet higher than the bottom, which is surrounded by woodland. It’s an excellent place to view birds and bats. There are often 3 or more red kites screeching from their nests and flying high above the tops of the trees. If you’re very lucky you can catch sight of a heron skimming across the sky, flying towards his home by the ponds within the trees.
Seeing the barn owls tonight makes me think about getting a wildlife camera trap set up in the dove cote. I feel sure they must be living inside it, it’s a perfect home as it’s undisturbed and has open window spaces in the bricks high up on both ends of the building. A perfect place to view your surroundings but keep young birds safely nested.
In previous years I remember poo picking the big field during winter evenings. I wear a head torch to navigate my way through the grass in search of muck. It illuminates the area of grass directly in front my head and also the swarm of tiny bugs and midges that follow the heaped wheelbarrow. The bats notice this and start swooping around me, darting right in front of me quickly swirling up and down. It was quite startling at first but it’s really wonderful to see them hunting so efficiently. They know my movement better than I do myself, they move so fast. I feel a bit like a powerful witch, striding through darkness leading a cloud of bats.
Happy Autumn Everyone.