Thursday, 1 September 2016

September: "Then nightly sings the staring owl, Tu-whoo!"*

Marazion Marsh   Harold C. Harvey, 
© Penlee House Museum & Gallery

"Now that September is here, the nights are gradually drawing in.  By 8 p.m. the sun has set, and the sky is almost dark.  Outside the Old Vicarage, a hundred yards or so east of the village shop, a bird is perched on the telegraph wires: those same wires where, a few months ago, the first swallow of the summer was sitting.

The bird is a tawny owl.  It sits on the topmost wire, unnoticed by drivers passing beneath on their journey home from work.  Occasionally it twists its head slowly from side to side; though even when a medium-sized bat passes closely by it takes no notice.  After a few minutes, it drops off the wire on soft, silent wings, disappearing into the dense foliage of a sycamore.  In an hour or so, when the remaining glimmer of light has finally been enveloped by darkness, it will go hunting, listening for the rustling of hidden rodents below."
Wild Hares & Humming Birds  Stephen Moss

When I was young, we would look for solitary owls sitting on telegraph poles in the dusk along country lanes, almost indistinguishable from the ceramic insulators.  Just like this little owl in Dobrogea, Romania,  featured in the Daily Mail newspaper.

* "Tu-whit, tu-whoo!" Love's Labour's Lost, Winter song,  W. Shakespeare

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