Mrs Barn Owl joined us at 5.25. Melvyn ten minutes earlier.
The forecast gave this as the last decent dusk for a while, so here we were again watching this lovely bird. Her first appearance out on the grassland was short and she soon went back into the woods, presumably to fetch out her slumbering partner. As we waited for the next view, a pair of stonechats and a fly-over male peregrine kept us entertained.
She came out on her own, putting on a brief but superb show, plunging a couple of times like a missle into the nearby sward, before drifting over to the lake. She quickly returned, carrying prey - flying directly into the ivy covered roosting trees. Clearly to enjoy her snack (and share it with 'lazy boy'?). Eventually she finished eating and sat for a few glorious seconds on the edge of the carr, then glided off around the edge of the trees.
The light waned, but we were given one last view as she went back into the roost. We ambled back to our cars, putting the world to rights as we went.
Very busy at the Titchfield Haven NNR Craft Fair this weekend, so not much in the way of opportunities to get out and paint.
However, on sunday morning I grabbed the chance to open up the hides on the west side of the reserve. Although a little perky around the gills, the morning was glorious and bright. The light was sharp and keen, hi-lighting the loafing waders and ducks beautifully. Resisting the urge to paint, I did the honorable thing and made my way to the centre. Walking back round the lower end I noticed all the birds flush from the scrapes - there had to be a big bird of prey about. Sure enough a magnificent female Peregrine soon manifested itself from out of the havoc of fleeing birds. In between dragging a little old lady out of the road to stop her being run over and then trying to show her the bird as it flew about twenty feet over our heads, I managed to put a few shapes to paper while the moment was fresh. The Falcon failed in its attempt to catch breakfast this time, but I heard that she had better luck later, when duffing-up a flock of Wood Pigeons.
Can I just thank one and all for their support at the Fair, it was a lovely friendly couple of days and we raised a good sum of money for the ducks!
If you're expecting words of wisdom from Dan and Rosemary you may be sadly disappointed. However, if you want to keep up to date with our current projects then pick up the feed at the top of this column.