Home Run, Touch Down, A straight six back over the bowler's head. All of the above in fact. I'm rejoicing somewhat. Why you ask?
Well you may recall from posts like these that E,W & W's original homebase (occasionally referred to as TransRural in homage to the Klf) (and the continued residence of mes parents) has an arboretum.
We call it an arboretum which is a bit grand - its actually simply a field of rough grass planted with some cool trees. We've loaded the rough grass with snakes head fritillaries, galanthus, scilla, narcissus and various native primula and various other native plant life has popped up too so we let the grass grow pretty long.
Which makes it an ideal home for voles (to the point where at one point the grass was long enough you could hear and sometimes see them jumping out of your way as you walked through it.
Anyway that combined with various conversations, discussions, hatched and unhatched plots, schematics and idealistic daydreams led us to put some things in there in addition to trees and today I received from Papa Haku photographic proof positive that one of them has paid off:
You little beauty!
The barn owl, Tyto alba, is enjoying a little bit of a bounceback in its decline in the UK right now because owl boxes are becoming popular - we put one in on the off chance and were rewarded with 3 years of jackdaw broods but it looks like this might be the year!
Barn Owls are declining for a number of reasons but one of the most easily fixed is a lack of breeding locations. The loss of British barns has taken the owls with it to a certain extent and now these boxes are taking their place with good results.Barn owls are still a reasonably regular chance sighting around Transrural's general area (although by no means common) and if you get good gen they are almost a cast iron certainty nonetheless they are suffering from habitat loss and a somewhat suicidal liking for hunting near roads.
Nothing would give me or my father more pleasure than a brood of these babies this summer even if I'm on the wrong continent to enjoy them in the flesh. I will of course be expecting more and better photos if the owl(s) sticks around and I will of course share them with you here.
If you are wondering what the distinctly unbritish looking thing is behind the box its a stand of either the edible bamboo, Phyllostachis dulcis, or the giant black panther bamboo, Phylostachis nigra henonensis (spelling may be dodgy on that one?), I forget which.