Proving that a pint is good for you, me and the lads picked up one single call from the car park of the White Hart, Friday evening. It was enough to separate the bird from little owl, a rising note at the end being the clincher. Little only does this for one of its calls, which includes a much longer preamble.
I had to wade through more than two minutes of tawny owl noises on my Roché CD to be sure: the species is almost great tit-like in its repertoire. But I was happy enough and the year list moved on to 199. More to the point I’d finally logged all five British owls in the one year. This has only been possible thanks to May’s long-eared owl joining the country list. It’s been a surprise that the commonest of the owls was the last, and so late – the end of October.
Now November is upon us. Chaffinches are back; they don’t inhabit Port Marine during the summer, my last record being back in March. A handsome male sparrowhawk was also perching openly this morning on the rhyne that flows through the estate, and a huge flock of long-tailed tits kept me hoping for something more exotic among them. Not that I was disappointed: those pint-sized fluffy aerial tadpoles are a delight any time.