Current Release

Current Release
The Warrior's Viking Bride

Monday, November 05, 2007

Whooper swans and tawny owls

Yesterday, when helping my dh with the bonfire, it was basically still. My dh froze and cocked his head. A large smile appear on his face. Then I heard it as well -- wing beats flapping far above us. Two swans soared over our head -- large and majestic with wing beats so loud that you would almost think they were calling out.
My dh and youngest later went birdwatching up at Grindon Lough and saw seven Whooper swans. It has been a long time since my husband has seen Whoopers there. He had thought the swans he had seen earlier were whoopers but hadn't wanted to say. We mainly get Bewicks. Grindon was positively teaming with winter migrants -- grey lags, field fares, huge flocks of golden plover and lapwings as well. They were so excited that they came back for the telescope.
Generally Whoopers mean a cold winter. But it was the sound of their wings in the air that will stay with me.
At the moment much to my dh's delight, my youngest is very gone on birdwatching. Other people might find collections of stuffed birds boring or uninspiring, but my dh and youngest spend ages looking at them, discussing them. My youngest has started submitting bird reports to the local bird club and I believe is taking part in the Bird Atlas by submitting roving reports.
As I was finishing my work on my wip for the day, I suddenly heard a loud screeching call. My dh came in from the garden to report that a tawny owl had flown directly over his head and he could see the markings. We apparently have two in the dene and they were calling to each other. Tawny owls have an almost unearthly cry. They fly on silent wings.
My wip is coming on. My editors definitely have good eyes...


Allison Littlehales said...

Glad to hear your youngest is taking part in the Bird Atlas 2007-2011, Michelle. I am surveying in my area and it's great to know there are young people getting involved in this.

We don't have Whooper Swans by us, but we do have Tawny Owls and a few pairs of Barn Owls. I am lucky enough to go out monitoring the Barn Owl nest boxes and natural sites in the summer to record breeding success.


Michelle Styles said...

Oh hooray that you are surveying Allison. I think the Bird atlas is really important.

And lucky you to have barn owls near you. I love watching barn owls. They fly so silently that they are like ghosts.

We saw a tree creeper and a great spotted wooodpecker in thegarden today, so I am hoping they are resident. My dh says that he has seen them enough times to say theyare...