Astley Park Stroll: An owl hoots

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It was nice to hear our owl again tonight. It was a chilly dusk in Astley Park, but the place was almost back to normal after the winter freeze. All signs of snow and ice have gone now. The pond finally thawed out the end of last week, it must have very thick in places.

The ducks, free to wander the lake at last, after being penned into the hall end; the sheltered haven the only part that never seems to freeze.

As we walk past the hall, it’s darkness ever so slightly eerie, is enhanced by the distant hoot of the Tawny owl. Entering the copse at the rear of the hall, where we most commonly encounter the owl, I notice the hoo-hoo-hooo, is coming from the other side of the lake, which is where we are heading Tanya and I.

As we double back and cross the bridge over the stream, it’s obvious the owl is close by. The volume of that hoot must surely scare the socks off every timourous beastie in the neighbourhood. Then I see it. In the beech tree. A small and quivering bundle of hoot. It’s too far away to be sure in this light, silhouetted as it is against the steel grey sky, but from the hoo-hoo-hooo, I’m failrly sure it is a Tawny.

I spend a few moments straining to make some details out, but finally I stroll away, leaving the owl to contemplate the night’s hunt. And to ponder the source of the echoing hoot from the Parklands side of the woods.