|David Inshaw - Silbury Hill on a Starry Night|
Yesterday evening we went for a talk on barn owls at our neighbouring village of Marton at the little village hall. It was well attended, and the man who gave it interesting and completely obsessed by his subject. But there again where would we be if people did not devote their lives to saving small things.
Facts I learnt; from a high of 14,000 pairs in 1932, we are now down to 9.000 pairs. They prefer field voles to eat, but these little creatures crash in numbers every 3 to 4 years. The owl man, called Robin, did not like the estate agents Strutt & Parker, for their ability to urge farmers to sell, sell old barns for conversion, neither did he like 'The Yorkshire Post' though I can't remember for what reason. Did you know that if you interfered with an owl nest, you could be liable to prosecution, £5000, or 6 months in jail.
But there again you can put up barn boxes either within the barn or outside. One farmer, and Robin likes farmers, had turned his barns into an upmarket set of holiday homes, and built a nest box attached to the wall, he had also attached a cam recording of the activities of the owls to each of the holiday homes to keep his guests amused.
I can remember watching a television programme of barn owls, quartering the meres of the Somerset Levels, soft slow flight, there is no noise from their wings, they are the most beautiful of birds in flight, and I have seen them on several occasions round Avebury, when we have come back from an evening meal, so that is why you see David Inshaw's 'Silbury hill with Owl' at the top.
And another illustrator that comes to mind is Robin Tanner who lived in Wiltshire and has a very particular style, must get his 'Woodland Plants' book
And just as a note we should welcome back the activities of Abigail the hurricane, who apparently is recharging her energies to once more sweep across this part of England and Scotland, but it was a beautiful mild day yesterday.