A short story of an amazing encounter below, as we have enjoyed the presence of up to 3 Short Eared Owls at the farm over the past 3 months. They are a little quieter this month and I am told that this almost certainly means that a pair has nested. So we could have young soon…
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea, in a beautiful pea-green boat…
Well my owl and pussycat didn’t actually go afloat, but they did have an interesting few minutes together at the farm after the sun went down a few Fridays ago. It’s hard to show the world everything that goes on in the country, even with a gopro strapped to your head it’s impossible to express the wonder of impromptu visits from a short eared owl – not too common on Tortola – swooping past our deck after dark (probably two feet away) with a shriek and a “whhoooshh”.
The owl is a ‘vagrant’ in the VI, selecting open country and low bush to hunt and nest, picking fence posts for resting and observing the next meal. This is exactly why we are lucky enough to see the spectacular predators at Diamond Estate Farm.
My other ‘predator’ (that’s if you are a mouse and he’s awake) is of course Barney the Barn Cat. The incident I refer to was an amazing interaction between two creatures really not sure of each other, or whom should be in charge!
The owl that evening alighted on a fence rail close to the house. He usually picks this particular pen – I assume for the location and view of the hill behind.
Barney the Barn Cat was quick to spot the infrequent visitor and sprung into life to see what was up! I watched through a torch spotlight from my deck above, as the furry feline stalked the feathered felon. As he crept closer across the open grass the owl spotted the cat and both froze in a moment of confusion.
Barney seemed to make a decision first and sprang (not too high in case he actually reached his potential prey!) as he did, the owl lifted off seemingly not through any concern for his life (!) but more as a reconnaissance mission to see if this mammal was actually a possible entree!
For a few moments both land based and aerial creatures bounced around checking each other out. The final verdict was a stalemate as the pussycat was just a little too large for the owl and the owl definitely had too many lethal weapons for the pussycat!
What a wonderful end to my day. Funny how Blue and Summer the parrots went VERY quiet as the massive wings all-but grazed their cage doors on the way off the property!