OWL sat silently - all day - in the pouring rain. Somehow, she appeared immune to the drenching - heavy drizzle for the best part of the afternoon simply drifted past her water-proof feathers. There were times when OWL shuffled along her perch - probably to make herself more comfortable. Today she roosted on the telephone pole, next to the palm tree in the corner of our garden.
As the light faded this afternoon, the rain subsided and hundreds of flying ants emerged from their little holes in the ground. Their tiny silhouettes dotted the evening sky as they struggled to take flight. OWL stretched her wings and preened herself. After only 24 hours in her presence, I have come to learn that this is the cue for imminent take-off. I held my breath and waited.
True to style, she took flight - silently and swiftly. It's simply unbelievable how such a large creature, with such a heavy frame, can move so softly. There is hardly a whisper of sound.
To my delight, OWL did a stylish aerial manouever, lifted her large talons and grabbed a tiny flying ant mid-air. What a surprise! She diverted her path to the roof of our house and sat there with her prize. It took only two nibbles before it was gone. She panned the setting for more delicacies; her large, yellow eyes wide and alert.
I managed to get a few shots of her during the short interval on our roof.
But then she was off again...into the darkening sky.
OWL's night-time adventures will remain a mystery. That is the way of the wild.
Every time I see this magnificent bird, I am overwhelmed with a feeling of deep gratitude - for the privilege of being able to observe her and share her environment - even if it is only for a short while. I do so hope that OWL finds a mate. And on Monday the owl box will be installed.
I can't wait for sunrise - to see if she returns. There are never any guarantees with wild creatures.
But I do hope so.