Wednesday, 18 June 2008

What an owler

As there was a full moon, and the tide was out late, I decided to visit the beach alone with the dogs at around 10.30 pm last night, after clearing up from the guest's supper and laying breakfast.

We had a great run on the beach, there was one family there, and one dog with them, whom Berri-Biskit made instant friends with. When they left, a fisherman arrived, also with a dog and he was setting up his fishing gear. I always worry a little that Berri- B will discover some sort of delicious bait and cause mayhem. All was well.

There is a stream that comes down to the sea through Trebarwith Strand beach. It forms a mini delta as it reaches the sea, ie., it widens and is very shallow. I waded through this, getting my feet and sandals very wet, as I could not gauge the depth, as it was approaching darkness. When we returned, I decided to cross on the rocks a little higher up, so as not to get wet (eh, I was already wet).

I crossed at a little rocky place, only a couple of feet to get over, a little slippery, but fine.

Not fine. Woomph. I slipped on seaweed and went, bottom first, into a rock pool. As I went down, all I could think of was my keys in my pocket and the two bags of steaming poo in my hand. I was absolutely soaked, and covered in sand. Fortunately, the water was fresh, as it was heading toward the sea. Nothing hurt, except my pride. I hoped no-one had seen me.

The poo bags were still clutched in my hand, but had taken in water - I just hope they hadn't leaked.

I scurried back to the car, which fortunately was only at the top of the beach. I just wanted to get home and out of my drenched clothes. It is only about a five minute drive home. I drove carefully, aware I was probably a bit shocked.

I suddenly saw some brown wings, near my wheel. An owl had come out of the bushes. It is a tree lined, quiet road. Had I hit it, what should I do? Carry on, go back? I had to drive passed my usual turn off to turn round, and, when I got back, there he was, a lovely little juvenile tawny owl, sitting right in the middle of the road. I got out, and we looked at each other for a bit. If I moved anywhere behind him, he swivelled his head and watched me more. He showed no sign of moving out of the road, I didn't know if he was injured. I could hear his mum, calling him, I knew I should avoid touching him, or his mum might not recognise his scent and reject him. Also, I thought he might bite me if I tried to touch him. But I was worried he might be injured and that a car might squash him.

A car came along, shortly followed by another. Fortunately, they were together, and the occupants were middle aged women. Hopefully it was too dark by then for them to notice my state of total wetness, and I had almost forgotten about that anyway. We were all at a bit of a loss, and concerned for the owl's welfare. Then, the idea of using a coat to flap the owl to the side of the road came up, and I did so, with my soaking fleece. He was not happy with this plan, and puffed out his wings to their full width - about 18ins. - and made alarming clacking noises with his beak. But, once at the side of the road, he stayed there. And, his wings did not look injured, and he could walk fine. He had probably just been stunned and was in shock with all the lights etc. We all left the area, gingerly. When I turned round further down the road, and came back up, there was no sign of him.

I may not go down to the beach tonight.