Tuesday 16 August 2011

Off the leash

After several months of crutches and sticks, Our Lass is now walking unaided and working hard to build up her leg muscles again. Today, by way of celebration, we relaunched that age-old post prandial occupation, the evening constitutional. It seems like a year since we've been able to do this, and, in fact, it just about is. However, it felt good to be out together in the fresh air, enjoying the setting sun and the onset of dusk.

We chose Bury Field as the location for this outing, principally because there's lots of grass for gentler walking. As the link above reveals, this area is common land on the edge of Newport Pagnell and is mainly used by grazing cattle and folk walking their dogs.

As we left the car park, behind the main street, we could see that some hard paths and information boards had been constructed since our last visit. As we were in no rush to join the throng of dog walkers and model aeroplane enthusiasts that we could see all around, we stopped to read the boards and learn a bit about the history of the place. Glancing up from this task, I noticed a pale-coloured bird, gliding over the pasture at the far side of the common. Gull? Egret? Barn Owl!

We stood rooted to the spot, as the owl quartered the ground, flying nearer and nearer. It seemed oblivious to the dogs, their owners, model aircraft and the gathered mass of humankind, as indeed were most of them to it. As it passed us, though, we realised that we weren't the only ones taking an interest, for a flock of Swallows were harassing it constantly. The Barn Owl, however, was simply intent upon the task in hand. With a sudden bank and turn, it folded its wings and plummeted into the long grass, to emerge moments later with an unfortunate rodent grasped in its talons. It flew off, back across the common, trailing Swallows and longing glances from His and Her Tenseness.

As we pottered along the paths cut though the grass, the owl appeared several more times, gliding silently to and fro, ever alert for the tell-tale sign of a vole, yet seemingly impervious to the noise and bustle all around it.

Happy times.


Spadger said...

Ah good news all round! First you've blogged - I've been agonising over the appearance of the next for a few days now. Second the very good lady wife - Mrs 'our lass' W has cast aside the crutches that is really very good news that pleases me to read and finally you spend the evening in the graceful company of Tyto. Wow!!

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Congrats to Her Tenseness. Evening walks can be so lovely together. Great inspiration. Hmm... maybe I should get off this computer, grab the hubby, and go for a stroll, too?

Imperfect and Tense said...

Thanks, spager. A close-ish encounter with an owl is always a bit special and this was no exception.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Oh, Katie, that is a conundrum. I would go with the stroll, there's always the opportunity of unexpected blog material!