Commenting that this was an event with which I was unfamiliar, several folk wrote back, in shock, at my lack of engagement during the 30 years of the scheme.
It is a bit odd, right enough. How can I not have known? Where have I been all this time? How many bundles of feathery fluff have not made it into the world because I was blithely unaware of NNBW?
[Hangs head in shame]
"My name is Tense and I have a problem... "
So, I got with the programme, I went online and I sent off for the information pack from the BTO.
I'm happy to be corrected if I'm wrong, and I'm pretty sure that First and Second Born will gladly point it out if necessary, but I've not put up a nest box at home during my adult life (so far, he added hastily). The only reasons that I can think of for this curious state of affairs is that we were either only in an area for a short time or, when we were putting down roots, we were surrounded by neighbours with cats.
There is a nest box in our garage, transported all the way from Milton Keynes (where it had remained in several garages), after one or both of the girls had constructed it years ago at an RSPB event. It may now finally see the light of day.
But what I would really like to construct or purchase or encourage a particular bird to build is... well, if you've clicked on the links, you'll already know it's a House Martin nest box. We have the space, we have the habitat, there are House Martins that frequent the neighbourhood during the Summer and I have an idea where to site a box.
The only trouble is, it's above a window that Our Lass looks out of when she's pottering in the 'shed'. And as idyllic as the Orkney scenery is, it pales a little when viewed through the sheen of loads of House Martin poo. It's not a prospect that she finds encouraging.
However, I love House Martins, as anyone who can remember this early I&T post will recall. And I think Our Lass probably loves them enough, too. They remind us of holidays in a wee cottage in Shropshire, with burbling Martins nesting outside the bedroom window. They remind us of Summer evenings, with flocks of hirundines swooping through the air, devouring any small insects on the wing. Their gentle, bubbling chatter is a tonic to the ears, as listening to it is a means of escaping the frenetic background noise of 21st Century life.
This afternoon, the information pack arrived.
Operation Opaque Window is go!