09 September 2016

Owl vs bat

Yesterday evening it was very warm so I had the sitting room windows open, dusk falls quite early and by nine it was dark outside.  It was surprisingly quiet, no cars, no people just the noise of the breeze in the trees and then the owls waking up.  One started hooting really close by so I looked out and there on top of next door’s chimney was the unmistakable silhouette of a tawny; after a few more hoots it fell silent, its head bobbing up and down and swaying from side to side obviously trying to get a ‘lock onto’ its prey.  We have lots of mice and voles in the garden so I was hoping it might swoop down right in front of me.   Sure enough the owl launched itself from the chimney pot but its target was not a small rodent but rather ambitiously a bat!  The owl stooped down, flicked its wings back, feet forward and talons out (doing quite a good impression of a sparrowhawk); initially I wondered what on earth it was doing but then a bat jinked left, right and then going up over the owl before disappearing at high speed round the side of the house faster than I think I’ve seen a bat fly before. The owl righted itself and flew quite lazily right past the window heading off down the hedgeline towards more productive hunting across the fields at the top of the incline.