Silent night

What we have noticed since we moved here last year is the quiet, especially at night. Listening to no background noise from the city has taken us time to acclimatise. Of course it is not deadly quiet – in the twilight and hours of darkness there is the chorus of the many birds and animals that share the large grounds.

My favourite is the Barn owl. He or she, is at their most active around four and five in the morning when the clarity of ‘tu-whit tu-whoo’ makes you feel part of a creepy horror movie.

The truth is that Sue and I do not have a great knowledge of the different species of birds or wildlife but it something that is high on our ‘to do list’. And has to be after our German guest, Monika explained that she had heard a very rare bird in the grounds during a walk at dusk. She recognised the very distinctive call of a Savi Warbler and played the call on her phone in the morning. Sue and I might not be ornithologists but we have a fabulous book of birds, The British Book of Birds’ published by Readers Digest and the AA. It is wonderfully illustrated with drawings of all the birds. My Mum left it to me last year when she passed away and she would have been thrilled to know that we are using it. So, I immediately looked up the page on Savi warblers and it was grouped under the heading of ‘A guide to rarer birds’. It stated the following:

Small breeding population established in Kent since 1960.; otherwise unknown in this country, though it nested in East Anglia until the mid nineteenth century; skulking; trilling song like that of the grasshopper warbler.”

So, we might now be inundated with twitchers searching Powdermills for rare and wonderful birds. Sue and I better start our studies!

It maybe silent at night but during the daytime, our Boxer dogs, Mabel and Boo are really enjoying playing on the south lawn that looks down to Loch Fyne. They love the space and freedom and boisterously ‘play fight’ much to our amusement.

However, these games have been superseded by a new game that the flock of House Martins living in the grounds have introduced. They fly at great speeds skimming the ground and soaring in the air as they ‘toy’ with the dogs who are desperately trying to chase them to no avail. It is fantastic to watch and exhausts the dogs in a very short time. The House Martins are related to the ‘Swift’ family of birds and as the name suggests they move with unbelievable verve and élan.

Boo and Mabel meet new guests when they arrive at Powdermills Bed and Breakfast near Inveraray. They have been remarkably calm and charming. Perhaps its because they are so tired from their antics with the House Martins.