The day has come. We wake this morning to find the balcony empty. We scour our walls and the neighbours' walls for any sign of little chicks, but we can't find them.
As with the previous two years, it is a bitter-sweet moment for us. Neither one of us is happy, but we are relieved that the chicks are strong enough to go out with their parents into the 'wild'. Indie, Jelani and now Teeny, have proven that they can fly well enough to keep out of trouble. Soon, Pot Plant Owl and Pappa will have taught them how to hunt properly,and they will be set.
Thank you to everyone that has watched our owl family on the webcam. The emails and blog comments, and comments posted on the chat, have all been incredibly moving. We may not get around to thanking each and everyone one of you, but please know that all your comments are read and gratefully received.
A big thank you to Africam for allowing us to show you what we witness in our own home. Africam is a wonderful company that affords thousands of people the opportunity of watching natural at its best, that otherwise may never be able to see it. We appreciate the loan of the webcam which brought you the visuals and sound, which was amazing. Thank you!
13h00: A bit of light relief on this day of sadness for us, and other owl lovers. Allan is out on the balcony as I type this entry, cursing under his breath. Hosepipe in one hand, a plastic bucket in the other - Allan is on the first (of many) cleaning duties we will have to perform. It smells like a dumpster out there and I'm sure Allan is holding his breath in between mutterings. So far, he's found umpteen bones, feathers, pellets, and remains of prey. He's pulled out a 30cm piece from a half-eaten snake, and rat tails too. "Lovely presents you left, Indie, Jeli and Teeny. Really well thought out."
Round one of cleaning is over, and I think Allan has de-snaked the balcony by now. I bet the next shift is mine - yuck! "I'm going to have to bath in Dettol", Allan has just said, coming back into the house. I'm still hearing him mutter, mutter as the bathroom door closes.
Teehee - and I get to sit here and chat. Life is sweet!
We will leave the webcam on tonight and tomorrow morning, just in case the chicks return for a quick visit.
The webcam will be switched off tomorrow, Sunday 21 November, at approx. 19h00 Central African Time. Allan and I will briefly come onto the balcony to say hi (from approx 18h40), and to answer any final questions you may have.
If you do have questions, please email them to me on: firstname.lastname@example.org or you can post them in the comments section of today's post on the blog.
We'll be on the look-out this evening for our dear owl family. The chat will be updated with any sightings, so for those interested, keep monitoring the chat.