Tuesday, August 28, 2012

27 Aug and PPO is looking good

This past week I've noticed a distinct 'roundness' to Pot Plant Owl. For a number of nights, we've watched her on the neighbour's rooftop - standing looking out onto the wetland. This 'full-figured-look' is typical of this time of year. Just before the breeding period starts, Pappa hunts for PPO, while she does as little as she can and conserves her energy. Good girl, PPO! (How do you get that right?)

The balcony is prepared for their arrival. Africam guys came in and installed not one, but two fantastic cameras for the webcam streaming. New camera angles should make this season an exciting one!

Of course, in the back of my mind is always the thought that perhaps we may not be so lucky this time, and the owls may decide NOT to nest. We had a close call the year after PPO and Pappa first arrived on our balcony.

That second year, we watched PPO sporting her 'fuller figure' and Pappa flying in and out like Mr Delivery with food for her. At the time, we were putting the finishing touches to our book on the owls so we only watched them with half an eye.

Suddenly one day the owls disappeared. The August date marking the start of the previous years' breeding season came and went, without an owl or an egg in sight. Two, three weeks went by and absolutely no sign of our feathered friends. I'll never forget writing that last entry in our book - mixed emotions and tears streaming down my face. We thought that was it. We had been given one chance - just one -of being up close and personal to these beautiful creatures. I was heartbroken to think that the owls would not return, but eternally grateful that we had captured everything in photographs and words.

The day we submitted the final copy of our book to the printers,having given up hope that the owls would return, PPO flew to the pot plant and laid an egg - just like that! Before settling down in her nest, she shot me a look that said 'Took your time, silly human. Glad you finally got it'. It was as if she was waiting until I got it - we got it.

So what did we 'get'?

Like church bells ringing, the message rang out:

Take nothing for granted.
Appreciate every moment you have.
Nothing is 'owed' to you, so in everything that you do and have and experience, feel gratitude.

And don't count your chickens (or owls) before they hatch!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

11 August and the balcony is a mess

It's the norm now to wake up in the morning to find that more soil has scattered all over our balcony floor - all thanks to Pappa and PPO getting ready to nest. We sweep and clean up after them each morning, and ask them nicely not to make a mess on their next visit. Wishful thinking!

07 August and it's snowing

We have snow. While it may not be the thick white blanket typical of northern hemisphere winters, it is certainly enough to say that it is well-and-truly snowing in Johannesburg. Pot Plant Owl and Pappa are nowhere to be seen. I suspect that the shock of having a truly cold spell just as they begin to prepare for another breeding season has forced them to hide from the biting wind and snowflakes. Snow! Who would have thought!