Having failed to see tawny owl on my night walk last week, I was pleased to illuminate one in my car headlights on the way home from work today. It was sat bold as brass in a low branch over the road next to the oxbow lake.
Indeed, this was exactly how I encountered barn owl on Sunday evening, just outside the village perched on a fence-post. This bird is fairly predictable and on many occasions I've seen it there or thereabouts.
Of the other nocturnal birds, woodcock is one I was sure must be present locally, though I had no idea where to look. I had planned to seek advice from neighbouring expert Nick Morgan where to find them (Nick writes an excellent blog here, and writes the bird report for the Darlington and Stockton Times). However, luck was with me on Sunday morning as I walked through the riverside woods opposite St Wilfrids; my eyes were on the river scanning for waders when a bird burst from the leaf-litter at my feet, like a 12" ruler twanged on a school desk.