The dog was barking furiously at the door the other night and when I turned on the outside light and looked out an owl sitting on the archway above the steps. It sat hunched and focussed, head turning slowly in an almost complete circle, and totally ignoring the dog now barking almost directly underneath it. I called her back in and watched as it continued to survey the garden for about five minutes before it abandoned its search, lifted silently and vanished into the night.
I saw it again a couple of nights later as it passed over the garden in a low sweep. There's good hunting here apparently.
I couldn't identify what kind of owl this time - it was fluffed and I couldn't see its head and shape clearly - but I've heard mopokes calling recently.
This is one of the joys of where I live. We are in a small quiet enclave almost completely surrounded by three nature reserves with extensive wetlands and two well wooded golf courses plus a number of small parks. This means we have a large and varied bird population, both migratory and resident, and we sometimes get quite unexpected visitors - a white egret fishing in the fishpond, a purple swamphen taking a drink from a garden tap, a pair of wood duck sitting at the bus stop looking for all the world as if they were waiting for a bus, the brilliant blue of a kingfisher diving into my neighbour's pool and the tawny frogmouths that have nested in a garden not far away for years pay an occasional visit.
And people wonder why we don't want to move.