An unexpected guest

Yesterday morning here at Bellaugello Gay Guesthouse I went down to open the dining room and ready things for breakfast to discover an unexpected visitor within.

Sitting on the windowsill to the left of the fireplace was the most magnificent tawny owl.  Just what was an owl doing in the dining room and more to the point how had he/she got here?  All the windows were firmly closed, had he flown in as we all departed the room the previous night or what?

Having been rudely awakened the owl then made a graceful exit, swooping just over the  and off silently into the distant trees, and went to examine just where he got in and what damage he had wreaked.

Despite evidence in several different places in the room of an organic matter there was apart from a few tilted lampshades and the hammer from the dinner gong lying on the floor, nothing disturbed or broken, it seems my unexpected guest was real courteous and delicate.  At some point he had clearly been perching on the wall candle sconce in the entry, surprisingly not dislodging the large wooden key that sits precariously on the sconce.  So just how did he get in, well I was soon to discover it was down the chimney flue of the old brick bread oven in the entrance hallway.

Those ardent followers of my blog might remember my post about ‘Wol-let’ the owl born in one of the nesting holes in the house here at Bellaugello, and how the chick spent its first day out of the nest perched by my front door, and then returned with his sibling and mum for several evenings sitting high in the branches of one of the cherry trees.  Well I kind of think my visitor was Wol-let back looking for a nesting hole, Tawny Owls are very territorial.  The hole he was born in is now partially obscured by the wisteria that grows on that part of the house, and the chimney for the bread oven is adjacent and could possibly offer a spacious panoramic penthouse in which to raise a family, were it not for the flue that runs down to the oven.

Today my work is set out, I’m going to tidy the wisteria and clear the nesting boxes in the hope Wol-let returns there and continues to keep the Bellaugello Owl population strong.  I read sadly they are on the decline here in Italy, and I want to make sure that is not the case at Bellaugello gay b&b, I love their magical night-time calling from the trees, and feel safe with my otherwise silent flying nocturnal guardians.