It's just after 9.30 pm and I heard a car and a door shut. It has to be a car arriving at The Cottage or The House because there is nowhere else close. So I opened the ranch sliders and stepped onto the deck. There was no car in my drive so I just savoured the cold air for a minute or two. As I stood there a Morepork started calling. It is the first one that I have heard since I returned to New Zealand nearly six weeks ago.
The Morepork is so called because its call is 'more pork'. For those who don't know a Morepork is a small owl also known as the Southern Boobook (Ninox novaeseelandiae) or Ruru. It's found all over New Zealand and across most of Australia. They are mainly nocturnal, but are sometimes active at dawn and dusk. The main hunting times are evenings and mornings, with brief bursts of activity through the night. On dark nights they often perch through the middle hours and, particularly if the weather is bad, may hunt by daylight instead. Although their main hunting technique is perch-and-pounce, they are agile birds with a swift, goshawk-like wing action and the ability to manoeuvre rapidly when pursuing prey or hawking for insects and small birds.
The morepork lends its name to the fictional city of Ankh-Morpork (is a fictional city which prominently features in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series of fantasy novels) and appears on its coat-of-arms.