The other night, my husband and I were both awakened by a loud screech owl calling out in the early hours before dawn. She must have been perched on the oak just outside our bedroom window because her trills were so near that at first I thought she had somehow made her way into our home and had joined us upstairs. Although screech owls are common on Chappy, I have never heard one this close. Their calls are usually a far off song, one that I often associate with bare feet and open windows.

Although they will screech, particularly when protecting their nest or fledgelings, their more common calls are a series of whinnies and whistles and trills. It was incredible to hear this one so near, singing out to us as we listened in the dark. I found myself holding my breath, fearing that the slightest sound would chase her away. I curled in around my sleeping daughter and sent a silent thank you to our evening serenader. The whole experience was so dreamlike, I would not have believed it had actually happened had Ian not also been there to witness it.

There is a whippoorwill living over at Wasque Farm that I often hear through the woods when I am at home or as I am making the evening rounds through our vegetable field. Last night as I was just beginning to drift off, I heard the screech owl again, further away this time, followed by the rhythmic call of the whippoorwill. What a beautiful Chappy summer song.

In other owl news, Hatsy Potter tells me there is a young nesting pair of barn owls at Pimpneymouse Farm. She says barn owls usually lay five or six eggs but this pair, perhaps because they are young, hatched just one baby. On one particularly hot day, the tiny owlet toppled out of the nest onto the barn floor. Hatsy waited until she knew the adults were out hunting and then oh-so-carefully scooped the baby into a plastic bucket to return him to his home. She shared a photo of the sweet owlet: all fuzz and a round, wide-eyed face peering up from the bottom of a plastic pail.

Hatsy tells me the Martha’s Vineyard barn owl population really took a hit a few years ago when nearly all the barn owls died in an unusually cold and drawn-out winter. The owlet at Pimpneymouse unfortunately died a few days after Hatsy safely returned him to his nest but Hatsy is hopeful to see this nesting pair and is optimistic that they will have success with future babies.

Some of you may know that Pimpneymouse is also home to a pair of peacocks. Sometimes as I am walking the trails around the farm, I can hear the birds in the distance with their distinctive call: “Heeeelp! Heeelp! Heeeelp!”, a sound that feels very foreign among the Chappy scrub oak forest. Hatsy says that Bonnie, the peahen, hatched five peachicks recently, rounding them up to show them off in the barnyard last Monday. Shortly afterwards, Clyde, the father, interrupted a game of tennis when he decided to proudly parade his tail feathers in the middle of the court and had to be gently ushered off.

Hatsy says all five chicks are doing well thanks to Sal and Julie Tummino, the animal lovers who raised the pair and who quickly built a protective pen for Bonnie and her babies. The peachicks spend their time “running around flapping their little wings, preening their feathers and hopping on their mother’s back.” Clyde keeps a protective watch, visiting the family during the day and roosting on a nearby tree at night. After a winter of several great Chappy losses, including Edo Potter, matriarch of Pimpneymouse, it is heartening to think of new life arriving at the farm.

The Chappy Farmer’s Market and Craft Fair started last week and will run every Wednesday from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on the porch at the Chappy Community Center. It is usually an easygoing affair, with just three vendors: Slip Away Farm, Margaret Knight and Lily K. Morris. Margaret’s salad mixes and spicy wild arugula are always popular, and Lily’s photo cards capture the ever-changing seasonal beauty of our Island. We hope to see you there.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you again the week after next. In the meantime, feel free to email me with any Chappy news at