Penny won't usually go out to the back garden after dark unless we go with her - or unless she hears something strange that requires investigation, such as noisy possums, careless rats, or cats traveling up the back lane.
On the last few nights, as I've waited out in the chilly winter's cold for her to do her business, I've seen a large flying creature take off from our beautiful fifty-year-old willow myrtle. I think it might be a powerful owl, which would be wonderful, not only because it's a privilege to have such a magnificent bird in our garden, but also because, with a bit of luck, it will solve our rat problem.
I'm optimistic that it's an owl because there have been definite sightings of this bird in the nearby Darebin Parklands, and our garden has a population of possums (and rats, of course), together with closely planted trees. Whatever the creature is, it is large, and makes a wonderful whooshing sound as it flies from the tree. It's always in the same spot each night.
On the other hand, it might be a flying fox, because they abound around here. But I think these gorgeous flying mammals are gregarious, so I wouldn't expect to see a single one each night. And the other thing is, flying foxes are noisy, chattering and chirping, and this creature is silent until we walk right up to the tree where it is sitting. It gave me quite a fright the first time it dived upwards from the tree just above my head.
Interestingly, Penny takes no notice of it, although a possum sitting in the same spot would evoke a storm of barking.