Wow, what a day. Astute blog readers may recall that we enjoy our birds of prey. We've seen demonstrations at Warwick Castle and the Battle Abbey as well as static displays on Holy Island and Glastonbury. Not to mention catching the very good show at the Indianapolis Zoo a number of times when back home. In addition, Nicole has always had a thing for owls as well.
Well, last year I jumped at the opportunity to purchase a Falconry Experience Groupon for Nicole and me (Alex was too young). It was affiliated with the Rosliston Forestry Centre which is about 30 minutes away. It took about 5-6 months to book a spot as it was a very popular deal. Fortunately for us, it turned out to be a very nice weather day.
It didn't look to be starting out that way though. Sunny skies were expected but the day began with a fairly thick fog.
Eurasian Eagle Owl.
flapping his wings a bit
barn owl (link)
tawny owl (link)
Harris Hawk (link)
this is a younger Harris Hawk -- striking how different (lighter) it looks compared to the picture above
Nicole and "her" owl
my turn -- camera in one hand, owl in the other
link). For this one, we got in a big circle and she flew back and forth to the opposite side.
my arm -- trust me
Common Kestrel (link)
nice photo of Nicole -- too bad the bird wasn't looking
This is where the term "fed up" comes from. Interesting!
mid-air snatch (notice that the fog has definitely lifted and we got our nice sunny day)
link) did some swooping and soaring demos before snagging this out of the air. Note the mantling here as well.
link). This is the personal bird of the Director of the Forestry Centre. He actually hunts with him and noted how hard it is to carry this big lug around. Of course Nicole was the first one picked to hold him. Notice her expressions through the next shots (though she is squinting because of the sun as well).
climbing on -- all's good
big fella -- fortunately she's not having to hold his whole weight (notice the helping hand)
checking each other out (that is one big bird)
couple of nice shots
and one with the Director (Wayne) as well
check out the wing span!
All in all, it was a great day and we both enjoyed it. It was a larger affair than I was expecting; about 30 people or so. But it still ended up being quite fun. They had a separate session in the afternoon that you could upgrade to that allowed you to go hunting with them but we had our fill.
No meal of the week this week but Nicole did make a pineapple upside down cake as part of her home-ec class. Pretty good.
Have a good week everyone.