Saturday, 19 October 2013

Flying again

I've worked out how to get photos onto the computer again, after a fashion.  A lot of everything I do is "after a fashion".  Especially when it comes to technology.  But anyway, I have pictures.


My eldest, the birdwatcher, chose to go to Cotwold Falconry Centre as a birthday treat.  Last year we went to the International Centre for Birds of Prey, which we loved, so this year we thought we'd try something similar.


It was wonderful.  As soon as you enter the lovely rural premises you are surrounded by birds.  There are eagles, like the stunning sea eagle above and top, as well as owls, vultures, kites, caracaras and so many more.  Some are tethered in sheltered but outside display areas.  And some were in aviaries.




During the day there were four hour-long flying displays.  First up was a vast eagle owl.  The backdrop was beautiful.  The Centre is on an estate, and the land behind this fence was given over to deer.  Every so often the herd would drift into sight.


The birds were encouraged to fly as far away as possible.  The staff have no worries about them not coming back.  They are more concerned to make sure they are properly exercised.  The further they fly, the more they are rewarded.


Once they have eaten, all the birds want to do is preen for a while and then sleep and digest their meals.  So it was explained to us that they are quite happy in aviaries or tethered, as everything they require is provided.  They are not wild birds, but ones that have been bred in captivity, and several of them are rare birds that are being bred to preserve the species.  They did seem very well cared for, and many of them had the opportunity to fly freely in the countryside every day.

It was a fairly chilly day, but everyone had a pretty good time, even the littlest boy who was feeling a bit peaky.  He is such a trouper, he kept going the whole day, despite everything.

The Centre is at Batsford Park, near Moreton-in-Marsh, a beautiful part of the world - the north Cotswolds to be precise.  It's about an hour and a quarter at least from our house.  It would be nice to visit the area more often and do some exploring.  As it was, we only really had time to spend at the Centre.  But I'm not complaining, it was such a privilege to get so close to these amazing birds.



This weekend we're doing the usual morning football things.  We went to Stroud this afternoon and bought a few books for the children.  Bookshops are just right on wet days.  We ended up sheltering in a couple of them while there was a deluge.  I am enjoying autumn this year.  Things in the garden and allotment are not as pressing, and there is a little time to curl up on the sofa now the evenings are dark so early.  In fact I'm off to do that right now, with a little stitching and a dark, murderous DVD.  I'll be checking the doors are locked later.

30 comments:

  1. What an amazing place!
    And to allow the birds such freedom, & they return.
    I always think a book shop is a good idea!!!
    Have a wonderful Sunday!
    Tammy x

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    1. It was Tammy, we loved it. And you're right, a bookshop it always worth a visit.

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  2. That looks like a fascinating place to visit. I love that he chose to go there for his birthday. He sounds like a very interesting kid. I love birds. I enjoy watching them go about their bird business, they're just intriguing creatures. I like the sound of stitching and a dark, murderous DVD. I enjoy those myself. I've been watching a show on Netflix called "Disappeared," about real-life missing persons. I watch while I crochet. You hope they haven't been murdered but it's very suspenseful.

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    1. Thank you Jennifer, he is certainly a bit different to lots of children, with his love of birds. You have reminded me of a George Orwell quote, "Roast beef and Yorkshire, or roast pork and apple sauce, followed up by suet pudding and driven home, as it were, by a cup of mahogany-brown tea, have put you in just the right mood... In these blissful circumstances, what is it that you want to read about? Naturally, about a murder."

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  3. Wonderful birds. It's not easy to find wild birds here. I think the environment is not compatible for them. I love your blog, especially when you posted about gardening. Have anice weekend

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    1. Thank you Endah for your lovely comment.

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  4. What a lovely place to visit.. your photos are wonderful.

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  5. WE had the opportunity to fly a barn owl at a similar centre in Settle. It was during a display when people were asked if they would like a turn and Martyn and I jumped at the chance. They used to have a condor but had to let it go (not literally) as it was killing the sheep on the farmer who had land close by!

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    1. Wow, lucky you, that must have been amazing. We did wonder if the eagles might have a go at the little deer! In fact the falconer said that one of the vultures had found a lamb carcass a couple of fields away and had started eating that. The birds have radio transmitters when they fly, so that if they do go too far and get stranded by bad weather or an injury, the centre can go and pick them up. They found the vulture by using the transmitter I think.

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  6. A most enjoyable post and terrific photos. A day out there would suit me just fine as I've always been fascinated by owls and birds of prey. Lucky you seeing both an eagle owl and a sea eagle.
    That, visiting bookshops and sofa flying is a perfect combination of things to do. Flighty xx

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    1. I can definitely recommend it there. I'd go again tomorrow if I could. You're right about the happy combination of things to do.

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  7. Glad you got things sorted and you're able to post photos again, I'm just the same where technology is involved, I usually ask one of the kids. What a great day out, it's wonderful to be able to see these birds up close and these sort of places are great at teaching more about them too.

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    1. You're right Jo, soon my eldest will probably be able to sort it all out for me. It was a good day, and the boys did learn lots I think.

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  8. I have been there, it is fabulous isn't it. What a perfect choice for a birthday treat :)

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    1. It is indeed Annie. I'm so glad he chose it, rather than laser quest or some such thing!

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  9. Great pictures CJ, I love the owls but wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of that eagle's talons. I've been to Batsford Arboretum, which must be close by.

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    1. Vicious aren't they?! You're right, Batsford Arboretum is next door - it shares the same car park. And there's a nice garden centre too, in case you need lunch. If you visit the falconry centre they give you a discount at the arboretum. It looked lovely, but we just didn't have time to do that as well.

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  10. sounds like a perfect place for the half tern... thank you.

    (We've had a glorious weekend of doing absolutely nothing. Bliss)

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    1. Hope you have a lovely half term. Your weekend does indeed sound blissful. I could really do with one just like that!

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  11. Those are superb pictures that you have taken of the birds. I'm glad you were able to share them despite the problems you have been having with the computer.
    Sarah x

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    1. Thanks Sarah. I'm muddling by with it, but as that's all I ever do anyway, it's business as usual!

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  12. What a wonderful place to visit! The pictures you took of the birds are so beautiful! Makes me want to go out and find if we have a similar place to watch birds here. You're right that this time of year is nice to just cuddle up inside. Hope the movie was good!

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    1. It was good Kari, I can really recommend going somewhere like this if you have one near you.

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  13. Beautiful shots! It sounds like the perfect birthday for someone who loves birds. It's nice to hear that they allow the birds to fly as far as possible too. It's nice to hear about wildlife centers treat the animals respectfully.

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    1. Thanks Devon. It was a good choice for him I think. And the emphasis on giving the birds as natural a life as possible was lovely to see.

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  14. Wonderful shots of those birds of prey, you captured them beautifully. x

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