Last week I was on a weeks holiday. And I had big plans to write a blog a few times during the week. But as ever, time flew by, it was too hot to think. So the best laid plans of mice and men fell by the wayside and as such as a belated update, a quick update from a wonderful day at Mere Down Falconry last week.
Back in March as both Julie and I have birthdays 4 days apart I bought as a joint birthday present a full day flying experience with Mere Down Falconry, near Mere on the Wiltshire and Dorset border. And we picked a fabulous Tuesday to do this as as this is a one man band operation only Julie and I were there with Alan Gates the falconer. What a day.
Arriving in hot sunny weather at only 10am we wondered what the day would be like, but needn't have worried. After coffee and a chat Alan showed us his collection of birds ranging in size from a Golden Eagle to a Little Owl.
We were particularly taken with Peace a Barn Owl which had such a gentle manner we flew and fed it ourselves. And Bramble above, the sleepiest Tawny Owl I've even seen. Flying for Bramble was a chore but he managed it, a couple of times. Alan also brought out the falcons and flew them from the lure, having a falcon zip past one's head at break neck speed was a glorious feeling. But after 3 hours or so we'd fed and watered all but two of the birds, Molly and Bond, related Harris Hawks.
That was for the afternoon.
And what an afternoon. If you ever want to feel like someone in tune with a wild animal and be part of that animal's environment, I'd recommend you go for a 3 hour walk through countryside with two free flying Harris Hawks. The sensation of walking, the birds flying past, over, alongside and behind us and the glorious countryside, it was an experience I will never forget. I loved the fact too that the birds would come onto the gauntlet and sit there while we walked along. It really is something to have a killer on one's arm and only 6 inches away.
An absolutely fantastic way to spend a day, just the two of us with Alan the falconer and some stunning birds of prey. I'm absolutely hooked.