Zoo Trip #24: Scarlett
What with one thing and another, I didn't manage a monthly zoo trip in either June or July. The Hawk Conservancy Trust in Weyhill, Hampshire, is more of a bird park than a zoo but more than qualifies for my purposes. It quickly became one of my favourite places after our first trip there in March and a return trip became inevitable, especially as I was given a pair of tickets as a birthday present. During the summer they had been presenting a special feature called The Sarson Falconer* and this was our last chance to see it, indeed Christiescruffs participated in the event, which took place in Reg's Meadow and was rather magical to behold.
Reg's Meadow was also where we had a chance to meet their red kite, the beautiful 20-year old Scarlett. It was probably as close as I would ever get to a red kite so she had to be my blip. The displays were as spectacular as on our previous visit but they are never quite the same, partly because the birds are encouraged to behave in a natural way, and different birds are given a chance to display in public. On this occasion these included a secretary bird, a burrowing owl and its cousin, the little owl. Little owls are now indigenous to this country but I hadn't known they were only introduced 300 years ago and kept in country homes to catch rats and mice.
Another highlight was a chance to fly a Harris hawk. Last time I had flown Josie Wells, and on this occasion it was Parsley who flew onto my gloved hand and was rewarded with a piece of raw meat.
I know that several blippers in Hampshire have season tickets to visit the Trust, and if I lived a little nearer I surely would too.
Consecutive Blip #010
Cheyenne (female American bald eagle)
Beekeeper From 'The Sarson Falconer'
Horse Rider From 'The Sarson Falconer'
Parsley (Harris hawk) with Visitor
Achilles (male little owl) in the Woodland
* "Part of the Valley of the Eagles flying demonstration, this spectacular historic re-enactment takes our audience back to the days of merry olde England.
"Watch the many characters going about their business - from the yeoman working the land to the mounted noblemen riding their horses as our hero, the Sarson Falconer, makes his way through this rural medieval scene." - Hawk Conservancy Trust
Lens: Sigma 70-300mm
Zoo Trip series
Birds Of Prey series
A Day At The Hawk Conservancy Trust, 31st August 2012 (Flickr set)
Red Kites website
Lozarhythm Of The Day:
Nico - The Falconer (from Philippe Garrel's Le Lit De La Vierge)(1970)