Falconry At Lacock
It is just over a week since I attended this year's Tudor falconry display in the grounds of Lacock Abbey. I took over 200 pictures and have been gradually processing throughout the week, and until today had no idea which I was going to choose to blip.
The falconer Jonathan Marshall came with over half a dozen birds of prey and his son Saul, who is shown here promenading his own European kestrel, Pingu. There were two peregrine-lanner falcons, Denver and Quinn, who is the fastest recorded falcon, having been filmed chasing a sky-diving Jonathan at 248 m.p.h; a Harris hawk named Crouch after the footballer Peter Crouch; Saul's kestrel, Pingu; two extremely valuable gyr falcons, Noble and his younger brother Monarch, estimated at over £20,000 each; and a magnificent 13-year old golden eagle named Samson, who was rescued by the police after having spent four months in a wardrobe, having suffered broken wings and emaciation, and entrusted to Jonathan. You may know Samson from the remarkable BBC Earthflight documentary.
On the day I was there, there was a flying demonstration at 1130 hr, which I photographed from just outside the grounds to get the abbey as a backdrop. During this display Quinn soared to a height of 2,000 ft (and was joined by a wild peregrine) before hurtling back to the Lacock lawn to chase the lure he had seen from all that way away.
After a walk around the grounds and a picnic lunch, during which I lost a lens cap somewhere after it worked itself out of my rear pocket, I took a look at all the birds, now displayed in the abbey cloisters. They were then paraded and discussed, with some audience participation, on the abbey lawn, and later there was a second display, at 1500 hr, which I again viewed on the far side of the ha-ha, enabling some close-ups of Crouch when he landed on it nearby, whilst I dribbled chocolate sauce all down my tee-shirt from the 99 Flake I'd just bought.
Every time a bird of prey flew past the tree I was standing near to, I could hear the crows that were nesting in it complaining loudly. Later, after the event had officially concluded, Jonathan brought out a couple of birds again, and allowed Crouch a further flight. He flew straight to the tree and landed on a branch, whereupon the protective parent crows began to mob him, becoming increasingly aggressive and attacking him. For some reason, he stayed there without flying off, and ignored the falconer when he came over to coax him down. This was reminiscent of a similar incident the previous year. I left before the matter was resolved, but feel sure it ended OK for Crouch.
Consecutive Blip #004
A Falconry Day At Lacock Abbey, 18 May 2013 (Flickr set)
Lenses: Pentax 17-70mm, Sigma 70-300mm
Birds Of Prey series
Experience Falconry (Jonathan Marshall website)
Lozarhythm Of The Day:
Monsoon - Tomorrow Never Knows (1982)
One year ago: Garden Buddha