The day didn't quite pan out as planned, as I had gone to the Easton Royal Country Fair to see Max and Monty, the Wadworth Shires. Unfortunately, as was explained to me at the entrance gate, when they came out of their transporter at a farm close to the venue, they were immediately attacked by a massive swarm of horseflies, that were also biting the handlers. They couldn't be deterred and the horses were jitteringly engrossed in defending themselves from the flies, so they had to be returned to the artic and driven back to Devizes.
The man at the gate waived the entrance fee for me because they weren't there so unfortunately I felt morally obliged to buy cake, coffee and ice cream instead.
My first encounter was with this beautiful and friendly barn owl and its owner, Fiona, an apprentice falconer with Mike Gale's Hawking Days, which is based in the neighbouring village of Milton Lilbourne, and she allowed me to stroke Lunar as well as photograph them both.
I soon found their stand, and my visit coincided with Mike's interview with the radio station that was covering the event, so I soon learned that Zazu, his gyr x peregrine falcon, had recently been in the news when he had chased a crow during a display at Stonehenge in March and then disappeared. He had flown sixty miles to the Isle of Wight, and would have perished had he not been found a few days later by a falconer there and nursed back to health.
There were two Harris hawks, Izzy and Rocky, who were busy fending off two dogs that had run up to the enclosure. Completing the collection were a baby snowy owl called Neva (or similar, anyhow it means 'snow') with its adoptive mother Emma, and an American kestrel called Oakley. I learned that American kestrels have just one fifth the mass of European kestrels.
When I left the Fair I drove on to the village of Pewsey nearby, which is on the eastern branch of the Hampshire Avon, quite near its source, and as well as a walk around the village centre, I walked along the river side through the Scotchel Nature Reserve. On the way back I pulled over near a bridge over the Kennet and Avon at Wilcot village, and explored the towpath a little there, driving the rest of the way back via Alton Barnes and Horton Bridge.
23.7.2014 (2015 hr)
Consecutive Blip #193
River Avon And Young Angler At Pewsey
'Willow' On The Canal At Wilcot
A Trip To The Pewsey Area, 12 July 2014 (Flickr album)
Lens: Pentax 12-24 mm, 17-70 mm, 55-300 x1.4 mm
Birds Of Prey series
Stonehenge man's missing falcon found on Isle of Wight (BBC News)
Lozarhythm Of The Day:
Sabina - Sailor's Daughter (2014)
One year ago: Paleys On Pilers