Saturday 10/10/09 - A sunny afternoon at the Centre

It's been a busy few days for; Wednesday I was back late from work, too late to even go over and feed. Thursday I had a meeting at 6.30, but did manage to get over and put the food out. When I arrived, Vince mentioned that they were "down there" putting the roof on. I wandered down, and they were! I put the food around whilst they were still working. It looks a bit more waterproof now! Friday night I was out, but again managed to feed the badgers before I went out, but didn't stay.

So, Saturday is here and it's a lovely day. I decide to have my visit to the Barn Owl Centre today and after taking my daughter to her job for 12.30, I'm straight to the BOC. When I arrive a photography day is taking place. There are six or eight photographers in the lower field and at present they are working with Leighton, the Buzzard. I meet Karen and her brother. We all enjoy nature so we sit there in the sun talking about all sorts of things. Occasionally a Buzzard, or two, spirals over, calling. We also see a Jay, which I've not seen here before. The photography day participants come back up for a break and Leighton too. Everyone, including Rob, the handler, disappears into the aviaries leaving Leighton out in the flying area. He looks around for a worm, but finding nothing he flies to the telegraph pole that supports one of the CCTV cameras and sits up there looking around. This is the level of trust you can see with some of the birds. When Rob comes back out, Leighton  dutifully comes back down to a post, then the glove, and he's off for a well earned rest. The next bird due out is Turner, one of the Eagle Owls. He will be taken down to the wild flower meadow to offer some interesting shots to the photographers. There are now about ten or twelve visitors here, so Vince brings them down to see Turner doing his stuff for the photographers. It's a wonderful image, the Eagle Owl flying over the colourful flowers and perching on an old stile amongst the flowers. Vince takes us back up to the flying area and he is going to fly Kaln, one of the other Eagle Owls. This bird is always impressive to see flying and on such a lovely day makes his colours even more spectacular. Kaln keeps looking down to where he can hear Turner being flown. Eventually he has to go and take a look and flies down to the big Oak near where Turner is flying. These two birds are happy flying together, so this isn't a problem. Vince calls him and the big owl flies back up. He is flown close to the visitors and Vince keeps the information coming. It's quite funny that if he talks for a little too long without getting Kaln to fly for a snack, he's off down to the bottom field again. As ever, he returns when called and glides back into the flying area.

The photographers are now coming back up and stop off to take some pictures of Kaln. Vince gets some of them led down in the grass on their bellies and flies Kaln right over the top of them. I'm not sure if any got a decent shot, but it looked good! After a while trying these shots, they are off to do some static shots of owls in the barn; nice natural looking pictures of our native owls.

At this point I go for a wander around the nature reserve. I spend a pleasant couple of hours wandering around with both the camcorder and the SLR with the 50-500mm Sigma, just in case. You never know what you might see. It's good excercise too! When I come back up, the photographers are still there and Vince is just getting Ron, the Golden Eagle out. Ron is still very much in training and on a line. He is flying from glove to post and back, but only over a short distance; a couple or three yards. This is good progress since May when he arrived with the ultimate aim to be able to fly him free like some of the other birds. With the late afternoon sun on him, he looks fantastic. You can see where Golden Eagles get their name! Back home for dinner now, but back in a bit for badgers.

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