...no, it's alright, this isn't an admission of marital disharmony! For Ben's birthday earlier in the year, I bought him a "Falconry Experience" half day, up at the English School of Falconry near Bedford. Finally a couple of weeks ago we got to go and do it - they were so busy it had to wait until three months after his birthday! well worth waiting for though - the centre itself is lovely and we thoroughly enjoyed our day.
The first half hour or so was spent in a short induction, telling us a little bit about the birds generally, and the safety stuff - keeping our fingers away from beaks and feet!
Yes, you can see why they said that, can't you! Following on from that it was time to fly some of the birds between the members of our group - first a beautiful Tawny Owl....
The Second bird we flew was this wonderful female Kestrel...
That gives a better sense of scale with the glove in the picture as well. the female bird is quite substantially bigger than the male, too - they really are quite tiny!
After that we headed off to handle some more birds for a while - a Chilean Blue Eagle, a Harris Hawk, and starting off with this European Eagle Owl - substantially bigger than the others, that one, and I confess to having a slightly achy arm after holding him for a while!
Finally we watched one of the Centre's twice-daily flying displays, which rather unusually included storks, and pelicans, although there wasn't that much "flying" from those! The whole experience was fantastic, great birds in a wonderful setting, and we learnt lots, too! We're both now keen to do more along the same lines - possibly a day or half day hunting with Harris Hawks, so watch this space!