Saturday, 14 May 2011

An Eye For Detail...

Today we decided to drive up to Cambridgeshire to The Raptor Foundation - we've been a number of times before and always had an excellent day out! The weather today wasn't particularly favourable - when it is rainy or windy the birds are less keen on displaying and especially in blustery winds they can't fly the smaller faster birds as they normally would. Today was blustery, windy, and with rain showers! They ran two of the flying displays - essentially doing them as what the Red Arrows would call the "Flat Display" but cancelled the final one as by that time it was windy enough that it wouldn't have been safe for the birds. It's a superb value day out - at £5.50 admission it must be one of the cheapest places you could go in the region, and there are usually three flying displays to see in the day - ech at least 45 minutes long! No wonder we keep going back! Todays visit was even more budget-conscious as we used Tesco ClubCard Days Out vouchers for our entry - bargain!

Kestrels are possibly my favourite of all the Raptors. Oh, sure, the Golden and White Tailed Eagles are incredible - huge, majestic, and their rarity gives them something truly special, but the quick, agile, and truly beautiful Kestrel is seen in such a variety of habitats that almost anyone will recognise one when they see it hovering over a motorway verge or piece of urban wasteland. What might surprise a lot of people though is just how small these little falcons are when you see one close to - they look so much bigger when you see them hovering, tail fanned, wings beating away and head staying precisely still....

I'll leave you with a bit of wisdom from one of the centre's bird handlers - do you know what the fastest bird in the world is? Peregrine Falcon you think? Nah - it's a Pigeon being chased by a Peregrine!


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