Busy Birds

art, birds, cute, events, fairies, Falconry, Harris Hawk, Hawk, Hoots, nature, Owls, Owls, photography

Training and caring for my birds certainly keeps me busy, and I try to make sure the birds keep busy too.  The past few months have seen the birds entertaining families while they get creative in the yurt; hosting summer feast nights; giving people the thrill of having a bird of prey fly to their glove for food and taking part in several bespoke photo shoots.

The feast nights brought lots of new people to the Owl Field in August.  With the Keep Cornwall Fed chefs and Kim’s Kitchen cooking up some delicious meals we will definitely be planning more for 2018.

Photography sessions have also been a big part of our activity, and the cows like to join in too and surprised Maryna of Photography by Maryna!  She got her bag back with only a little cow slobber on it!!

So if I ever wonder if I am doing the right thing – I look at my birds, reflect on how much we have achieved together, and know that I am doing exactly the right thing…then I put the kettle on!

Harlequin Ladybirds and other Aliens

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As the days got colder I noticed visitors in my owl shed, ladybirds were gathering to hibernate – how cute I thought!!

ladybird-party

Ladybird party

They even looked like they were having a party with a spider and woodlouse, or chuggypig as my brother calls them.

I was thrilled – until a friend who has an allotment in the next field pointed out that they are Harlequin Ladybirds, Harmonia axyridis, and are a danger to our native ladybird and should be destroyed 😦  I have seen ladybird farm kits for sale and previously thought it was silly to keep pollinating insects captive, but now I see this as the perfect solution to these alien invaders and I am sure my nieces will enjoy looking after them.

My other aliens are, of course, my birds.  Not Whisper the barn owl as she is native to the UK – she actually came to me from Somerset.  However my other birds, while born and bred in the UK for many many generations do originate from other countries.  Peanut the burrowing owl is native to America – found in many states and doing very well over there, almost a pest to some people when they dig up their gardens.

BB King the Eurasian Eagle owl came to me from a back garden near Plymouth.  The species used to be native here until about 400 years ago, and many are still found in the wild across Europe.  Victor the Spotted Eagle owl actually originates from Africa – although he also came to me from Somerset where he was bred.  In Africa these owls are a favourite pet with children due to their quiet and calm nature – Victor all over!

Chaya the Harris hawk also came to me from near the Tamar in Liskeard; but her species originates from South America where they are often seen perching on high cacti as lookout perches while hunting for wild jackrabbits.  I think in this cold weather Chaya would certainly prefer the desert heat – and I may join her!

chaya-in-the-cold

Chaya a cold harris hawk

Roll on Spring!

Owls at Dusk

birds, cute, Hoots, nature, Owls

Barn owl Whisper at dusk.JPG

Wow the days are short in winter aren’t they!  Some days it seems to barely get light before the sun goes down again, and with so many outdoor jobs to be done I am often in a rush to get home to feed Whisper, Peanut and Victor before it gets pitch black again.  The starry skies are amazing up here at Castledore, because we have very little light pollution right here, but when it’s dark it is really is…..dark 🙂

Of course the owls don’t mind if it is light or dark when they get fed – they can see far better than I can anytime anyway!

It is very special to be able to be with the owls when it is so dark, especially Whisper my Barn owl.  She really is in her element.

I need to get a night vision camera – don’t like to use the flash …

She still loves the camera and likes to look at every detail as you can see.  This time she was in her aviary on her rope swing; though she really enjoys flying on the lawn at dusk  – and enjoys all the sights and sounds of the nearby woods too, barn owls are notorious for their inquisitiveness 🙂

Peanut my burrowing owl tends to shout a lot at night.  Very short sharp chirrups, usually three at a time.  He has definitely caught bank voles in his aviary before and I wonder if that is when he makes his call.  I wonder what Victor my spotted owl thinks of his noisy neighbour!

eagle-owl-victor-at-dusk

Night night owls 🙂

Owls, October Sunshine and Family Fun

art, birds, cute, events, Hoots, nature, Owls, photography, Shed

pine cone owls fun.JPG

Wow – what a beautiful month October turned out to be!  When I first decided to set the dates for two Family Craft Afternoons In the Company of Owls in October half term I must admit to having my fingers crossed behind my back for good weather – and it worked!!

Tuesday Oct 25th got so much interest from local families that I had to say it was full 10 days before the event – with 35 people booked in [adults, children and toddlers] it was certainly going to be a busy afternoon.

The children’s activity was to make owl masks and pine cone owls – and I think the adults enjoyed the crafts as much as the kids did!

Of course there was tea, coffee and cake for all – oh and hot chocolate too.  These yummy treats went down well, especially with the opportunity to toast marshmallows by the carefully attended fire 🙂

Sunday 30th was busy too, with a smaller but just as fun group of families – and the sun shone making it feel like a summer’s afternoon rather than the end of October.

The owls enjoyed meeting everyone, with Whisper and Peanut coming out so everyone could get really close up and personal with them!

Peanut was the star of the show flying in front of everyone, showing off what he can do – although he seemed to be a bit full on the Sunday …I think he is catching bank voles in his aviary again 🙂

spot-peanut-flying

Where is Peanut?

watching-peanut-fly

I am looking forward to starting regular Saturday morning Family Craft sessions very soon – just need to get the yurt built as I am sure the weather will turn more seasonal now it is November.

Meanwhile the owls are busy with private 1:1 bookings in their field, and will also be going out in the community, meeting people and making them smile.  Next community date is November 19th in St Austell town centre with CHICKS charity.

See you there!

 

 

 

Busy Owls

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How time flies in the summer – especially with my owls, a hawk and a site to complete before my first ever field event on August 13th – that’s less than 2 weeks!!!

The birds are all moulting like crazy – it seems like I have more of their feathers than they do 🙂

IMG_4369

 

Peanut lost his last tail feathers last week and looked like a kid with gappy teeth!  He has been busy helping me with my summer sessions at Trenython Hotel and Fowey Hall as well and it seems it is all very tiring for a little owl…

peanut sleeping at work

Peanut still loves his cuddles, especially when we tickle him behind his ears – at least I think that is where they are!

Chaya, my Harris hawk, has been soaking up the sun at every opportunity.

sunny harris hawk

She is also moulting like crazy so I am giving her a rest and feeding her up – she has been a very happy, if a little fat, hawk and today I saw her new tail feathers appearing – much nicer than the one I found in her aviary the other day…she had definitely worn that one out!

Time to go and cut the grass…again…..and I can see the sun 🙂

 

Owls, Fairies and a Mermaid too!

art, birds, cute, fairies, Hoots, mermaid, nature, Owls, Owls, photography, Selfies

The two youngest owls, Peanut my Burrowing Owl and Whisper my Barn Owl, were invited to attend the Three Wishes Fairy Fair in the beautiful grounds of Mount Edgecombe House near Torpoint last weekend.  This was the 10th year the Fairy – or Faery to be precise – Fair has run, all thanks to my ‘sister-in-law’ Karen Kay.

Love Karen

Love the Fairy fair with Karen Kay

The sun shone on Saturday afternoon as I arrived with owls and my daughter, Hayley who was helping me by taking charge of Peanut for the afternoon.

Of course the owls got a lot of attention from all the wonderful people there, and everyone was amazed to see the owls so calm even with the crowds wanting to all say hello.  Whisper was so relaxed she even fell asleep on my glove – twice!

Whisper snoozes by the mushrooms

Whisper snoozes by the mushrooms

Whisper relaxing with the fairies

Whisper relaxing among the fairies

I made sure Whisper wore her special colourful ribbons for the day,  and I was amazed to hear how many people – or I should say faery folk – have an owl as their animal spirit!  I learnt a lot about faeries that day!

There was so much to see and people to meet.  However imagine how surprised Hayley and I were when we walked around a corner and found a mermaid!!  Yes, a mermaid!!  She introduced herself as The St Ives Mermaid. I introduced myself as The Bird Lady of Fowey, of course!…it was wonderful to meet her and she was so lovely to talk with.  Of course I have invited her to my In the Company of Owls event in August, I hope she comes – I have a paddling pool she could use!!

St Ives Mermaid meets Bird Lady of Fowey

St Ives Mermaid meets Bird Lady of Fowey

Mermaid and Owls

Owls and a Mermaid

Further down the field we came across this beautiful vintage wagon adorned with amazing artwork and carvings.  I think the owls would have quite happily moved in and stayed there!

Beautiful vintage wagon.JPG

Owls and beautiful vintage wagon

It really was a gorgeous afternoon, walking around the wonderful grounds of Mount Edgecombe House with the owls, sitting on the grass and taking in the sites and generally enjoying chatting with my daughter – all in the company of owls!!

Thank you, Karen, for inviting us.  We would love to come again next year!!

Love Owls and Faeries.JPG

Owls and Karen Faery Kay – thank you!

Owl Xmas Parties

art, cute, Owls, photography

Peanut and Victor had a very busy Xmas and New Year with 5 private dates and 2 charity events in their diaries.  Luckily for me they were all indoors, and in some beautiful rooms – Victor looked especially grand in the billiards room at Fowey Hall Hotel.

Victor New Years Day at Fowey Hall

Victor at Fowey Hall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The families enjoyed learning owl facts [ most people know the word nocturnal, but diurnal is a new one for many] and making owl masks.

Of course when the children wear their masks they are definitely not allowed to move their eyes but have to remember to move their heads to see, just like the owls do!

Trenython Manor had a glorious Xmas tree in the room, making a wonderful backdrop for the close up and personal photographs with the families.  I would love to offer evening owl walks through their gardens when the weather warms up a bit.

Peanut Xmas at Trenython

Lankelly Rugby Club Junior Xmas Party chose a Hogwarts theme this year, so an invitation for the owls to attend was an obvious choice.  I made sure I was prepared and researched the owls famous in the Harry Potter series, putting together fact sheets showing the children how these owls live in the real world – rather than being used mainly for postal deliveries as in the stories.  As both Victor and Peanut were at the party the children, and adults, could see the huge diversity of these fascinating birds – especially after I pointed out that Peanut was just as fully grown as Victor and not his baby at all!

Victor at Lankelly

The invitation to the Rugby Club’s party came as a direct result of the support I have been giving to CHICKS – Country Holidays for Inner City Kids – who have a holiday retreat in the nearby village, Tywardreath.  Peanut and I attended two of their fundraising Xmas mornings, one in Snuggles Nursery in Bodmin and the second at Happy Days Nursery in St Blazey.  For a small donation anyone could have a close up photograph taken of them with Peanut.  This went down really well and we raised £80 for the charity which was fab!

Peanut working for CHICKS DSCN4653

Snuggles Nursery put us in their sensory room, which was perfect!  Peanut is very used to the public attention and is so photogenic that the nursery are thinking about having him as their mascot!!

I already have a few more dates booked for 2016, which is really exciting as it means my business is starting to fly 🙂  Plans to work with CHICKS and deliver activities to those children are in the pipeline and still lots of digging and building in the field to do too. Meanwhile using other venues is giving me the chance to get out with the owls, meet loads of lovely people and share the owl love!!