Harlequin Ladybirds and other Aliens

birds, cute, Harris Hawk, Hawk, nature, Owls, photography, Shed

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!

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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!

 

 

 

So Far, so Shed

art, nature, Owls, Shed

I am loving my shed.  From a second hand purchase found in St Blazey last year, we took it down and put it back together in the field – in a bit of haste as the ground wasn’t really level, but it was a start.

Garden Shed

So now I have somewhere to shelter from the weather and weigh the owls – very important as this quickly tells me if they are healthy, hungry or fat!

Owl scales

 

 

 

 

 

Owl weight chart

I can also make cups of tea – and of course have a place for my Owl Advent calendar [thank you little brother].

Owl shed kettle on!

Owl advent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now, after a lot of hard work on a really windy day with my daughter’s boyfriend who wheelbarrowed loads of gravel up the field to make a solid base… …

shed base ready

…And with a big THANKS to the Fowey Lankelly Rugby team who incredibly picked it up and moved it last weekend for me the shed is now on solid ground – and doesn’t wobble when anyone goes inside!!

Shed on the moveShed halfway thereShed landing

Today I have made a good start on sanding down the outside and putting some colour on the old wood.  Beach Hut blue works well in the field, I think 🙂

Shed Beach Hut BlueOwl Shed in a field