In the Company of Owls, Event No.1

events, nature, Owls, photography

Wow, we held our first evening opening to the public last Saturday and it worked really well!

Pnut and me low res

Of course Peanut the burrowing owl stole the show, as he flew cool as an experienced professional in front of the crowd.

The sun shone and there was a wonderfully relaxed mood in the field that afternoon as everyone enjoyed being in the company of the birds.  With tickets nearly a sellout I think I can call my first event a great success.

There was really amazing food cooked on site by Matt of

https://www.facebook.com/Wildfoodkitchencornwall/?ref=page_internal

Nettle falafels, pulled venison burgers and seared pigeon breast – perfect food for the event and I saw lots of people tucking in to it!

We were prepared for all visitors and the Gator proved useful in towing the food van in to place a few days before, moving all the heavy stuff including the new timber for the benches so the site was ready on the day; and finally giving my mum a lift up the field so she could join in the occasion too!

I had been so nervous, excited and apprehensive in the week leading up to the day.  With a long list of things still to do and a big question mark over the weather I was landscaping the ground, clearing brambles, making signs….so many signs…..and keeping the birds clean and ready to meet visitors.  We even had official t-shirts to wear: and one of my next jobs is to order some more as so many people wanted to buy them on the day – check out my shop page for these soon!

Of course I couldn’t have done it all without the massive help from my husband, daughter, son and good friends and they all were brilliant on the day too.

friends in the Owl field

My lovely niece Zinzi  was our ‘official photographer’ for the event and she has taken some wonderful shots – more coming as soon as she gets a chance to sort through them all. Check her work out at Westcountry Wildling here is an amazing shot of BB to leave you with – hope to see you at my next event in a few month’s time!

BB in flight low res

 

Busy Owls

birds, cute, Falconry, Harris Hawk, Hawk, nature, Owls

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 🙂

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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!

The Day Mum Came For Tea

Owls

A warm still Saturday afternoon – perfect for a cup of tea and chat with my mum in my Bird Lady Field.  So I started up the Gator and, after running out of fuel half way up the field and her having to wait and enjoy the view while I fetched my reserve can, she was soon enjoying the view with a mug of tea in hand!  I must get a photo of her in the Gator next time!

My mum

I made sure I gave her a grand tour of the work in progress: starting with the car park area which was waist high in bramble last autumn and now has room for visitors- I am trying to think of a prettier name for it.

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Carpark taking shape

The plants I put in with my daughter last autumn are coming in to flower and are becoming established, which means the whole area will look really lovely and be full of insects for the smaller birds too.

And what was a rather forgotten goat shed

is very close to becoming our new wash house with loo and shower facilities for owl visitors.  Lots of hard work by lots of people involved, and looking forward to our opening event on JULY 30TH. 4PM TO SUNSET. more details soon, I promise.

Top of the field the younger of the owls are happy in their semi-detached weathering when they visit the field.

Owl Semi.JPG

The owl shed is looking good and the gravel viewing area in front of the big aviaries is all edged with larch off-cuts from their build.

The sun has been shining most days, the Hawthorn is in full blossom and it is wonderful to be in the fields everyday.   It’s all very nearly ready to be open for events!

So here we go:  save the date: JULY 30TH. 4PM TO SUNDOWN. TICKET ONLY EVENT. More details soon.

Whisper the Barn Owl is growing up!

Owls

Whisper my beautiful Barn Owl will be 1 year old next month – just 2 years is the average age only 1 in 4 Barn Owls will reach in the wild, making her even more special.

My Barn Owl Whisper

Whisper has got a really lovely temperament and is so gentle to hold.  She has been very busy this year already, raising money for CHICKS at St Blazey Football Club Easter activity day [we have raised nearly £100 since Oct 2015 with Peanut helping too].

Whisper raising money for CHICKS

She also met the Gribbon Guide leaders and helpers with a fun owl fact based quiz – they are all wise owls now!

Gribbon Guides Wise Owls.JPG

Whisper has also begun her career as a Wedding Owl.  I was really pleased to be involved in the Cornish Artisan Wedding Fair in Newquay and the Atlantic Hotel last month where Whisper and I greeted everyone on their arrival and, later in the afternoon, Whisper stole the show in the Wedding Fashion Show!

Here is my video of her on the catwalk – she didn’t try to fly off [bate] or poop [mute] at all!! I was sooo proud!!!

Whisper needs her relaxation time and likes to sit on top of the weathering in my field – owls enjoy the lovely spring weather too 🙂 I really love this photo of her with the Blackthorn [or May Blossom] behind her…

Barn Owl on lookout

and when it gets too hot she shelters inside on top of her travel box

Barn Owl Whisper likes her travel box

Even when she is at home she is still keeping busy as she provides the pellets for science discovery sessions!

Pellet ID 3

Whisper’s next booking is on Sunday, 8th May at the Cornish Artisan Vintage art fair in Perranporth  – we are both looking forward to it!  https://www.facebook.com/events/471931509664845/permalink/476178052573524/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Owl Pellets to Parties

Owls

Each and every day my owls produce a pellet.  They are made up of the indigestible parts of their food, like fur and bone, and expelled through the mouth.  I rarely find Peanut’s, they are small of course but he also has a horrible habit of eating them just in case he missed something the first time round! I am sure he is part Labrador!

Anyway, I used to throw them away; that was until I was contacted by a tutor at Cornwall College looking to buy some for her science class.  So after checking how to dry them correctly I carefully gathered a selection from the three larger owls and soon had the 8 she needed.  The photos show the students trying to identify what the owls had eaten, and seeing if they can tell which owl produced which one.

Pellet ID 5

Owl Pellet science

Pellet ID 3

Owl pellet discovery

Pellet ID 2

owl pellet science

and this week the students met the owls in a session in respect of World Wildlife Day 2016.  This was really interesting for the students as they were now meeting the owls they had followed on this Blog, and whose pellets they had dissected several weeks earlier.

This has been a busy week –  it started with a close up owl experience for very excited 11 year old’s birthday.  We visited his party – he and his friends looked pleased to meet Peanut!

Happy Birthday Owl Party Feb 2016.JPG

Later in the week we visited the lovely Friday Group in Penwithick  https://www.facebook.com/penwithickfridaygroup/?fref=ts

The ladies enjoyed meeting Victor and Peanut and made their own owls too!  I enjoyed lots of cups of tea and learnt that Little Owls are the only birds to lay truly round eggs!!!

I wonder what next week will bring!!…

Owl Selfies

birds, Hoots, nature, Owls, photography, Selfies

I seem to have gathered lots of photographs of my owls over the past 8 months – [WOW!!! I’ve had my owls for 8 months now!!] …… loads of Peanut…

Why is he so photogenic?!

Thought it was time I shared them with you – and a really close up video of BB hooting 🙂

Peanut  I love this photo taken by my niece, Zinzi…

Peanut with my smiley nephews and niece… and me in my hat…

…at Christmas and in the house..

Casper and Cam

Our son with Casper, a young Barn owl we reared…

Victor portrait.JPG

and Victor in portrait poise…

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and happily home again…

Now listen to BB King’s soulful double hooting – warming up for Spring!

 

Watching Owls

birds, nature, Owls, photography

“A wise old owl sat on an oak; The more he saw the less he spoke; The less he spoke the more he heard; Why aren’t we like that wise old bird?”

BB King

For I am BB King

Owls like to stare for ages – usually at something so far away it is impossible for me to see what ever it is they find so fascinating.

BB likes to spend quite a bit of time watching the sheep grazing, and a large oak tree on the edge of his field – looking for squirrels perhaps?..

Victor has a general good look around, blinking slowly, taking his time.

Peanut’s favourite spot is on his top rail where he can watch everything, snugly puffed up with one leg tucked away..

Good Morning Peanut

and Whisper just loves the camera – well, she is beautiful!!

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!!