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!!

Do Owls know its Christmas?

nature, Owls, photography

No of course they don’t, but if anyone asks they got new aviaries, a new weathering and went to a few parties. Yes, new aviaries and parties!  In between getting ready for Christmas and looking after my husband, who broke his hand at work and then a week before the feast day had a bone shaping operation on his foot [very painful and on crutches for a while yet], the new aviaries were finished enough for the two big owls to move into!

It was hard work in the cold, wind and rain but with the help of some amazing friends – especially the man with the larch! – we finished on the 23rd and Victor and BB were in their bigger, stronger and most importantly drier homes.

Side view In progress Box profile

We already had a lot of the materials and the steel roofing sheets and larch made it all good and solid.  The final push on the 23rd saw Pete, my son Cameron and me in the pouring rain taking out crucial panels from the old aviaries to put into the new.  The owls were put onto bow perches and it was a matter of having to finish or they would have no where to go that night.  The final netting was stapled by the light of the mobile phone – but we did it!!

Still need to get a load of gravel on BB’s floor [I have a ton of pea gravel at the bottom of the field to bring up via wheelbarrow as its so muddy!] and after a bit more trim and a lick of paint they will be done.  BB is now in residence in a 12×12 foot space and Victor has a 6x12foot area.  Both have rope swings and plenty of room to spread their wings.  Both also seem much happier, more animated and alert – my Xmas present 🙂

IMG_2964Victor is in

Then the following Monday we had another building day and an amazing weathering shelter was built from another old fence panel and the skillful hands of Owen – with Cameron helping too.  Meanwhile Trace and I moved gravel [again/still] and took more of the old down.  Now Peanut and Whisper will have somewhere to perch out of the wind at the farm – it is really taking shape.

Xmas Monday crewPortable Weathering Done

Ideal – and it has handles so I can move it 🙂

So that’s the new builds, big owls all secure and safe from the wild wind and rain.

I will tell you about the owl Xmas parties next time; here is a selfie from Peanut for now – belated Merry Xmas and Happy New Year everyone!!

Peanut Xmas selfie at Trenython

Victor’s Day Out

birds, nature, Owls, photography

Some days it has been so wet and windy it is hard to get the owls out of their aviaries.   When it is really rough I leave them in peace and quiet; in the wild they would stay put in a sheltered spot and wait for the weather to pass so it’s quite natural for them – just like we like to stay where we are warm and dry, and watch the rain pour down.  On those days I will spend some time standing with each of them, having a chat and giving them their food.

Victor still hasn’t made a sound but the other three hoot, screech and chirrup joining in the conversation!   Victor contributes through expression, his eyelids are the best and he winks and blinks – maybe it’s a kind of owl morse code…I will decipher it one day.  He is getting more confident when he is taken out, and much more interested in looking around rather than staring at me with a rather shocked expression!

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Here we are sheltering in the ‘spare’ aviary during a heavy shower – spare as in it is supplying the spare parts needed for the new aviaries and will soon be taken down completely.  We removed the door and front panel just a few days ago for the new, better and stronger aviaries – fingers crossed finished this week – wow!!!

 

Victor really likes my shed.  The first time he went in to be weighed was the first time I had seen him take a real notice of his surroundings – he had a good look around, visibly relaxed and happily looked out of the window while I made a cup of tea.

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I think he must have been in a shed with his previous owners at some point, as he loves it in there every time now.  IMG_2939

 

My brother and his lovely girls bought me an Owl Advent calendar  – Victor loved it too!

 

It gets a bit chilly in the field while spending time with Victor, so I decided to go for a walk around and see who else was about at the farm.

We visited Pete – who was out, but Victor liked the look of the caravan.

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So then we went down to the yard to see if my brother was about, though forgot that is was nearly 3pm so he would be doing the school run picking up his girls.  Victor quite liked the old cartwheel by his back door and I couldn’t resist making the most of this photo opportunity.

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Soon Victor is going to be guest of honour, with Peanut, at the Lankelly Rugby Club junior’s Xmas party.  This will be Victor’s first public appearance since he came to live with me so it is very exciting.  I am making him new anklets and jesses [or furniture to use the correct term] especially for the occasion, so he will look very smart and I am sure he will impress everyone there, blinking quietly in his way.

Time to put Victor back and feed the owls.