Ok so it has been a while but just like London buses nothing for a while then 3 come along at once, and that's what I'm going to do now 3 posts for you as I think they all need separating!
Firstly I best tell you where I have been and what I have been up to which also means I will mention one special place in the UK. At the start of last week I made trip to Gloucestershire and the International Bird of Prey Centre owned and ran by Jemima Parry-Jones MBE, they had an event coming up and needed some help getting ready for it so I gave them 3 days hard graft and in return I hoped to meet Jemima and her team and get to see what goes on behind the scenes of this amazing centre.
Now I won't go into every detail of my visit but I'd like to give you an insight into the ICBP and what it is all about, Jemima is recognised around the world for her work with captive birds of prey especially the breeding of rare species but also the great conservation work she carry's out with her collection. The centre is nestled in a lovely village called Newent down a truly narrow country track and is attached to Jemimas lovely house, essentially the centre is her back garden, she bought the centre from her late father Philip Glazier a highly regarded falconer who back in 1967 started the original Falconry Centre. The centre is now home to around 250 birds of prey covering 60 species from around the world and 5 labradors (well one is a terrier), the range of species can be seen on the webpage but they cover everything you could want to see.
The birds are housed in lovely large barn style aviaries designed and built from years of trial and error and they prove this mastered by the ease of use and lack of disruption made to the birds, some of my daily tasks included raking out the sand and changing water bath's all which can be done effortlesssly. These aviaries include the owl courtyard, small Falcon aviaries, Kite block and large Eagle barns but what really does it for me are the grounds that the whole place is set in.
As you enter the centre you come to the hawk walk where the current flying birds are tethered usually a large grassed area with several perches scattered about, but at the ICBP it really is like a walk in a show garden. Along the walk are creeping plants and drooping trees seperated by rose bushes and past these are the birds, as you walk on around to the aviaries there are lawns and flower beds with shrubs and bushes growing aplenty. The centre is not short of mature trees some overshadowing the aviaries or a nice picnic spot, they have a small woodland walk currently being created to fit in with the childrens play area and Mozarts Owl Maze. These are found next to the flying arena, which is through an archway of foliage and here you can catch 3 flying demo's depending on the time of year, make sure you check out the gate on the way down, painted by my own fair hand but thats as far as my artistic skills stretch.
Jemima and her team were the nicest bunch I have come across at a centre, and if your looking for a day out you should look no further than here! In my opinion this place set's the standard for birds of prey in captivity and it was a treat to spend three days at the centre, I'll be going back!
Make sure you visit!