11:45 demonstration: First bird up was an African Fish Eagle. On previous visits this bird had flown in the second demonstration, but we noticed that the first demo arena had been furnished with a new pool. The pool is an essential part of the demo as the eagle fishes from the pool as part of the demonstration. As this was our first experience of the new pool I was unfamiliar with the run ins etc so missed out on clear fishing pics. All I managed was a couple of flight shots.
First in were a pair of White Backed Vultures.
The final bird added to this scenario was a Yellow Billed Kite, which had food thrown into the air for it to catch and eat on the wing, which it did effortlessly.
It was very special to see such a variety of species flying at the same time. After the first demonstration was over we went for lunch at the restaurant and then looked round a few of the aviaries before the second demonstration began.
After lunch and it was off to the second arena for the next display.
First out of the box were a pair of beautiful Barn Owls - how nice to photograph them so closely and in such perfect light. Interestingly they are training these Barn Owls to come to squeaks for their food rewards. I think the idea is to somehow try and get them to search for their food in the long grass as they would in the wild - that way people would get to see them diving into the meadow.
The only falcon of the day was flown next - a Lanner Falcon. It was beautiful day and off the Lanner went, gaining height on the thermals. It wents so high that everyone lost sight of it, confused as much by the very distant buzaards and kite, so much so that no one noticed its retturn until it hit the lure that the falconer was gently swinging - it could have a been a super stoop, bu no one saw it(-:).
Then came the highlight (for me) of this demonstration - over a dozen Black Kites joined us and gave a fantastic aerial display as food was thrown into the air for them to catch and eat on the wing.
First in was a European Eagle Owl. All of the Owls were encouraged to fly over the audience so that you could appreciate the silence and the beauty.
Then we had a flight by a Long Eared Owl, the first time I have seen one flown here.