Sunday, February 6, 2011

Eagle Encounters Spier

Two weeks ago the younger two and I went on a fantastic school outing that I have wanted to take them on for some time as we had studied birds last year. Somehow we didn't get to go on the outing at the time so when the opportunity arose, we grabbed it with both hands!
We set off early along the coast road and thoroughly enjoyed the magnificent views of False Bay. It was hot and windless, the sea a brilliant turquoise, the mountains in the distance looked majestic. The journey was just as enjoyable as the outing itself.
Eagle Encounters is a rehabilitation centre for birds of prey and so the birds are not caged. I wished that Eric had joined us as I think he would have enjoyed the opportunity to photograph the birds close up. Nowhere in the wild does get the chance to photograph raptors in flight as close up as this.
Our guide was very informative and knowledgeable. He held the audience captive as he flew a selection of owls, kites, buzzards, hawks and falcons around, and to us. I must admit, at first it was a little daunting to have these birds so close to us.

This beautiful Jackal Buzzard has a wingspan of 1.2m.

Sykes, the spotted Eagle Owl.

Brutus, a Martial Eagle with a wingspan of 2.5m. Brutus goes out hunting in the nearby farmlands. I was amazed that he goes out and comes back of his own free will. I would think that he would just fly away and be free.

Our guide showed us the Barn Owls ear. Its position on the head is so close to the eye, which apparently helps with hunting. I love the markings of the feathers.

The kids enjoyed feeling just how soft those feathers are . These little Barn Owls are so cute as they dance too! When the guide played some music for them, they closed their eyes and bopped up and down on their perch. Too cute.

It truly was a fantastic experience!

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