Thursday, 19 May 2016

Hawks and kids

Not having any kids myself, I wasn't  that confident in dealing with them.  However, I've found, over the past couple of years, that they react so well to the hawks that it's just a question of acting as interpreter.  I explain why the hawk acts as she does and that leads us on to another question and soon we are quite happily chatting away.

Last summer was very good in the UK.  Very good weather and the economic climate seems to have improved greatly as well.  The end result was a lot more customers coming to Exmoor to play with the hawks, courtesy of North Devon Hawk Walks.   There were certainly  a lot more children.   I think word is spreading, and the hawks and I have been to several children's birthday parties.

Attached is a picture drawn by Finley, following his outing with us and his introduction to Her Ladyship.

Cassius at the Riverside Camp site

Here's Cassius coming down to land on a customer at one of the new locations for our walks, Riverside Camp site.  If you look half way along each wing, you'll see  one feather sticking up. This configuration breaks up the flow of air over that part of the wing and helps make it more stable at low speed. Ideal for landing.  It's the same idea as the " fingertips" at the end of his wings.
Thanks to  Marco Oliveira for the photograph and the kind remarks on Trip Advisor,

Sunday, 10 April 2016

A new arrival.

I've recently added a Barn Owl to the flying circus that is North Devon Hawk Walks. At the moment he / she is just a ball of fluff with a beak at one end and claws at the other. Let's get some photos online.

Actually, the photo above is quite recent and shows the owl at about 6 weeks of age. The down ( or fluff) is beginning to come off and the adult plumage is beginning to show.
This was taken with a thermo-graphic camera and shows just how good the fluff is at keeping the bird warm. He/she is standing on my hand. The white bits are hot, blue are cold and the red is somewhere in between.

A new start.

Let's see if I can get this old blog site running again, with a couple of pictures of Lady Macbeth in action to begin with.

Monday, 16 June 2014

At last a new posting.

Time flies.   Never more so than when you have post something on your blog and think   "Tomorrow ".

I was horrified to see how long it's been since the last one.    Life at North Devon Hawk Walks has been busy over recent months.  The upturn in the national economy is reflected in the number of people wanting to go on hawk walks. May 2014 was the best one, in terms of number of customers, for three years.

The hawks remain their own sweet selves.  Cassius is as friendly and approachable as ever.  Lady Macbeth is as forbidding and dignified as ever.   The only real change has been with Artemis the Sparrowhawk who early in May began to get get broody.  Her usual raucous  squawk demanding food turned into a low-toned, seductive cheep as her hormones took control.   She is an imprint so there was no question of her wanting a male Sparrowhawk, it was me she fancied.    Some hurried research later and I hooked up with a guy who breeds birds and was able to give me a crash course on avian artificial insemination.   Sad to say, Artemis' hormones had kicked in a bit too late and there were no imprint male Sparrowhawks still producing semen.  She laid one, unfertilised egg.   However, we shall be prepared next year.

We are all concentrating on the moult at the moment. Lots of food, lots of sunshine to stimulate the annual dropping and regrowing of feathers.   Photos to follow.

I've started  Facebook pages  both for myself,  Nigel Penfold, and North Devon Hawk Walks. We are also on Trip Advisor and doing very well, thank you, in terms of good reviews.  37 so far, and all  5 star Excellent.             There's definitely something about birds of prey that appeals to people.
Below is a pic of Her Ladyship shouting abuse at a passing dog.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Video of hawk landing.

North Devon Hawk Walk with Cassius from Manta Daz on Vimeo.

This video was posted on the North Devon Hawk Walk Facebook page some time ago.
It's by a customer who came out with us a few months ago on a Hawk Walk on Exmoor. He got some really good footage of the hawks flying and landing on the customers. 
I'm in the process of building a new website, and there will be a few video clips to show exactly what we get up to on a Hawk Walk.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Lady Macbeth by Tansy Rollin

A couple of photos taken by Tamsin Rollins    at the North Devon Show earlier this year.