I recently discovered a relatively new falconry centre in my local area. The centre features a huge collection of birds of prey as well as a few other key species. Today's visit was more of a scout mission to see what was on offer as the weather proved to be very cold, wet and windy. The plus side was that being the only visitor I was treated to a private display and the chance for some intimate close ups of the birds. The Bald Eagle shown above is a young bird; his full white-headed plumage won't grow in until he is fully mature at around five years of age.
My visit to the falconry centre was also the perfect opportunity to test out some newly purchased camera gear. For anyone interested I'm now using a Nikon D300 which I'm glad to report is producing some cracking results. The image above is a crop of the Bald Eagle shot at 100%, which shows just how much detail is captured in each photograph. This of course means even higher resolution images for Escape Images customers! These stock photos will be available shortly on my Alamy page.
A rather drenched Kestrel was on display, who was more than happy to pose for some photographs on the falconer's glove. These birds are often overlooked by visitors as they are a 'common' species, the crowds being attracted to the bigger, more dramatic birds on show. Personally I think Kestrels are stunning little birds and their hovering aerobatics put them right up there with any exotic species.
It was a pleasure to get some close up shots of this bird as it hovered a few feet from my head, giving a new perspective to what normally goes on thirty feet up in the air. The complexity of their movements in flight is very impressive, every tiny wing and tail adjustment ensuring that the head stays perfectly still, giving the best view possible of the prey below.
This Tawny Owl reminded me of a dog or cat as it was more than happy to be tickled behind the ears. The plumage of these owls is perfectly suited to their woodland habitat and their deep black eyes absorb every slither of light giving them superb night vision.