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Hawks And Owls

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It’s been a typically turbulent spring week. We have had days where the temperatures soared to 19 degrees centigrade, and the skies were a perfect clear cloudless blue. Then we have had other days when the thermometer sulked at a rather grim 6 degrees, and it was a constant onslaught of winds, rain and giant hailstones. In fact it’s been classically chaotic March weather.

We’ve been on the move again. Our ultimate destination this time was Cornwall, but we had a few days in Hampshire first, with friends. A great highlight has been the day at the Hawk Conservancy. It ended up being just me and Junior-Senior, the others being a bit wiped-out with lurgy, and another little boy and his mother.

The morning was lovely, with birds, a flying display of falcons, vultures and bald eagles, and two very excited little men tearing around finding all the stamps to put onto their little card booklets, and practising their reading with fascinating facts and strange names. After lunch in the café, the other family had to leave, and then we were two. The weather came in, and although we didn’t get too wet, by the time of the owl display it was bitterly cold and there weren’t many people left. In fact when the staff arrived to begin the display, there were only four of us in total sitting on the benches.

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As it turned out, this was an absolute gift from the universe. As we were so few, they decided to do things differently. Rather than simply flying the owls (and one hawk) for us, they let us join in too. We had birds buzzing back and forth over our heads, so close we felt the air move on our faces; or was it the brush of a feather? The birds were kept tightly around us the whole time – after all there was no-one else to perform for. Best of all, we were invited to join in, and each one of us had the joy of a tawny owl, and later a large grey owl, flying to land on our outstretched (and gauntleted) arms. The look on my little boy’s face when those birds gracefully touched down onto him was beautiful, a smile of pure delight and wonder.

As we watched the end of the flying display we were freezing, with him in my arms, and my coat wrapped around the two of us to keep warm, but we were both grinning from ear to ear.

As we left he whispered, “I know we have to leave now, and it’s ok, but I love this place, I want to live here.” We’ll definitely be going back, preferably on a cold blustery day.

Categories: Playing Around

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