My last close up with – is of my encounter with a varied feathered few, during a half day falconry experience at Gauntlet Birds of Prey, Knutsford. 2011 seems such a long time ago, but I still remember their Lanner Falcon, Sally digging her claws into my scalp as she tried to bully me!
The half day experience comprised of firstly learning to tie the falconers knot and then handling a few birds, from owls to kestrels and falcons.
Alan the Kestrel
African Spotted Eagle Owl
After this meet and greet there was a chance to fly a vulture and the end of the experience was a walk with harris hawks. I loved it and have always wanted to do a similar experience in future.
Have you had a bird of prey experience? What were your impressions?
A while back I wrote about my face to face encounter with Red Pandas at Paradise Wildlife Park. It got me thinking of the many wildlife encounters I have had over the years. The first memory that popped into my head was the 2011 encounter with wild Bottlenose Dolphins in Cromarty Firth.
Bottlenose Dolphins Cromarty, Scotland.
In 2011, David and I incorporated a Grand Tour of Scotland to our travels. We started in Stirling, then headed to Inverness before returning south to Edinburgh. While B&Bing on the Black Isle we booked an hour+ long tour with EcoVentures to see their local pod of Bottlenose Dolphins.
On the day I remembered we were kitted out in waterproofs. After a safety briefing we were escorted towards the RIB.
Ready for the water – David
Ready for the water – Christine
David and I sat near the back of the RIB which didn’t detract from the experience. The RIB coursed into Cromarty Firth and then followed the headland where there were nesting birds. Within 30 minutes of the trip we came close to a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins. Though we didn’t see any Harbour Porpoises or Pilot Whales on our trip, the Bottlenose Dolphins more than stole the show. They followed the RIB as it coursed through the water. It is a memory I shall cherish all my life.
Afterwards, back on land, poor David succumbed to seasickness, but the memory of seeing these wonderful creatures in their habitat more than overcame the discomfort. The below video shows some of the best moments we experienced.