Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 21/02/2011

Far from the Maddening Crowd

A soujourn to distant pastures, more specifically to Newent near Gloucester and the wonderful International Centre for Birds of Prey ( It’s been many many years since I last visted and with expectations high I’m pleased to say all hopes for the day were far exceeded. Now that’s not to say I’ve got bags and bags of spectacular photos to upload to flickr, that was beyond the control of anyone; the weather, and therefore the lighting for photography, was pretty poor throughout the day though at least it didn’t rain or stop me from snapping away.

The variety of birds was staggering, the avian highlights for me were two goshawks, stella sea eagles, a gyrfalcon hybrid but as I’ve said before, enjoyable visits are often more than the sum of the exhibits. From the off, all of the staff were incredibly helpful, friendly and more than willing to take time out to talk to visitors, and the bonne homme made for such a relaxing and enjoyable day.

A wayward Eagle Owl that decided to explore new areas of the centre caused much consternation for all but did result in a magical indoor display from a native Long Eared Owl whilst keepers tryed to coax the larger bird down from a tree (they did manage in the end). The much smaller Long Eared Owl, the centre of attention, played to the crowd performing numerous wing claps as it flew, something I’ve only ever seen on the TV.

Today’s photo is of a Southern White-Faced Owl, a very pretty little bird that I’ve photographed on mumerous occassions but one I can’t resist to snap. With the little available light I did manage a number of decent shots but I recogn I can take better of these birds at the Centre once the spring or summer sun decideds to pay a visit. And once it does decide to, I also will be back for more. Whooooo? Meeeee? Darn tootin’


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