Friday, 8 July 2011

Days Out Part 1

This Monday it was a lovely day, the forecast was good, and so we decided to visit Stonham Barns and, more particularly Suffolk Owl Sanctuary . This is somewhere we used to go quite often but haven't been since we moved nearly 4 years ago. The place is very much the same except that, thankfully, the landlords have tidied up the paths etc a bit, so they are much easier to push the wheelchair across. There were some birds we hadn't seen before, like the first picture below which is a yellow headed caracara. It makes a lot of noise ALL the time.

There were two flying displays. The one at 12.30 was fairly well attended but when we went back for the 2.30 there was only us and three others so we were able to ask lots of questions and see the birds much closer to thyan usual.
The barn owl is called Cobweb. The owls are very focussed so if something distracts them it can be difficult to get them to come back into their display routine. On the other hand, they can be so fixed in the routine that - well, the story he told us was from when some yob broke in and let all the birds out. Most of them were retrieved but an owl was missing for a while, but then came back one night and started doing the routine on its own. The handler had been camping out in the hope it would come back so they did their display at three o'clock in the morning, reinforcing the birds attachement to the handler and, more importantly, the food source!

All the birds are bred in captivity. Some are bred from wild birds that have been injured and cannot survive in the wild but have a good life at the Sanctuary. It's the only bit of Stonham Barns that we really go to see. The shops seem to be much the same and the antique shop is closing down, which is a shame in a way although it did mean I was not tempted to spend any money ! We took a picnic too, that way we know we will be getting something we really like, although in hindsight, maybe chicken sandwiches was a bit tactless.

The picture above is of a very rare bird indeed. The Seldom Spotted Husband is a shy creature that prefers to hide under any available hat. Its mating call sounds like "isthereanycake"

And here's some more of the feathered variety

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