Saturday, February 3, 2007

Bird of Prey Weekend

In January, Sammy and I took a Friday off, packed Gabi into the car and started our 5 hour drive to Skipton England. I had bought Sammy a day with birds of prey, where he would learn about Eagles, Hawks, and Owls and be able to fly them. I purchased this for our 4th anniversary in May 2006 and we would finally be able to experience it, although a bit late!

Our trip started out really nice - Gabi was excited the drive was smooth until we got a few hours into the drive. Something had happened up ahead (we never found out what) and we ended up stuck on the highway. It took us literally two hours to go two miles! When we were finally diverted from the highway we were left to fend for ourselves. The Highway Department didn't think it necessary to put up detour signs up to tell us how to get back onto the freeway. So Sammy and I spent another couple of hours trying to find a different way to Skipton. We finally made it...NINE HOURS LATER! Thank goodness Gabi doesn't get car sick!

Sammy very happy we made it to the Hotel!

Anyway, we made it to the hotel, which was very nice, and the next morning I dropped Sammy off so he could enjoy his day with the birds. He had a lot of fun learning about the different birds then taking them out to fly them. They also went for a hike on the grounds with the Falcons flying along with them. During the hike one of the Falcons even let Sammy carry it up the hill, which apparently is not common as they don't usually bond with strangers.

Sammy Flying an Eagle

While Sammy was spending time with the Birds, Gabi and I went hiking on the hotel grounds and around the lake. It was beautiful, and on our way around the lake the resident Swans started following us. They're territorial and didn't like the fact that Gabi was jumping in to fetch the sticks I was throwing. We kept ahead of them and at one point were about 1/4 of the length of the lake in front of them. I guess they felt it was too far away for them to keep an eye on us so they started flying just above the water and paddling their way over toward us. Scared the daylights out of me. I thought they were going to attack Gabi, but we got away!
Me and Gabi taking a walk outside. Sammy took this photo from our hotel room.

After our walk Gabi and I went back to the hotel soaking wet and extremely muddy. The hotel staff were very sweet, got us towels to wipe off with and then we went to our room and took a nap. At lunch time Sammy came back to eat before going back out to spend more time with the birds. At the end of the day I went to pick him up and took photos of him flying and holding the birds. We also had a nice chat with the two Falconers and met them later in the hotel bar and had drinks.
Sammy with a Harrier Hawk on his arm.

All 3 of us had an excellent time and the drive home on Sunday only took us 4.5 hours!

Next trip...Aberdeen Scotland and the Whiskey Trail!

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