Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Taking the Wild-time Challenge No. 44 - Go Birdwatching

A post from Rebecca, our volunteer member blogger, about trying our 50 things Wild-time challenge. She's going writing about our adventures with her family all summer. 

 Osterley Park is one of the National Trust’s hidden gems in West London.  It is so well hidden that you feel as if you are entering another realm as you leave the hustle and bustle behind you and are greeted by a long driveway with fields of cows on each side and a lake on the approach to the house.  Big Tot, Little Tot and I ventured there one afternoon to take part in a spot of birdwatching.  Kitted out with binoculars which the Osterley rangers had left out for children and grown-ups to use, we set off to complete No. 44 - Go Birdwatching.  

BT really enjoyed spotting different kinds of bird and jotting them down in her little notebook with a sketch so that we could identify them later using another of our new #50things books.  What we didn’t know though, was that we were in for a real treat as The Hawking Centre were also at Osterley Park and were holding a falconry display as part of one of the #50things Challenge events.  Well, that took our ornithology knowledge and skills up a notch! Wonderful flying demonstrations and talks on owls, a hawk and even a Peregrine falcon.

It was amazing to watch these birds of prey in flight and to learn more about how they are trained, their day to day living and their favourite tasty morsels.  Big Tot was a little concerned when the birds were flown that they might spy her and her sister and decide that they would make the perfect bite right there on the spot.  However and rather fortunately for us, the birds had already had their mid-morning snacks so little girls were firmly off the menu.

We came away with some amazing bird knowledge that afternoon.  Did you know that Peregrine falcons can reach speeds of up to 200mph in one of their high speed dives? Very impressive! Little Tot was mesmerised by the owls and we were lucky enough to be able to get really up close and personal.  I came away wishing that I could have a pet owl of my own to train so that I could join Hogwarts as a mature student…….do you think that they would have me?!  

Fantastic how these #50things challenges and events can help find that bit of hidden magic and explorer in us all! Many thanks to The Hawking Centre for their kind permission to use (and participate) in a bit of Big Tot’s filming!

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