The majestic display made by birds of prey – swooping and diving in pursuit of their quarry – is a truly arresting sight to behold, yet it’s one rarely seen outside of nature documentaries.
But thanks to our friends at Surrey Hills Falconry, on September 19th the residents of The Old Rectory, along with our guests from The Old Hall in Send, were fortunate to encounter some of these impressive beasts at first hand.
Taking advantage of a glorious, late summer’s day, we invited Laurie and his wife Anne-Marie from SHF to bring some of their friends along to meet us. They duly arrived with five birds: Khan, an imposing one-year-old Steppe Eagle; elder statesman Buzz, an 11-year-old Harris Hawk; Loki, a young Peregrine Falcon, Screech, a four-month-old Barn Owl; and Mr Fig, a Little Owl (now fully grown) belonging to their son George, whose pet it is.
Surrey Hills Falconry offers a variety of experience days via its website whereby the public can get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures. On this occasion, after a short introduction to each species, residents were able to stroke and interact with several of the birds, including having an opportunity to handle either of the owls – which some did.
And, after what proved to be an educational and fun afternoon, we all had tea and cake in the garden to round off a memorable day, resolving to invite Laurie, Anne-Marie and co. back again for another visit soon.