Wednesday 15 April 2015

The Penetrating Eyes of Raptors

Kilton Raptor Rescue paid us another visit today, and as ever, I took the opportunity to get a rare close look at beautiful birds of prey.

While they took he opportunity to get a close look at me.

There is something about being gazed at by the piercing yellow eyes of a goshawk that is really quite unsettling. This bird wasn't fazed by the people, or the unfamiliar sounds and smells of Newark market square. It looked me full in the eye, reading every weakness, every failing of personality, reading my intentions and knowing instinctively the story of my life.

"Who are you to look at me?" it must have been thinking. "I am king of the forest, you work in a warehouse! You are bound to the ground while I can fly free. If I was free of these restraints, I'd carry you off to feed my children!"

The eagle owl has a warmer orange look in its huge eyes, but has furry talons that look like they could could straight through the arm bones of an inquisitive child. The great grey owl responded to my not exactly forceful call of "Hey hooty!" with a contemptuous look from its huge radar dish of a face. The little owl may be the size of a thrush, but still looks at you like you were a future owl pellet on a woodland floor.

You never get these looks from a robin!

I am aware that there may be ethical concerns with having these birds on display like this, especially on a warm day such as today - the eagle owl was panting rather. But, if they do good outreach and awareness work as well as the work they do with injured or mistreated raptors, it may well be worthwhile.


Preening kestrel

Heads up!

Eagle owl

Murderous looking goshawk

Great grey owl

Scopps owl

Little owl

I got out for a ten km run in the afternoon, and headed along the length of Clay Lane where I had my first good look at small white and speckled wood this year, although neither were interested in posing for the heavy footed athlete thumping through their domain. Peacocks and brimstone were also in view, and small tortoiseshells were engaging in spiralling mating flights, by the look of things.

Plenty of buzzers around too!


Clay lane hawthorn now in bloom

Blossom close up

Someone's tried to make a bridge to get over the muddy puddle!

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