One of the events offered by the festival organizers was a few hours out with a falconer which I signed up for. It was very interesting, Matt was happy to talk about his birds and answer questions. He flew the birds with an eye to making it possible for us photographers to get lots of great images. The first bird flown was a Peregrine Falcon.
After that we moved to another site where there were some bushes for the birds to fly from and to. He brought out an Aplomado Falcon, once more common in NM and making a small comeback.
Then he brought out the Harris Hawk, a large bird that will hunt in family groups in the Southwest. It was a great way to spend a morning!
Thursday morning I was up before sunrise and out at the crane ponds (along with a lot of other folks) to see and capture the cranes fly out. As always once the sun was up a bit the images got better and better. A good way to start the day for sure!
This morning I was up early again and when I saw a few clouds in the east I headed into the refuge to a place I expected some cranes to be. The idea was to photograph some as they flew in front of the sunlit clouds heading to the feeding grounds. There was a strong cold wind but I was able to use the truck as a windbreak for the time needed.
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Built in 1824
Jane and I landed at Manchester airport Friday 13 Sept. My luck on the flight was mixed, good- I got upgraded to Business class! not so good, the flight was delayed leaving JFK so Jane had plenty of time to collect her bags while waiting for me. Once on the road we headed to Newport to a cottage we were staying at so we could attend the Midland Game Fair.
Weather at the fair was mixed, cloudy, sunny, sprinkled a bit and got windy. We saw several demonstrations that were informative and interesting.We got to see a very interesting demo by a man who flys hawks an d falcons while on horseback. The horse he used ini the demo is a Lusitano, a Portuguese bred horse, very closely related to Andalusians. His horse was bred by a man who breeds and trains horses to be used in bull fights in Portugal. The horse was retired at 6 and brought to the UK by the man who gave the demo. First he flew his Harris hawk then he flew a falcon owned by another falconer. The falcon has never been flown by a man or horseback and it showed itself very adaptable. The man used a lure to bring it back and it was quite something to see. I do not have my dslr with me on this trip and I really missed it since the camera I have is not capable of the speed needed to capture the action in this demo.
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We also got to see a very entertaining and informative show in the main arena that showed feats of skill done by knights, including jousting.
Sunday the 15th was predicted to be very windy and wet so we opted to go to Shrewsbury in hopes we’d be able to enjoy that ancient city without getting too wet (we also feared the mess the game fair grounds could become). We lucked out, the wind and rain held off until we got close to the cottage at the end of the day. We really enjoyed the Park called the Quarry, which is really situated where a quarry was. The deepest part of the quarry was turned into a delightful garden called The Dingle.
On the way back to the cottage we stopped at Haughmond Abbey, founded in 1135.For more images click here