Okay, I have just gotten over the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout but when I went to see the owls and hawk from Norfolk Wild Encounters (NWE) I was knocked out.
NWE Birds of Prey graced the Grapes Hill Community Garden on 3rd of May, the morning after “the fight of the century” mania. I didn’t have a proper sleep because I was following the boxing match on Twitter and a live reaction updates by Gareth Davies (Telegraph). Nevertheless, I didn’t want to miss the birds.
I have always wanted to photograph them in the wild but never had luck because whenever I saw them I was in a running car. So this was my chance. I met 6 birds of prey, mostly owls from NWE and they were all amazing. I was particularly fascinated with Thor the Great Grey Owl. Watch me stroking his soft fluffy feather on our video below.
As the name suggests, Burrowing Owls live in the burrows underground that had been dug out by burrowing mammals. They eat small rodents, insects, birds and amphibians, and reptiles. They are native to North America. (Source: defenders.org)
This is Woody, a Woodford’s Owl and he is native to Africa. Woody is about 160cm. He likes to prey on insects and sometimes rodents and lizards he finds on a tree. He can snatch an insect from a vegetable without landing. His favorite habitat is the forest and the woodlands.
Of these 5 Birds of Prey, Kestrel is the only one that’s native to the UK/Europe. No bigger than a dove, they can be spotted hovering along the roads. Unlike Woodford’s Owls, Kestrels prefer open country, near the roads, verges and scrubland. They don’t make their own nest. Instead they nest in old buildings, holes in trees and will take over old corvid nests – they re-use the same sites every year unless displaced. (Source: Hawk and Owl Trust)
Prominent ear tufts, bright orange eyes, robust, Eagle Owls are one of the biggest species of owl in the world. They prey on rabbits and pheasants. (Source: BBC Nature and rspb.org.uk)
Great Grey Owl
This is Thor, the great grey owl. He has got a facial disc which collects sound waves that are directed to his ears. As a result, he can locate his prey precisely under the snow up to a depth of 2 feet. His eyes have thick crystal clear lenses. He weighs about 2 lbs and is huge. (Source: Wikipedia)
So there you go, I can tick another item on my Top 10 Travel Bucket List 2015. Well, this was not the kind of bird watching I originally intended but heck it still is bird watching. I did watch hundreds of birds on my way to see the seals in Horsey but I was in the car. I wanted to photograph them but there was no place to pull over. Nevertheless, it was such an awesome sight. For a few minutes my vision was filled with birds.