After meeting Bob Brind-Surch at Bracknell Camera Club I had signed up to receive his newsletters about coming events. Bob sent out an email that updated his subscribers about upcoming workshops. As I hadn’t checked his website for a while I had a look and the Specialist Birds of Prey Photo Workshop caught my eye.
The workshop was being held at Holdenby House in Northamptonshire. This had been one of the largest country houses in England until it was nearly all demolished after the English Civil War. The website for the house tells about its history and its modern day uses.
My drive was uneventful until I reached the postcode when my sat-nav took me off the B road into the house’s estate buildings. Once back on the road and no longer near the postcode I found the entrance as defined by Bob. It was raining by now and I was grateful for the cup of tea while we chatted in in the Icarus Falconry building.
Roscoe, a male European eagle owl
It may have been raining but we were here to see the the birds of prey. Roscoe was going to be sat on a grave stone in the grave yard of the house’s church. By now the rain was pouring down and we were grateful for the shelter offered by the trees around us.
Bob asked us out of courtesy to the owners not to take pictures of the gravestones and to obscure any names if we inadvertently had them in our images. As we left I took this image of the church’s tower.
We walked from the church and went down into a dip where Roscoe was put into more natural surroundings.
Willow, a female tawny owl
We then moved into one of the public by-ways that crossed the land at the side of us was a field with some photogenic cows.
We watched as Willow was placed on a branch sheltered from the rain.
While we were taking images of Willow a party of Brownies filed past us up the lane. Willow just stared at them as they passed by and stared back at her. We climbed over a locked five bar gate to get to the paddock to see Bentley. The accesses to the house had been made more secure since someone had gone into the grounds and taken cast statues of the owner’s children.
Bentley, a female (despite the name) hooded vulture
The paddock was enormous and gave some indication of just how big the original house had been. The two arches were the entrances to the stable yard and had been left when the house and stables had been demolished.
The rain was still falling and we were promised a cup of tea and lunch after seeing Bentley perform for us.
Bentley was to be our first flying bird of prey. She would fly away from us and then come swooping back. The good news (for me) was that she fly relatively slowly and her flight path was pretty predictable.