The Thorp Perrow Bird of Prey Centre, housing eagles, falcons, hawks, vultures and owls and giving flying displays and demonstrations 3 times daily.
The buzzard (buteo buteo) has become much more widespread in the UK over the past twenty years. Once, a feature of a Welsh holiday was to see buzzards flying. Now, I regularly spot them around Derbyshire.
The main species in the UK is the Common Buzzard. I'm almost sure that this bird was a Jackal Buzzard, from Southern Africa. He would fly in to collect small lumps of meat from the glove and then settled on a suitable perch to wait for more to be offered. After a while, volunteers began to go up to offer the food. As you can probably guess, I wasn't slow in going forward. Amazing feeling to hold such a beautiful bird!
The second star of the show was this Eagle Owl with his beautiful mottled plumage, huge round eyes and massive clawed feet!
Mainly nocturnal, these birds have amazing eyesight which allows them to spot their prey. They then glide in on silent wings to take their dinner unawares. With closed eyes, the sound of the owl's flight was almost imperceptible; just a quiet thunk as the post shifted on take off and then nothing until feeling a slight draft as he flew past. Who'd want to be a small mammal?
There was one more bird to be introduced, but I'll save him 'til next time.