Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Our visit to the Hawk Conservancy Trust

Black Kite (5) resized

At the end of last week, Lorraine and I were invited to visit Ashley Smith, Chief Executive of the Hawk Conservancy near Andover. We were lucky enough to not only have time one-on-one with Ashley but to witness his incredible Bird of Prey display. The photo on the right shows a rare Black Kite in flight above us during the display.

The Hawk Conservancy Trust is a UK registered charity whose mission is the conservation of Birds of Prey. It has won many awards for both its conservation work and as a visitor attraction, including the National Tourism Award in 2002.

Vultures overhead (2) resized

Currently involved in vulture restoration projects in both Asia and Southern Africa, Ashley has recently returned from a trip to South Africa where he and his team were involved in fitting miniature satellite tracking devices to rare, endangered vultures. The image left shows a few of the Trust’s own vultures swooping low over an entranced audience during Ashley’s captivating display.

Vulture Head (resized)

As Ashley explained, the vulture is the most crucial avian scavenger in the world, and plays a very important part in maintaining the health and beauty of our environment. Unfortunately these incredible creatures are much maligned world-over and many species now face extinction as a result of being hunted and poisoned.

African Fish Eagle (2) resized

In addition to Black Kites and Vultures, the display included a magnificent African Fish Eagle – pictured left and below - involved in a display to show how birds of prey hunted alongside their human handlers in years gone by. The African Fish Eagle has a striking beauty and haunting cry that are symbolic of the waterways and wild wetlands of sub-Saharan Africa.

African Fish Eagle (resized) & Autumn leaves

Right - this year’s magnificent Autumn colours of burnished gold and rust further enhanced our experience of the display!

We look forward to welcoming Ashley and his Team to Seaview Wildlife Encounter – hopefully in the coming year – to share not only in the beauty of our Park –but all being well to be part of our forthcoming 40th Anniversary celebrations in 2011!

No comments:

Post a Comment