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Monday, 17 May 2010

Owls and other birds of prey

Linda and I took another of our Saturday jaunts to the Clyde valley yesterday.  It wasn’t the best of days with some showers around, but that wasn’t going to stop us from visiting a garden centre or two.  Clyde valley is a very fertile area and plants have been nurtured along the valley for many a long year, as old brick chimneys dotted along the roadside behind wild hedgerows will testify.

Garden centres, displaying and selling shrubs, herbaceous plants, alpines, roses, trees, etc. have replaced the old nursery gardens and are big business.  They sell anything and everything for your garden, from hoses and tools to sun loungers, patio sets and chimeneas for a cool evening.  Cafes, tearooms, even restaurants also attract the customers in, and we were no exception.  We had a nice lunch at the Silverbirch before spending a good while wandering round the displays of flowering plants, evergreens and climbers,  not to mention the collections of garden ornaments, colourful flower pots of varying sizes, sacks of earth and peat, fencing, paving slabs, baskets and pots of plant arrangements, garden fountains and water features!  We packed a trolley full of  plants, a couple of tubs of chicken manure pellets, and for me, a beautiful earthenware pot glazed with blue  slip and decorated with an embossed border around the rim. 

Once all was paid for and packed into the car, we drove a bit further along the valley, following the river, to the next garden centre, a much bigger affair, where a cup of tea was what we craved!  At the rear of this garden centre a birds of prey display area has been set up, so quite refreshed we set off in search of it.  Well, are these birds magnificent or what!  clyde valley barn owl Barn owls have always been a favourite of mine  amongst the  birds of preyclyde valley tawny owl2

 

 

 

 

 

 clyde valley tawny owl but the tawny owl won my heart yesterday. 

clyde valley little owl2 There was a Little Owl, only about 6 inches tall, 

 

 

 

clyde valley eagle owlan eagle owl about 4 times that height, and various hawks , falcons and buzzards.  clyde valley Bo I didn’t note all their names and which belonged to who, but if you are at all interested I’m sure you’ll be able to find them on the internet. clyde valley BoPI’ll just show you the pictures for your admiration!  We could hardly drag ourselves away.

clyde valley BoP2

 

 

 

 

Those eyes look soulful but I bet that beak can do some damage to its unsuspecting prey.

clyde valley BoP3

clyde valley BoP5

clyde valley BoP4

 

 

 

 

 

clyde valley baby owls

And then we were introduced to the fledglings, in fact, not even that, as they’re not quite at the flying stage yet.  At about 3 and 4 weeks old these two baby owls are being hand reared and despite being of different owl types they consider themselves to be siblings.  Here, the slightly bigger Sooty Barn Owl is preening his littler pal, and below right, Sooty is having a yawn, not squawking, or preparing to take a bite out of my finger.clyde valley baby sooty barn owl3

 clyde valley baby owl

 

 

 

 

 

Despite Sooty’s hissing, which actually meant I’m hungry, rather than Leave me alone, both birds were quite happy to be stroked, and we were quite happy to oblige.clyde valley linda and baby owl Here’s Linda saying hello, and making friends! They are fed every hour on “anything with fur or feathers”, according to their handler, but we didn’t really fancy waiting around for teatime.

Instead, after a last look at the birds, we made our way back through the covered  garden display area, admiring the varieties of plants, and almost keeping our hands in our pockets!  Suffice to say, we did have  to stop off at the checkout – and no, we weren’t really laden, just three small-ish plants between us this time!

So, time to go home.  We had met in Biggar, where I would go one way and Linda another, so there we transferred plants from my car to hers, and each of us set off with intentions of spending the evening in our respective gardens!

Talk again soon!

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