Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Birds Eye View of the Burren

You saw my entry about Tues and Wednesday for the castles and costumes and on Thursday we went to the movies in Galway to see Cars 2 (both kids had seen but Josh and I had not) since it was rainy, really the first day for the rain to affect what we were going to do for the day.  On Friday it was a decent day out and we didn't want to drive too far so we decided to go to the Burren Birds of Prey. 
View from the top of one of the Burren hills towards the Atlantic

Zoomed in shot of the same

We had hoped to do a Hawk Walk that they advertised where you actually went on a nature walk with the hawks and released and called them back while you were walking.  But apparently you need to book that in advance and given we were leaving the next day, that wasn't going to happen much to Aidan's disappointment. 

So we took some time to walk around the 30 or so birds that they had and learned about where they were from, what they liked to eat (and learned that they tend to be very particular about whether that food is captured alive or dead) and more. 

One of the handlers with a Harris Hawk

Another Harris Hawk


Happy kid

Aidan's first comment... "Mom, it's the Harry Potter owl!"


We had about 30 mins to kill after looking at the birds before going to the show where they would fly some of them around so we went to the little country store they had near the bird building.  And yum!  They had cheeses and homemade fudge (anyone who knows me knows I'm a sucker for homemade fudge!) and smoothies.  We grabbed a few things and hung around outside til it was time to go in for the show.
Snacking on a giant stone table

The show was much better than I anticipated.  Most shows I've been to with birds, the birds maybe fly a few feet or not at all.  This show started off with a bird coming from down off the mountain ahead of us and flying into the arena.  What an entrance!!  For the entrance check out this link: 

They had an eagle (not the "traditional" kind that represents the USA but a local one), an owl and a falcon that all did their thing.  All in all it was a very interesting show where we learned a lot and really enjoyed the performance.  Aidan was especially fascinated by the falcon swooping down on the target the guide set out for her and learning about how fast these birds are!!

Eagle perched on the tower

Damn this guy for getting into my shot

The owl - at least that guy wasn't in my shot this time!

Guide telling the owl where to go... owl looks like he could care less.  Trainer actually told us that the owls are very hard to train and that this one had been at the center for years and only weeks ago would agree to go up to the towers.

Aidan really loved watching the falcon doing here thing.  The trainer told us this was a tough day for her because she had to flap her wings more than normal - apparently she normally uses the wind so that she doesn't have to exert herself as much.  It was interesting to find out that some of these birds are lazier than expected - he said that if given the choice they would sit around all day rather than fly!

To watch the falcon chasing her prey click here: 

The falcon catches her "prey"

At the end of the show we decided to go on a small nature walk that normally would take us to the caves in the same area (but both boys didn't want to do yet another cave). Liam loved his "secret" trails that he would take with Josh which were just the unpaved yet pretty obvious trails. He kept calling Aidan and I from his secret spots!

A mysterious teepee in the woods

Liam must touch it!

Ahhh nature!

Liam on one of his "secret" pathways

Liam and daddy on their trail 

That's a really low tide!!  This was actually taken the day before but I had no entry for that day

View as we were driving!

We're in Killarney now and I'm hoping to do a post or two while we are here but so far it's been raining, not a great start.  I do know that I love how beautiful this town is, absolutely gorgeous!  While Fanore was beautiful in it's own way, it's a village and you need to drive 45 mins to the grocery store... this is a town and it's beyond stunning and the views of the Killarney National Park from our hotel are breathtaking.  Stay tuned!


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