Saturday May 15th 2010
I’ve had my first sighting of the Great Grey Owlets this week. Vicky brought to my attention the fact that the female had left the nest, and the owlets were on plain view on the cameras. This allowed us to confirm that she has 4 owlets. Anybody lucky enough to have been watching the webcams on our website, will have been lucky enough to see them. We can also confirm that we have 3 Tropical Screech Owlets in the Breeding Ground.
For myself, the big happening this week, has been the trip to the BBC in Manchester. I accompanied Andy to a meeting at the BBC about the BBC Wildlife Fund. The BBC set this charity up a few years ago as a way of raising funds for worthy wildlife conservation projects. Setting up our stall at this meeting was our way of letting the BBC know we are a worthy cause.
The journey in was quite uneventful, except for the eccentric route planner which had been downloaded from the internet. I’m sure there's an underlying cautionary tale to be found there!
We set up alongside a Bat monitoring group and a group involved with indigenous reptiles and amphibians. We were met by Jools, the lady who had organised the event, and whose acquaintance I am sure will be of mutual benefit, as it facilitated for some useful networking by Andy. I myself was allowing ‘Sparky’ the Barn Owl to do what he does best, i.e. ‘steal the show’, as by having close contact with him, the many ‘urbanites’ who inhabit large cities like Manchester, could have a genuine wildlife encounter, possibly for the first time in their lives.
It was after the meeting that things got ‘slightly surreal’. On our way in, we noted that there was a guitar shop just round the corner from the BBC. Andy needed to visit a music shop, and because of our geographically isolated location, just had to use the golden opportunity which had here presented itself.
We entered the shop, and had a quick ‘ogle’ at what we couldn’t afford, before concluding the business on which pretext we had entered the shop. We were still wearing our BBC passes, which aroused a bit of interest. The proprietor asking us what had been doing at the BBC. Andy told him about our visit, which, again, aroused some interest. I asked Andy if he was ready to go, to which he replied; ‘Shall we have another look at the guitars before we go?’
I didn’t need much encouragement, so we had another look. I saw Andy looking at the acoustics, and I pointed him to a guitar model which I had purchased 20 years ago. It was love at first sight! Andy noted the price, which was very reasonable. We are about to walk away, when Andy says ‘I really like that guitar’.
The proprietor in the meantime has come along, enquiring about the the owl we have taken to the BBC. He quite wistfully expressed his desire to see the owl.
I ‘ummed ’n arred’ for a bit, meanwhile, Andy is wistfully beholding ‘his heart’s desire’, and then a ‘light bulb’, (albeit a low wattage bulb), went on in my head.
I said to Andy; ‘Ask him if we will get a discount if he can see ‘Sparky’. The proprietor said he would give us a 20% discount, or words to that effect. Andy accepted with alacrity , and is now the proud owner of a new guitar. Sparky brought the whole shop and the taxi rank on the street outside to a halt.
Quite a few pictures were taken, before we set off back home. Incidentally, we managed to get hopelessly lost in our effort to escape Manchester, and ended up in some of the less salubrious neighbourhoods; places where it is best , if memory serves me correctly, to keep a low profile, but where we were driving around in a large silver shiny van, with big eyes on the back of it! We did manage to escape eventually, and crept our way through the traffic jams all the way up the M6, back to the relative peace of the Lake District.
I will leave you with a picture of our Long-eared Owl plus Owlets, as well as one of our new arrivals this week, a Eurasian Scops Owl.
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