Had an enjoyable Bank Holiday Monday visiting the Secret World (http://www.secretworld.org ) wildlife rescue centre with the children. Raining all day, but spirits not dampened and the children loved seeing the baby squirrels, harvest mice, bees in the glass walled hive and badgers sleeping in the observation set. Also saw a group of swifts being rehabilitated and it was very strange to see them floundering in a box with their almost functionless feet, when normally you only see them soaring with such confidence in the sky. Note: They suddenly seem to have gone from the sky, as do the swallows although the house martins are still wheeling about.
Talked to the various people in charge of the birds of prey and learned a few things. I hadn’t realised that owls could live for so long, the European Eagle owl can live to over 40, if I heard the man correctly. The juvenile kestrels cannot easily be sexed until their first moult when they’re about a year old after which the feathers grow back with their distinctive female warmth or recognizable male blue/grey head cowl. Terrific to see the birds so close and surprized at how small the tawny owl seemed when in the hand and rather dampened by the weather and how eager and sharp the little kestrel was, keen to jump off the glove, so slight and perfect.