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Owl Evenings at ICBP Review

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Explore Gloucestershire couldn’t resist the opportunity to venture over to The International Centre for Birds of Prey at Newent for one of their special 'Winter Owl Evenings'. These are now on every Friday and Saturday evening in the weeks running up until Christmas.

Jemima Parry–Jones and her team, who recently returned to the Centre after a spell in America, greeted us at 6.30pm.

We were divided into two groups and set off for our torch-lit guided tour of the owl aviaries. Jemima is extremely knowledgeable on all the birds and was able to answer all questions put to her. She is also very witty and amusing and we all thoroughly enjoyed our tour. There is a huge selection of Owls at Newent, definitely more than we anticipated.

We returned to the café for a hog roast and a mulled wine. They do cater for veggies as well and there is also hot apple juice on offer.  (At this point I have to say that the mulled wine was one of the best I have ever tasted). So a nice warming session and then it was off to the education room where we had a talk and flying demonstration of the smaller owls. Owls do have an endearing quality about them and it was a great evening to get to know more about them.

The best part of the evening was saved until last when we had a flying demonstration from three owls in torchlight only - a Snowy Owl called Cool Ground, an Eagle Owl called Hemp and finally Oath, an Ural Owl. It was quite a sight as they swooped through an arch into the display area in an eerie light. The mood had been set and we were able to enjoy these amazing birds during their natural time of day. It made you feel quite privileged to be able to share it. (Watch our video of the Owl Evening below).

Jemima, Adam and Holly are very passionate about their birds and this is reflected throughout the whole evening. During the walk back through the darkened aviaries you did feel the urge to return during daylight hours to see the many other Birds of prey at the centre.

There was definitely a bit of a buzz in the car park as we returned home. We had all had a fantastic evening. Thanks Jemima. We will be back!!
Our recommendations:

  • Wrap up warm, preferably in waterproof clothing. You can’t let a bit of rain spoil a great evening and umbrellas are not an option.
  • Bring a torch and sensible shoes.
  • Don’t forget your camera for indoor shots. Night vision on video is also good as flashes are not a good idea outside and also detract from the enjoyment of others.

There are lots of opportunities to get close to the Birds at Newent and these are also available as gifts for friends and family - ideal for Christmas presents!

Explore Gloucestershire 
12 November 2009

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