Today, we head west, almost to the Coast – Pembrokeshire – for a day with the birds. It’s an hour and half drive, and we allow two and a half hours and still arrive five minutes late. Rush hour traffic out of Cardiff and into Swansea, and it’s raining. Difficult enough that Ed has to drive on the left, but the traffic is heavy. We only miss one roundabout exit, but it was tense the whole way.
The castle originated in the 13th century. Probably interesting, but we did not have time to visit. We flew seven different kinds of raptors on the grounds. The gardens are magnificent, insightfully and lovingly planted by someone around 1850. It was a joy to be in the midst of such amazing plant life.
The birds we flew: two Harris’s hawks (Zephyr and Malakai), a steppe eagle (name unknown), a turkey vulture (Gomez), a buzzard hawk (Busby), a tawny owl (Troy), a kestrel (Sapphire), a Brahminy kite (name unknown). It is a wonder to be so close to these birds and the have them land on your arm. The photos tell it all.
An unexpected pleasure was the Maria’s Café at the Castle. I expected a taco joint and instead had lovely food. I enjoyed a trio of salads, fig and beet being my favorite, Norah had salmon and leek quiche, Ed, blue cheese and leek quiche and a portabella mushroom stuffed with pine nuts sausage and cheese. All yummm, followed by Welsh cakes, sort of a sweet biscuit with currents and sultanas.
We completed our flights around five pm; our behinds were dragging. It was a long day in the outdoors, featuring strong winds in the afternoon. Because of the wind, we did fly three of the birds in the forest, the rest in the open fields. Drive home was uneventful – only missed one roundabout. We were safe and sound at Southwinds at seven pm.