Monday, May 23, 2016

Visit to the Eagle Park in Alsace, France

We went to into Alsace region of France. Again, la de dah, just hopping into another country which I’ve said time and again but still amazes me, especially because you step or drive into a different language, architecture and culture. 

Just waiting about to be part of the show.
Went on a Sunday with Christoph and his son to a raptor flying display. English is The Eagle Park. They fly many types of birds falcons, eagles, owls and many others. (I’ll warn you now I’m not going to name them all but one.) 

That beak!

It was a lifetime experience I can tell you! Wonderful how the handlers showed the unique talents of each type of bird.

That neck!

Beautiful feathers

Viewers were sat on benches in a square, the moderator spoke about each, there were handlers inside and outside the square. Birds landed on a rocky ridge or on outposts attached to the castle ruins. To interact with the audience they had people sit on the gravel and have a large bird walk across their legs (must have clipped it’s talons). Children were given a gauntlet and birds flew to their arm. All of these feats, not tricks, but their natural talents, were helped along by bits of food taken from the handlers.

Oh, haven’t mentioned that yet, this whole facility is housed in castle ruins built with red sandstone, called Chateau de Kintzheim, lovely in itself.

Cloudy day doesn't show the rich colour of the stone.

I had to use the WC so walked back and found many of the cages, many owls which were huge and falcons, not so. 

There was a bird none of us had ever seen before called a Secretary, long legs anyway I’ll look for a link if my picture doesn’t show it justice, didn’t, they are quite rare and like to stomp on snakes for eating, yuck, but it was a unique bird in our experience. do scroll down on the link to see the head feathers, like quills for pens.

Coming back from the WC a large owl flew over my head about a meter above me, wing span incredible. In fact the wing spans on many of the birds were a sight, showing all the multi-coloured feathers on them. Since I don't do well with action pictures I failed to get a good one, but not for lack of trying...

Wing span

Picture of the entry sign

An absolutely unique experience for us! A recommend to anyone visiting Freiburg, it’s not advertised in Germany, to be expected I suppose. There are two more falconries in Germany close by. One is stationed in Waldkirch but doesn’t stay there until mid-June, the fellow travels with his birds over the country on weekends, a one man show. The other is in Steinen and it is a touristic type place, zoo really but they do have many birds and do a couple of shows a day. 

Driving back we went through the pretty town of Selestat, you can read about it’s importance here. (don't know why this link looks like it does but it works)

Countryside now, spargel, white asparagus, still in the fields under long wormlike rows of plastic. Didn’t see any strawberries but they are in season now. Lots of red poppies on the berms. Everything is really green in all hues and lovely to see. Also saw a beer stein modelled from two round bales of hay and two square ones for the handle, inventive! 

The area we were in is flat and there are kilometres of biking trails. We know people in our building that ride them, doing a 50 or more kilometre ride in a day. They do stop for beers and lunch of course. 

Cheers, Bx2 and Lexi Cat

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