On Friday I found myself in the beautiful surroundings of Doneraile Park in Cork. The weather was fresh (but cold), daffodils were beginning to bloom and Spring was in the air. I was preparing for a wedding so I was exploring the park to find the best locations to take photographs. After about an hour I took a break in the newly opened Tea Rooms and enjoyed a refreshing (and warm!) coffee. Not only is it a lovely, relaxing place to take a break but the staff are friendly and generous too.
Afterwards I was making my way back to the car park when I met Pat taking his pet owl Solomon for a walk. (Or should that be taking it for a fly?!) I had a great chat with Pat about falconry and his love of Solomon (and birds in general) was obvious. It’s great to talk to people about something they are passionate about. Enthusiasm is contagious.
Pat told me that Solomon is a very placid creature and that he lives in the house with Pat and his wife. They have a spiral staircase and Solomon often flies upstairs and is waiting in the bed for them at night! Solomon is obviously used to having his photo taken. Each time I raised my camera he turned his head 180 degrees so he was facing away from me. Even though I wasn’t using any flash, he has associated an annoying bright flash of light with photography. Even though Solomon looks small when he’s just sitting there, his wingspan is huge. Pat had him sitting on the ground and called him onto his arm. The speed was incredible! I checked the timing data of my photographs and Solomon went from sitting on the ground, flying up, tucking his wings back in and sitting on Pat’s arm in TWO SECONDS! Here’s a slowed down animation of it: Impressive, huh?