Saturday, 31 August 2013

Falconry at Carsibrook Castle

This post takes us back at Carisbrooke Castle where last time I showed you the Jousting (see Tuesday 27 August), however I am going to show you the Falconry display this time.  I only have a very short video at the end as the bird and his master never stopped moving so I decided stills were the wisest option.  He flew the Hawk first and then you will see the Peregrine being flown.

 The lady is red did all the commentary and she explained that these were totally wild birds and could not be fully trained.  This became very evident when the Peregrine decided not to return but look for his own food.   The master had to go up on a hill eventually and swing the lure and eventually he came closer and closer.  

This is a lure.  It is an object used in falconry, usually made of leather with a pair of bird wings or feathers attached.  A Falconer swings the lure round and round on a cord for the falcon to chase for exercise.  A lure also may be used as an object to train the falcon to retrieve.

This is the Peregrine Falcon.  

The peregrine falcon is arguably the fastest bird in the sky. Its streamlined body, powerful muscles and swept-back wing shape are perfect for fast flight.
During level flight, with motion generated by wing-beats alone, they can reach speeds between 40-60 mph. This is one of the fastest known speeds for level flight with only a few species of duck, wader and pigeon known to reach similar speeds in comparable flight.

Most species of wild bird will have many different flying styles which they use in different situations. Birds will reach different speeds during these different flight styles. Migrating birds will often have a fast and steady rhythm, often using the wind to assist them. General flight will be more pedestrian whilst display flights and predator prey interactions can result in short sharp bursts of fast flight. It is during aerial pursuit where extremely fast speeds are reached by both predator and prey and this is where the peregrine is in a league of its own.
Birds of prey often use a controlled dive known as a stoop whilst hunting. This hunting technique is amongst the most spectacular of wildlife behaviour across the animal kingdom.

The actual speed that a peregrine reaches in a stoop will be effected by the wind speed and duration of the dive, which will vary in every situation. Because of these variables there is not a confirmed top speed however it is thought that it is possible for a peregrine in ideal conditions to reach speeds of up to 200 mph which is phenomenal.
The forces that the peregrine is exposed to during a stoop are mind boggling. What makes it even more fascinating is that at the end of the stoop, this unique raptor is still able to deliver a controlled blow and to carry away the unfortunate victim.

All the birds below were at the masters tent and he said he would be flying one of the Owls in the afternoon, however we did not stay to see that as it was so hot and we were both dying of heat exhaustion!!


I hope you enjoyed coming with me to see these beautiful birds.  It is not often you can see them at close quarters and to see them in action.

The very short video can be accessed at

If there is a black space below, click it and the video will appear.

Thank you for visiting and I hope you will return soon.

I am linking up with The Bird D'Port

Friday, 30 August 2013


 For this post, I am going back to the day Sharon arrived from Northern Ireland and  also to tell you a  little about Appley Tower (requested by another blogger).  This sign was up on a little cafe just overlooking the Appley beach. 

This is the view from the table I was sitting at and you can see Appley Tower in the middle of the shot.  Appley tower is situated East of Ryde and can only really be qualified as an interesting curiosity and conversation piece.  It was originally part of the Appley Towers estate being the seat of the Hutt family and latterly of that of Sir Hedworth Williamson.

 The estate is no longer there.  It is right on the water's edge and at the headland.  Appley Tower It is the only survivor of the estate today.   It is Grade 2 listed building, early to mid C19.  

It has a fairly squat tower of coursed rubble with ashlar dressings. Splayed base, machicollation and crenellatedparapet, corbelled turret with slit lights.  Towards the sea, there is a rectangular stone bay window with inclined face, on stone brackets.  Hipped tiled roof over with overhanging bracketed eaves. Stone steps with rubble parapet curve up from East side to asmall terrace in front of rectangular entrance bay facing South. Four centred arch to blocked door in ashlar surround. 

Above on wall a plaque with the Appley Arms. Below terrace, on ground floor, another 4 centred doorway in plain ashlar surround.

Local legend claims that this Victorian gothic construction was erected for the amusement of Mary of Teck who married King George V. Her previous fiance, George's elder brother Albert Victor, died shortly after their engagement aged twenty-eight and Mary, perhaps unwilling to let the crown of England escape her, married George as the next heir. 

Finding Osborne House tiresome she often escaped to Appley Towers while her husband was busy sailing. Unsurprisingly this gave rise to speculation as to her relationship with the owner.

While waiting for Sharon to arrive at the ferry terminal at the end of the pier, I saw Black headed Gulls and these 2 Little Egrets.

 Before Sharon's ferry arrived, the Hoovercraft came in, right up the sand.  I have a short video at the end regarding this and the pier's train.

At last, Sharon's Ferry arrived and Sharon was all smiles as she set foot on the Isle of Wight for the first titme.

Later that evening, we took a walk and these 2 photographs were the sunset.

This was a moon that evening.

The short video can be accessed at

If there is a black space below,click it and the video will appear.

Thank you for visiting and I hope you will visit again soon.
Thanks to all bloggers with answer to my unknowns and corrections especially to Trevor from The Herald who has helped and encouraged me a lot.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Butterflies etc on the Isle Of Wight

I had my orders (from some bloggers!) when coming on holidays to the I.O.W to look out for different Butterflies etc than I see at home in Northern Ireland.  This I have done and have tried to name most of them.  Any corrections will be most welcome and helpful to me.

Emerald Damselfly - Common Spreadwing
Emerald Damselfly close up
Migrant Hawker
Migrant Hawker close up
Water Ladybird (anisosticta 19-punctta) it can have anything from 15 to 21 spots and changes colour from orange/red (summer) to off White (winter).
Common Blue underside female
Lesser Marsh Grasshopper (chothippus albomarginatus)
Green-veined Butterfly on Verbena bonariensis
Holly Blue
Holly Blue
Large White female
Large White female
Large White male
Red Admiral
Ruddy Darter
Ruddy Darter mating
Small Copper
Small Copper
Speckled Wood
Speckled Wood
Speckled Wood
Wall Brown
Wall Brown
Ladybird Pupae (poss. a 7 spot or a Harlequin Ladybird)

This is a short video taken of white butterflies and can be accessed at

If there is a black space below, click it and the video will appear.

Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoyed seeing the insects I saw on the Isle of Wight.