Rediscovering Ireland: Eagles Flying, Ballymote.

From graveyards to wildlife. My next post brings us to the beautiful Eagles Flying Centre, a sanctuary for Birds of Prey and Owls. The sanctuary, located amid the beautiful landscape of North-West Ireland, is one of the biggest centres for Birds of Prey and Owls in the country. The centre, which is run by Zoologist Lothar F. Muschketat, is very different from anything I had ever experienced before. Not only is the focus of the centre on educating people about these glorious species but, also, they have a hospital and rehabilitation centre where they dedicate their time to healing injured birds from around the country.

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Eagles flying is situated on 27 hectares of land. As you make your way around the grounds you really feel like you´re in another world. There are some donkeys, peacocks, hens, pigs, goats, rams, dogs, cats, and ferrets – to name but a few animals, roaming freely in their well-kept habitats. It´s so refreshing to see animals being allowed to wander freely; such a change to all the zoos that I have been to before. Somehow, whenever I go to a zoo, I instantly free sad. Seeing those beautiful animals caged up just feels wrong to me. However, the atmosphere here is completely different. The animals are lively, friendly and uninhibited by human contact. In fact, some of the animals, come running up to you as soon as they see you, which, in my mind anyway, shows just how well looked after they are when they are not afraid or threatened by humans.

How big is that pig?! Goose

The whole experience was a fun one. I was lucky enough to go with a friend and her godson. I say lucky because the staff are fantastic to young children. They were bubbly, full of chat and made the children feel so at ease around the birds and animals which, considering the size of some of the birds, is not an easy task. One of the staff members, who found out about my fear of mice through my friend, even tried to help me get over my fear. However, unlike with the children, he failed to put me at ease! But, hey, at least he tried, right? It´s not his fault I´m a lost cause!

Shortly after we arrived the interactive flying show started. The show itself was overseen by the knowledgeable and humorous  Zoologist Lothar F. Muschketat. I have to say that I loved every minute of the show. The main stars of the show were Eagles, Hawks, Falcons, Vultures and Owls. All of  the birds delighted in the act of swooping over your head or, in some cases, landing next to you to say hello. During the show each bird has a moment in the spot light. And, while the birds themselves focus their attention on wowing the audience with their grace and beauty, Lothar provides the audience with detailed information about each bird including their unique hunting and flying skills. One fact that I took away with me is that birds only fly for three reasons: the first one ( quite obvious) is to get from A to B, the second is when they want food and the third is when another bird is attempting to eat them. The rest of the time the birds remain happily perched on branches watching the world go by. While this is actually logical – common sense, really,  I had never taken the time to think about it.

After the show it was time to head to the petting zoo. Which, if I´m honest, was one of my favourite parts. Seeing how excited the children were as they got to play with rabbits, with mice, with sheep and have real piggy backs on the humongous pig was just priceless. At one point Lothar even brought out a snake for the children, and me (the biggest child),to play with. He was so patient with the children, teaching them how to stroke the snake, how to behave around the snake and telling them all about the dangers of being around snakes. He was fantastic. Even when one of the younger kids thought it would be a good idea to run and jump beside the snake Lothar remained calm and just explained the danger of the child´s actions. They did think I was a bit different though;having a fear of mice but yet being able to hold and play with a snake. However, once I quickly explained that any animal that eats mice is a friend of mine, they laughed and saw the funny side of my illogical fear.

All in all, it was a memorable experience. So many things stuck out for me while I wandered through the centre. It was great to see how at peace the animals and birds were in their home, how much freedom they had to roam about, how friendly the staff were and how much time and dedication they gave to each of the animals. It´s an experience I would most certainly repeat again. It´s something that I feel would provide you with a different experience each time you go because, as we all know only too well, animals and birds are spontaneous so each visit would be unique.

If you would like some more detailed information on the sanctuary then feel free to click here to be brought to their website.

That´s it for today´s post. I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventure. Stay tuned for tomorrow´s post.

Just a quick little note before I go. I have just managed to be featured on Expats Blog, a site which brings the expat community together, and I need your help.
My link is lacking some comments. If you have the time, and you enjoy my blog, please go to this site, vote for my blog and leave a little comment. It will only take a minute and I would really appreciate the support. Thanks very much.
http://www.expatsblog.com/blogs/6591/chasing-butterflies-sunshine-and-freedom

Hope you all are having a great day.

Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo

Travel theme: Statues

So, it´s that time of the week again: time for Ailsa´s travel theme. This week the theme, if you hadn´t already guessed from the title, is statues. I have to admit that I found this weeks challenge a little more difficult than I had anticipated. I spent hours going through the copious amounts of photos I have accumulated over the last few years and, to my amazement, very few of them were of statues.

The vast majority of my photos are of street life or fashion. I seem to just love capturing moments as they unfold before me. I just get caught up in the beauty of life, flaws and all, and, I have to admit, I love aging beauty: the older the better. To me age is beauty; whether it´s a dilapidated old building which is bursting at the seams with history or an older person who, through the wrinkles on their face, you can tell has a story to share. I guess what I´m trying to say is that I find everyday life more intriguing than still life.

That said, I did manage to dig up some statues for this week´s theme. Each one of them coming from Cartagena in Spain. It´s funny, if you read my post on Cartagena, you may recall that I found Cartagena to be a bit of a let down. While I enjoyed my trip there; I found it lacked the usual charm that Spanish cities are filled with. However, I must have loved the statues there as I took quite a few photos of them during my trip.

So, all that remains now is to share them with you. I hope you enjoy my humble offerings to this week´s theme.

If you would like to get involved in Ailsa´s travel theme challenges then here is all the information you need:

If you would like to join in (everyone’s welcome!) here’s what to do:
•Create your own post and title it Travel theme: statues
•Include a link to Ailsa´s page in your post so others can find it too
•Get your post in by next Thursday, as the new travel theme comes out on Friday
•Don’t forget to subscribe to her page to keep up to date on the latest weekly travel themes.

If you would like to see some more of this week´s offerings then check out the links below.
http://geriatrixfotogallerie.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/palacio-de-mateusportugal
http://esengasvoice.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/travel-theme-statues/
Wave To The Mermaid!

Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo

Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life

If your read my post yesterday, Photowalk: Alicante, you will know that I´ve rekindled my love for photography. As I mentioned: I´m not particularly talented or anything, I just enjoy the experience of taking photos.

During the Photowalk through the streets of Alicante on Saturday I became very snap happy indeed, taking near to three hundred photos – as I said : snap happy. In yesterday´s post I  shared a mere 50 photos out of this vast quantity but, when I saw this weeks photo challenge, I was inspired to share a few more!

With that said, in keeping with the theme street life, here are a few more of the beauties I took on Saturday. I hope you have as much fun looking through them as I had while I was taking them!

So, there you have it, my humble entry into this weeks challenge. If you liked it, and would like to see some more, check out these entries:

1. http://dragoneystory.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/daily-post-weekly-photo-challenge-street-life/

2.http://chrisbreebaart.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/weekly-photo-challenge-street-life-oort-bridge/

3. http://shoot2blog.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/weekly-photo-challenge-street-life/

4. http://ledrakenoir.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/street-life/

5. http://myincatrailchallenge.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/weekly-photo-challenge-street-life/

Hope you all are having a great day.

Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel Theme: Pink.

So, as you might remember, if you think dare to think back to over a year ago, I got involved in Ailsa´s travel theme in September 2012. I loved the concept of this weekly challenge as it combined my three loves – writing, travel and photography. It also gave me the opportunity to interact with so many people who shared my passions. It was fantastic. Ailsa herself was very welcoming and encouraging, which is always so nice. Then, as we all know, life got in the way and sadly, after only two posts, I had to walk away from the challenge.

As I was scrolling through my reader on Monday morning I spotted this weeks challenge. There it was, staring at me ever so boldly, luring me in. Right there and then I vowed that no matter how chaotic my work week got I would find a way, somehow, to fit this weeks challenge in. So here I am, over a year later, finding the time to squeeze this weeks posts in. Let´s face it, doing this challenge is way more rewarding than correcting that pile of corrections sitting on my desk (don´t worry all corrections will get done, no one will suffer for the sake of my joy!)

This weeks challenge is designed to welcome in one of my favourite seasons: Spring. Spring has always been a season that has filled me with joy, apart from those nasty allergies that it brings with it, I love everything about Spring. I love how everything starts to come to live again. The sun is shining brightly, the flowers are dancing in an attempt to show off their amazingly vivid colours and there is a hum of happiness in the air as people take to the street again in celebration of the end of winter.

Ailsa made a great point in her post as she offered up this weeks theme: pink, “It’s a colour you either love or hate, but if you look closely, there’s an awful lot of it around.” And it´s true, the streets are filled with this vivacious colour, there´s no escaping it. So, here is my offering for this weeks challenge. Humble as it may be, I hope you enjoy it.

Welcome to Spring.
Welcome to Spring.
Welcome to Spring
Welcome to Spring
Welcome to Spring.
Welcome to Spring.
Welcome to Spring
Welcome to Spring
Welcome to Spring
Welcome to Spring
Welcome to Spring
Welcome to Spring

 

If you would like to get involved in Ailsa´s travel theme challenges then here is all the information you need:

If you would like to join in (everyone’s welcome!) here’s what to do:

  • Create your own post and title it Travel theme: Pink
  • Include a link to Ailsa´s page in your post so others can find it too
  • Get your post in by next Thursday, as the new travel theme comes out on Friday
  • Don’t forget to subscribe to her page to keep up to date on the latest weekly travel themes.

To check out some other entries, click on the links below:

http://pathsunwritten.com/2014/03/21/travel-theme-pink/

http://esengasvoice.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/travel-theme-pink/

Travel Theme: Pink

http://loganbruin.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/travel-theme-pink/

http://lagottocattleya.wordpress.com/2014/03/22/travel-theme-pink/

 

Thank you for reading and I will talk to you in my next post.

Giana xoxo