Matty the Eagle Owl
For a fascinating day out, very few things come close to flying birds of prey out in the campo and learning about the history of your surroundings.
Lawrence and Matilda run a bird of prey experience called Cortijo Búho near Benamaurel. All the birds have either been rescued or have been bred and trained from chicks as young as 25 days old. Lawrence has been a Falconer his entire working life, starting off his four-year apprentice in his teens.
Much more information about what they do and what is on offer can be found here on their website – but in short they organise opportunities to meet and fly the birds, along with incredible lunches to follow. They organise local walks with the birds and an opportunity to hunt with them, or just fly if you prefer, as well as a host of other wonderful service from event catering, hand-made jewellery and home-grown produce a plenty.
Today was a new venture and one I had been looking forward for sometime – an opportunity to walk out with the birds.
My son and I drove over to their Cortijo for around midday. We joined another couple who had come as far as the Albox area. We are all introduced to the birds, again, for more information their website gives more in-depth information about each bird, today we took out two Barn Owls, Matty the European Eagle owl and the race tuned Harris Hawk.
Once introduced, given gloves and given instruction on some basic handling, off we went. For anyone, like me, who is/was concerned that you have a powerful hunter with sharp claws on your arm, let me reassure you…All the birds are both exceptionally well-trained and disciplined. As such, they are most comfortable on your glove and more importantly, do not see you as any threat or their next lunch.
So you can relax with a beautiful bird on your arm and apart from when I am with Tanya, there are very few occasions I can say that these days.
We take a leisurely walk of just under 5kms and learn a lot about the very local history of not only the immediate area, but also of individual buildings and their importance to the surrounding area. We learn about the local geology and walk through a managed forest and rest in the shade with water/soft drinks and beers provided.
From our resting point we have a half an hour walk back to our starting point – their cave, which itself alone is a story worth listening to and its importance to the local area, but that is for Lawrence and Matilda to share with you.
Back at base the birds are rested while we were provided with the most incredible lunch. All freshly prepared this morning, we had Chicken and Fennel Quiche with a fresh tomato salad and home-baked croutons with garlic, alongside a fresh garden salad picked from the garden and an amazing potato salad. If that was not enough, we had marinated chicken and perfect pasties alongside the drinks of your choice.
If I was not feeling guilty enough at this point because Tanya was on the school pick up, Osher and I tucked into a fresh fruit and pastry pudding with fresh cream. Here is a picture, because my description does not do it justice!
This is a great day out, and as word gets out, a very popular day out. Early booking is important, so make sure you try to book in plenty of time so not to miss out – we will be recommending it to all our guests and friends that stay because this is a truly unique experience.
Just before we left we met their most recent addition – Mystic, the White Faced Scops Owlet – only 45 days old and just to melt everyone’s heart here is a short video of Mystic.
To try to sum the afternoon up, the whole experience feels like you are doing something you really should not be allowed to do because it is so unique and special. I am sure everyone walks away, like us, feeling very lucky to have had an amazing experience, with such fantastic hosts and an incredible lunch.
My last tip for your day? Turn right out of the drive…Not left.