I spent today at the UK Falconry & Hawking Event at the International Centre for Birds of Prey near Newent.
I’ve been to the Centre many times as it’s the perfect venue to sketch, photograph, enjoy the flying displays and generally learn more about birds of prey.
The Event was an added extra for this weekend. There were guest falconers, trade stands, seminars and some wildlife artists. It is the first year that this event has been staged, and that was reflected in the number of stands and visitors. Having said that, I admit I visited on the quieter of the two days, and I believe the intention is to keep this as one of the smaller falconry fairs.
The overall atmosphere was friendly and the lower visitor numbers gave plenty of opportunity for conversation between demonstrators and the public. I spent the whole day there, sketching, photographing, watching the demos and talking to the demonstrators.
Mostly the wildlife art was hyper-realistic, and almost exclusively birds of prey with a few game birds on display. Dutch artist Erna Goudbeek’s paintings were more painterly in style and the George Edward Lodge Trust had an excellent display relating to that master artist falconer. (See http://www.georgeedwardlodgetrust.co.uk/ for more info about his life and work.)
Sculpture was represented too, with a bronze Roe Buck Bust by Bill Prickett being particularly impressive.
I spent part of the day sketching a Goshawk. With so many species at the Centre it is always hard to choose which species to sketch, but Goshawks are so secretive in the wild it was an ideal opportunity to gain reference material.
I was very pleased to see too that there were Barbary Falcons and Egyptian Vultures at the Centre, both of which I need to depict for the Egypt project. I can see I’ll be spending more time at the Centre over the coming months.
All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable and productive day. I hope the UK Falconry & Hawking Event will return next year and if it does, I’ll be there.