Falconry

A few months ago, HTC and O2 held an event for bloggers in Edinburgh. I went along to find out about some of the new HTC phones. They kindly lent me an HTC Rhyme and gave me a voucher for a fun day out. I’ve always liked birds of prey and decided falconry would be a great thing to do. Unfortunately the Scottish Summer has mostly been wet and windy – not conditions raptors fly in. After being rescheduled several times, I finally got to have a go at the weekend.

Harris Hawk

The HTC Rhyme has great sat nav, once I’d convinced it to direct me the way I wanted (it wanted to take a cunning shortcut and I wanted to go round the bypass), I set off. Never having used sat nav before (boyfriends are so much more convenient), I was a bit nervous. It worked really well though, the big screen means that if I was unsure, I could glance and see what the upcoming junction looked like. An hour and a half later, I pulled into the car park and met up with my falconry instructor, Stewart of RaptorWorld.

In the morning, I was the only person being instructed. We had a walk up the hill with Orkney, a Harris Hawk and Stewart told me about falconry. I was surprised how light Orkney was, and she seemed happy enough for me to hold her. A good job really, with a sharp beak and talons, I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of her! The HTC Rhyme’s camera struggled a bit under the trees in the gloom. I practised flying her and calling her back, then we went back to the hotel for lunch. I was slightly demoralised to see that despite being in a Scottish Glen, I had a signal so the rain alarm app could tell me we would probably get rained on again.

Harris HawkAfter lunch, another four people turned up for the afternoon session. This time we were going further afield, up into the Glens. We took it in turns to carry and fly the hawks (Orkney had been joined by Fidget) and even got the chance to see them hunt. Orkney seemed quite content to follow along with us or be carried, Fidget on the other hand just wanted to kill things! She got a vole at one point but didn’t manage to catch any rabbits. Having two hawks between five people was a good number and meant I had my hands free to do a bit of filming. It turns out it is possible to hold and photograph a Harris Hawk at the same time – even using my right hand (I’m left-handed). I would have felt a bit more confident with a wrist-strap but luckily managed not to drop the Rhyme in any bogs.

I had a great day with the hawks and am glad I had the HTC Rhyme to take photos and videos. I normally prefer my DSLR but there is no way I could have taken photos while holding a Harris Hawk. The only problem now is that I want a Harris Hawk (and a Scottish mountain to fly it on).

For more photos, click here. Below is a short video of Orkney in action.

Falconry from Ruth Harrison on Vimeo.

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