Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Raptor domains, sea lion cities and pelican hordes

We started strong this morning with a visit to Raptor Domain, the birds of prey show!

The off-season advantage continues to pay dividends, as the 250-seat amphitheater was under capacity (with exactly six). Thus when the presenter sought a volunteer from the audience to hold a falcon, the competition was less than cutthroat.

The bird keepers were even able to produce a smaller glove and let T. have a go with an owl.

And because C. had gotten so many of the birds of prey trivia answers correct, they accommodated her dream request: a peregrine falcon, who doesn't usually do the shows.

After such a climax, we unwound with a walk down to the beach. Except that this was a walk down to the beach with a naturalist to watch the sea lions returning to their warrens in the dunes after three days at sea.

By the afternoon we had crashed from overstimulation, along with irritation from the electronic squawking of the inevitable stuffed peregrine falcon toy from the backseat.

The perfect evening pick-me-up on Kangaroo Island, it turns out, is the nightly pelican feeding on the dock. These things are much bigger than you think, and deeply strange looking. When they all move their giant scoop-shaped heads at exactly the same time toward the fish in the amiable man's hand, well, it takes your mind off things.

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