April 2018 and we visited Cortijo Búho’s Bird of Prey Experience.
Not being seaside attractions kind of people: Kiss Me Quick Hats, Slot Machines and Benidorm Karaoke (you get the picture) we were very excited about this trip, particularly because it is only 20 minutes away from our cave.
Cortijo Búho is just outside Benamaurel, a reasonably large and typically rural Spanish village in cave house territory with quite possibly more bars than people. They run what they call a “Bird of Prey Experience” which is aimed at small groups and families, forget waiting around for 20 minutes for the people in front to get a move on so you can have a look in the next cage….. This is actually Really Quite Special !!!
We were booked in for the 12th April, It was a dull grey and cloudy day but it had at least given up raining.
On arrival we were greeted by a Mat and Lawrence who immediately invited us in to their fantastic Vaulted Cave House which dates from the 11th Century, I’ve yet to see two identical cave houses but this one is spectacular. We were given a rough itinerary as to what we should expect…. It Pretty Much went as follows: 1: Meet some Birds. 2: Have some Food. 3: Meet Some Birds. (I must stress here that this is nothing like meeting birds at a Benidorm Karaoke).
First of all we got to meet and handle the Barn Owls Molly and Magic, a lovely pair who quite happily demonstrated their silent indoor flying skills and their ability to chose who to land with, somewhat dependant on who had a little treat for them. Next up was Mystic a gorgeous 2 month old White Faced Scops Owl who has recently learned to fly but seemed to quite enjoy walking around on the table and being very attentive to anything that moved.
Time for Dinner……. WELL WOW ! Three Course Thai meal, created with organic produce from Mat and Lawrence’s own garden….. This was certainly one of the best meals I have had in Spain in the seven years I have been visiting. During dinner Mystic fell asleep on top of a candle but had to be woken up so she could be put away as it was time for Matty to arrive.
Matty is a young European Eagle Owl, Eagle Owls are really impressive to see and handle up close, their sheer size and power is really evident when you are nose to beak with one. Amazingly given her size and weight (2 metre wingspan and almost 6.5 kilos in weight) Matty was able to fly with total confidence inside the cave and land happily on the chiminea at the far end.
Lastly It is the turn of “Sasa” the Harris Hawk, again really impressive up close and a so obviously a true hunting bird.
Just to summarise:
Mat’s Cooking is second to none and the fact this unique experience is aimed at small parties means you won’t get forgotten and will get looked after superbly.
Lawrence is a total mine of information about these creatures and he loves to share his knowledge, we found ourselves totally immersed in the whole experience and time literally flew.
The Birds are exceptionally well cared for and are quite obviously part of the family as are the other animals you will almost certainly encounter (Dogs, Cats, Tortoises and even a newly acquired Pony).
Important: Due to this experience being set up for small groups Please Make sure you book in advance as you will not be able to just turn and expect to be fitted in.