Thursday, July 10, 2014

Harewood House: Stable Yard and Bird Exhibit

In addition to the playground, Harewood House has the (standard for an English manor house) converted stable yard that is now a restaurant, gift shop, and maybe something else. The courtyard (as it is now called) still has the fancy entrance and mounting block, but if visitors go through the restaurant they will find the something else, a bird exhibit.

Grand entrance

Mounting block

Restaurant tables

Before we saw the birds, we went down a garden path to the 1761 ice house. A large, egg-shaped pit was lined with bricks and a small building placed on top. In the winter, ice from the lake was chopped up and put in the pit. A straw covering separated layers and kept them cool. The ice, since it came from the lake, was not used for cooking (not clean enough) but was used for cooling foods and drinks. In the 1800s an ice house was built into the main house. By the 1900s, refrigeration was introduced and the ice houses went out of use.

Looking for the ice house

Ice house entrance

Looking into the void

It doesn't really look egg-shaped to me, but that's what the sign says

A sloping hill leads down to the lake. The hill has been transformed into a bird garden with a wide variety of fowl in cages and on the loose. Their colors go from brilliant to black. The kids loved seeing them.

Brilliant bathing bird

Black crow, a favorite of J's

J was fascinated by the above crow. He stared at it for a long time and tried talking to it for just as long. He never got a response but he imitated the crow quite a bit for the rest of the day.

The free-range birds were quite docile, though L suspected they might attack at any minute. Lucky for her they never did.

Free birds

J was also interested in this Temmick's Tragopan, the only bird for which I took a picture of the sign, and thus the only one whose name I remember!

Tragopan and J

Another free bird

The stars of the Harewood bird garden are the penguins. Feeding happens in the afternoon but we mistimed it and only saw them waddling around their pool.

Penguin pool

As close as I could get

After visiting the birds, we headed back to the car. The children were out of energy and had a nice nap on the way home from Harewood House.

Lawn to freedom

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