Saturday, 10 October 2009
Back home again, thank goodness, every time I leave I regret having said I would go somewhere, I guess its because I love my home and dogs and birds and staff, so I don’t really need to leave! The flight was OK, but I will definitely avoid going to Stanstead again, it’s a long way, particularly when you arrive back at midnight. And the M25 which you would think would be bearable at that time of night was a flaming nightmare. Traffic by the ton, road works by the million and the a huge queue and then damn me they took you off the bloody motorway - opppppps sorry the Orbital something or other, (I was calling it various other names that I will not write here!) and dumped you somewhere with no signs - great!!! My theory is just keep going and see where you end up! I finally managed to get home at 3.45am!
I travelled there with three friends which was good and we were collected at the airport by a great Spanish guy who took us to our hotels (and was very good looking too!), and picked us up the following morning. I am obviously out of date with hotels, now you have to use the damn card system that supposedly gets you into your room to turn on the lights as well, that took a trip back down to the desk, where they must have thought me mentally deficient. The journey from Zaragosa to Ainsa was OK except the last part where the roads got very windy and I remembered that I get carsick!! However I did manage not to throw up over anyone, and we got there safely. Dumped our stuff and then went on a trip to the mountains, and they are mountains!! After a steep drive up a long track we came to the Bearded Vulture feeding station, what a place, there were about 14 of us, many good friends, and there on the hill were about 140 Griffon Vultures, with more starting to fly. It was an amazing sight, the feeding station is at the bottom of the hill and only has bones placed there for the Bearded Vultures as they don’t really want to feed the Griffon's, but they come anyway. The day was overcast and still so not good for the birds to fly easily, which was great for us as we saw mucho more! The Griffons were everywhere you looked! And the most interesting thing for me was to watch how they sedately walked in a long winding line up the hill behind the feeding area to get to enough height to get up off the ground without too much effort. We watched and I counted the wing beats, the most was ten, but generally they lifted off and gracefully and slowly gained height with 4 to 5 wing beats, then a glide, then another four to five wing beats and so on. Ambition was not high, they were mostly just aiming for enough height to get to the other side of the valley and sit on rocks or a stunning dead tree. I have not looked at my photos, and I suspect that as usual they will not be as focused as I would like, but I hope I did get something. Add to that spectacle a few Red kites soaring and playing and Bearded Vultures cruising overhead and then giving territorial displays, mirroring and chasing another bird, with their glorious rust coloured breast and long long pointed wings and their beards easily seen, it was a sight to behold.

The great people looking after us had brought a picnic so we all sat and watched vultures, talked, ate good food and had an excellent time. I have to say the cow bells were a little annoying and if I were one of the cows I suspect I would find a way to get rid of the damn thing, but I imagine that eventually the noise which is constant and all over the mountains soon becomes unnoticeable. We were allowed to walk down the hill afterwards, which took I guess about an hour and was a lovely walk – it was a good start to Ainsa.

The conference went well, a few too many talks to assimilate, but great food, company and I love the Spanish red wine!

Now its back to autumn in the UK, which I love, back to the dogs and the birds and the challenge of training a young Steppe Eagle, which is going to be fun I hope!



I have to say that keeping a weblog can at times become compulsive and at other times a chore. Sometimes I am berrated for not keeping it up and sometimes I get wonderful comments from people who follow the news of the Centre.

It is fun to share the daily goings on here, some good and some bad, some funny and some sad, but all a part of our daily lives.
And as I said before its a pretty cool to be here and it is a great place to visit, you should try coming and watching the birds and meeting the staff and of course the dogs.

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An interesting video on Lead

An interesting video on Lead

I find it staggering that people who want to hunt don't see the value in changing their ammunition from lead to a safer product. We have stopped using lead in petrol, in paint, in our water pipes, but they still want to use lead - ah well, apparently eating it not only kills birds but leads to reduced intelligence in humans......................

NO ONE is asking you to stop legal and genuine hunting, they are just asking you to change your ammunition!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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