Thursday, 29 March 2012
Spot the eagle - we were all exhausted yesterday! On Sunday we decided that it was time for the new White-tailed Sea-eagle to fly free, well we were wrong, she flew free beautifully, she is buoyant, strong and wonderful to watch, but going in the wrong direction!! So off went a team of people and followed her until dark, she was not interested in coming down for food. She spent the night in Newent woods, high in a tree, Monday, the weather being wonderful she had a pleasant day moving gently around the area, with John and various others trundling along behind tracking her with the telemetry (thank God for telemetry and Marshall’s), this time she spent the night in a tree with a rookery – not sure how pleased the rooks were, but it was on land with people we knew and they were lovely about it. Her flying was improving, although she was chased a great deal by crows and buzzards, at one point I was in the Landrover, telling a friend that we had an eagle missing and were out tracking it, and he looked up from his car and said – you mean that one!!! As she gracefully flew over our heads! Tuesday dawned crisp and clear, the weather has been just the most wonderful March weather I can remember, so off went the team, John and Simon started out, Ben and Natasha joined in when Simon came back. John came back for a break at about lunch time and Adam went out after lunch. Then we all decided enough was enough and we would all go out after work and get her somehow and we did – at midnight! We marked her down in a tree, put various people with powerful torches in various fields (thank you farmers for being so nice about it and not chasing us off the land!) and once it was dark we went up to see what her position was in the tree – a very difficult one, so we flushed her, well off she went flying high!! Over about three fields and into another tree, although how she found them in the dark I have no idea, we flushed her again and off we all went (I was the back runner I have to say) she moved and this time was on the ground but moved when we caught up, several flushes, crossing the main road, diving through thickets, woods, ditches, fences (I may be slower than all the rest of this youthful bunch, but I am best at finding the best place to cross even in the dark!). Found her again in a very high tree, Adam climbed up and managed to flush her, by this time she did not want to go, which was good news. Off again, Simon nearly got her on the ground once but missed and off she went into her final tree. She was not going to flush this time!! So Holly and I had run back and got Adam’s ropes from his car and brought the vehicles closer, and up Adam went, he roped himself in and using Mark’s Grandfather’s fishing rod, with Mark’s patented hook and creance, Adam managed to hook her jess and pull her off the branch, but she slipped and then managed to climb onto the branch he was on!! He said it was a bit daunting to have her climb up almost next to him. Rod was abandoned (although Adam had to climb up again to rescue it!) and he grabbed hold of her, and the rest of the team – there were eight in all, watched and wished for camera’s as Adam was lowered down the tree on his rope with eagle in hand!! We all finally got home, had tea toast beer and wine, Holly, John and Ben stayed the night and all happily went to bed, as did I. The eagle was weighed, fed, and put to bed as well. She was pleased to be home we reckon!

The delicious weather still holds which is great and just such a pleasure to work in, getting a sun tan in March is good for the soul! I have to admit to being concerned and very pissed off about the tanker driver’s strike. I was told they get £45k!! That is three times what some of my staff get and they all turned out all evening until after midnight having worked the day as well, to get the eagle. These bloody people have no idea what real work is about and they are putting the whole tourist industry at risk because we all rely on a decent Easter to pay the bills. I personally would like to feed the Union people who are instigating this to my vultures, it would do the whole country a favour!! Bloody unions!!!

My Puppies have decided that bringing things into my office, which is also my sitting room is the thing to do. So yesterday it was the loo brush, the holder for the loo brush and the loo cleaner as well!! This morning Shasta came trotting in with the bread knife.

Have a look at this, it is very special..............

Tuesday, 20 March 2012
The field looks glorious, the wild daffodils are out, Nathan has been mowing and the smell of new mown grass is intoxicating. The wood is looking good, we are raking it all so I can sow some wild flower seeds, and I have done a grave stone for Aster, am half way through one for Ruby and have Nettle Arabis and Lupin still to do, but I am getting better as I do them and Richard has lent me some lovely stone carving tools.

Delectable is starting to fly well and is coming out into the field now, Pinotage is back out and her first flight was just stunning!! Fortina is really coming on and getting height and giving us a lovely stoop, I think she will be very good once the weather warms up properly. Anabelle’s Buzzard is now flying free, I can’t remember how to spell its name though!! Greaves (Kestrel) has been doing some lovely hovering and the new White-tailed Sea-eagle is planned to fly loose on Sunday weather permitting.

The puppies are growing apace, they have now been micro chipped and vaccinated, and Shasta managed to get her head stuck in a Pedigree Chum tin today!! And then got stuck under the fence in the hawkwalk, it has not been her day. But they both have been particularly unhelpful in the wood clearing, it is very difficult to rake leaves, sticks and brambles with puppies trying to kill the rake. John has been helping and told me yesterday that Shasta had both front feet in the pond, well by the time I got to her there was no part of her that was not wet. Leaf is more careful, although very adventurous.

I have a new horse, and he is just wonderful, he is an eventer/dressage horse, called Light Art, both Sally and I have ridden him out hacking and he is good as gold and very good looking. Mollie has gone to a really nice girl called Anna and we hope she does well. Art is a bright bay, 11 years old, 15.3 and a really nice chap. Jules is planning for me to do my first dressage competition by July!! Help!

The new ceiling in the Education Room is going up, it is all being redone and will become the IZone!! It is going to look great I think, Robin and Mark are working very hard on it.

Adam and Ben (volunteer) went up to North Yorkshire last week to help Charlie with getting concrete footings in for new aviaries at our Duncombe branch. It is coming on, and they came home exhausted!! Talking of which I am exhausted, I decided that it was impossible to go riding during the day as we have so much to do, so I have started going at 7.00am, which means an early start feeding dogs and taking them round the field before going out on Art, but it was a lovely morning this morning and well worth it.
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
Serif ask you for suggestions for further improvement on their products while you wait for ages on the phone to talk to them. Well here’s a suggestion - a further improvement to your product would be to support the programmes you sell us!! I just phoned Serif because I could not find in the resource manual, the user guide or on the website how to do something relatively simple on their publishing programme, so I phoned, only to be told that they only support the newest version!! So I guess they want to sell it to me. That really pisses me off. Very poor service Serif – not good enough, then I waited 7 minutes to see how much an upgrade would cost so I could get the support they should offer, but after 7 minutes of waiting I gave up!

Its rant day today. I really feel that doctors (not my sister of course!) should change their oath from the Hippocratic Oath, to the Hypocritical Oath because sure as hell they are no longer interested in helping people. John, one of my staff, had a stone fly up and hit his eye, so rather than taking him 12 miles to the local A+ E, and taking into consideration that we are asked in TV adverts not to go to A + E unless it is an emergency, I phoned my local doctors, because John’s GP is a good half hour drive away, and asked if they could just check his eye. We thought that if it needed attention then we would go to A + E, but if it just needed a check-up, it would take minutes and be relatively easy to do. Wrong! firstly he would have to be temporarily registered, then they suggested A+E (obviously have not seen the government advertising campaign!). Then we had to wait for a doctor to phone – then they took his details, and then another phone call from them,(by the time they had done this they could have looked at his eye about ten times!) and they suggest he goes to A +E,  and anyway they don’t have the equipment to look at his eye!!!! So my local doctors don’t have an ophthalmoscope???!!! I have got a bloody ophthalmoscope for heaven’s sake! It’s such a shame that doctoring is not what it used to be. I can remember where they actually cared…………. Although to be fair, the number of people who go and take up their time for a common cold, or other unnecessarily stupid things that do not need attention is probably one of the reasons why it has happened.

A friend of mine just sent me an email about three Rhino’s that have just been poached and had their horns cut off one was dead, two were alive, but one not likely to survive. So their horns were cut off while they were living……………. Read on……………….

True story from that friend.

“I was at Sworders auction of Taxidermy a few months ago with a dealer friend. We were standing at the front, out of the way in a side cubby hole. A little Chinese man asked if he could stand in front of us. We said yes--he’s about 5 foot +1. He gets out his mobile. The Auctioneer very politically incorrectly berates the local travelling community for ram raiding his state of the art showroom the night before , causing a phenomenal amount of damage ----in order to nick a Rhino Horn, price guide at £10,000 for one.

They only stole one, out of seven listed for Auction. The auction eventually gets to the rhino horns
Little Chinese person perks up, the bidding goes ballistic between a telephone bidder and our little friend standing in front of us, It gets to £55000--our man wins! So including VAT and commission our boy has spent £70000---ON ONE RHINO HORN. And there are SIX more... Everyone the same, he buys the bloody lot !!! Over £400000 from one Chinese so all his mates can keep their peckers in prime condition, so that is why the poor Rhinos that Laura cared for had their horns hacked off.........”

I guess my own thoughts on this are three fold – 1.Men - what is their problem and why do they think that we care how long they can perform. 2. What is wrong with Viagra if they really have to believe that longevity is desirable. 3. Chop the offending parts off the poachers and those who buy from them, and solve the problem!

We have decided to bury Ruby in the flying field near one of the mounds that she used so well, we will put a stone in the grass, she should be where she loved the best.

The puppies are having a riotous game between the hall and my office, my office looks like a bomb has hit it with all their toys and the various bits of chewed basket decorating the floor!
Monday, 12 March 2012
The downside of having animals and birds is that on occasion the inevitable happens and they die. We lost Ruby yesterday. She had been ill about a month ago but had recovered well and was very cheerful in the lovely spring sunshine that we have been having. But about four days ago she slipped back again, and on Sunday morning she quietly died. We are pretty sure that it was heart failure, she was coming up for 12 years old which is very old for a Burrowing Owl, considering their lifespan in the wild is probably not much more than two to three years, but that aside, what a gap she leaves, we will miss her enormously and her aviaries stands silent. I will even miss the huge holes she dug all over the floor of it.

We also lost another owl yesterday, but that was in the mislaid sense. Darcy Spice decided that he was going to misbehave, he has not liked the field since we cut down the trees at the bottom so that we can let them regrow and then have a nicely laid hedge. So yesterday he flew up into one of the beech trees by the upper pond – and stayed there – for about five hours!!! He is back now, although I have no idea how, I went out well after dark and nearly got him back, but he moved to the little wood, and so I got up at 5.30am to go and see if he felt like coming down and blow me there was a note from Simon on the gate, he was back, now that was cheering to get up for! Of course the dogs were delighted to see me that early as it meant they got fed early!

The field is full of wild daffodils and they are all coming out now, the weeping willows by the large pond are showing green and there is a faint green tinge to many of the trees and hedges now, which is wonderful to see.

The puppies are demolishing my log basket, they are at the teeth onto anything stage, although they did try chewing the big metal statue of the eagle that is residing in my hall at the moment and that slowed them down a bit.

I watched the early news this morning and they were talking about the new legislation on housing for hens, it was made illegal to keep hens in tiny cages at the beginning of this year. The cages are now much larger and supposedly better for the hens, it was an EU Directive, and guess what – the UK put it into place immediately and 13 countries, which is one under half of all the countries in the EU, have not!!! Well there is a surprise!! In fact I am surprised that 14 actually have, and I am not sure I even believe it. But it does go to show just how completely out of touch the European Parliament is with the countries that it supposedly represents. Did they really think that most of the countries were going to comply!! Are they nuts? Most could not afford it, and most could not care less!  Our Government should immediately implement a ban on the import of eggs from any country known not to comply, otherwise not only will they have cost our farmers a fortune in having to comply, but they will put them out of business because those not complying will be charging less. The sooner we leave the EU the better!!
Thursday, 8 March 2012

It’s amazing, I appear to have another puppy, and I didn’t even go and look for one, not even really wanted one, particularly as we are hoping to have puppies from Sorrel later this year!! The lady who bred Sorrel phoned us up and said she had an offer I could not refuse, and apparently she was right. So on Saturday we went to look at another horse, who turned out to be huge and not what I needed, and came home with a Labrador puppy, she is called Shasta, which is  a Michaelmas Daisy. She is a bear of a puppy, Leaf was a little concerned about her to start with, however that did not last and they are firm friends and playmates now.

We were all sitting in the café a couple of days ago and discussing why puppies have such delicious bare tummies and Ben said it is to make them predator proof – the vicious predator arrives the puppy rolls over onto its back, exposing its delicious tummy and the predator says - aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh, and rubs the puppy’s tummy, and all is well!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We thought it was a great theory!

The baby Tawny eagle is now safely back with our African Fish Eagles, the first attempt did not succeed, but the second one did, and the chick is now being beautifully cared for. This is just wonderful, because not only does it mean that the chick is being reared by an eagle, but it means that we will have a sound breeding pair of fish eagles for next year. We have also hatched a new species for us, two baby Grey Buzzard Eagles, the pair belong to a friend, and we are delighted that they settled and laid this year, the chicks are most definitely buzzards though!! They are quite different from an eagle chick! They are both doing well and we hope to get them back with the parents once they are a little older. Both pairs of Griffon Vultures have laid as well, so breeding is looking interesting so far!

Next we start to get the smaller birds going, at least two of the Merlins will come back on line, and a couple of the older Lanners. Sidewinder is just about behaving himself now and Anabelle is getting Moccasin her Spectacled Owl going, Adam is getting his going, and Harley has joined the team again.

The Education room is now closed and all the stuff down, painting has begun, you will never guess the colour – you are right of course – Magnolia! The plaster board for the ceiling is coming the week after next – we have a five day course next week, and we hope to get all the ceiling done and painted, the walls painted and the staining done by the end of that week.
Oh and I finally have a new bed, I have been wanting one for a while and so ordered one online with Oak Furniture Land on January 16th. The first bed late January, but when we unpacked it the wood was very mouldy and I mean Very mouldy! – I phoned them and asked them to send me some stuff to get rid of the mould, but no, they wanted to take the bed back and replace it. So about ten days later bed number 2 arrived, we unpacked it and it was quite badly broken. So I phoned, moaned, and sent photos again and so after about 12 days bed number 3 arrived, very pretty, a nicer colour than the first two, very little mould (there was actually mould on every bed) nothing broken, but sadly the side pieces did not fit together as they were not the same parts of the bed. So I phoned again, I refused to spend time taking photos this time, and on the Sunday I was annoyed enough to email them and tell them that not only were they this time going to check the bed over, they were going to put it together and they were going to give me a mattress to go with it as an apology. Finally, after over ten days of waiting on my birthday the fourth bed arrived, was in one piece, went together and I slept in it. Phew – what a palaver!!

Friday, 2 March 2012
March did not come in like a lion, and hopefully will stay pretty lamblike all the way through, in fact it crept in quietly and dignifiedly, with a heavy mist all over the countryside until about midday, when finally the sun came out. It has been the most glorious weather, and unseasonally warm, but great to be out in. It’s been a busy week, we had a visit to Cardiff University on Tuesday, Linda, Holly and I went to see Hayley and the team who have been doing a project with us for their exams, they have been working on social media and came up with a first class report, it was an interesting morning. Then ironically we had a PR meeting organised here that evening, which also went very well and everyone came up with some good ideas, some of which have already been put in place, my team here don’t let the grass grow under their feet for long. We now have the basis for a Sponsorship Tree, which is going to be rather special. Holly stole the idea from Twycross Zoo and John has put it into practice. The silhouettes of some of the birds are now on the back of Mozart’s aviary and look excellent, now I have to do some artwork for them, just have to remember how Drawplus works. That is one of the problems with software, unless you use it very regularly you forget what you managed to learn about it. The Hawk Walk extensions are just about finished, and looking very good.

The hedge at the bottom of the field is all down and cleared, the stumps will sprout over the next year and then we will lay it in probably three years and it will look super. It really has opened up the field. Mike came and did the final tidying with the digger, so the wood is looking great, and the hedge-line and the back of the pond just wonderful.

The new White-tailed Sea-eagle is coming on a treat, she is very well mannered and already on demonstration. SideWinder (Burrowing Owl) is coming back into work, as is Pan, and Delectable, although she is not behaving as we would like as yet! Sadly we lost the African Fish Eagle Eggs, but I am hoping that they have taken the baby Tawny Eagle and will rear it for us, which would be perfect if they will, its always a stressful time for Simon putting babies back with unknown parents, so fingers crossed.

Wednesday we all went to Sally’s for her birthday, at it is on February 29th she is now 12 years old!! I had to take Leaf, who was completely unphased by the whole thing and had a whale of a time particularly when she discovered the beanbag seat, which she thought was perfect. Then on Thursday we had a bird staff meeting, for which I have to do the minutes, but today has been manic. I had a meeting with Lynda about the Gladiator Weekend we are going to do in August, then Anna the girl who has bought Mollie came and we boxed her up and I took her to her new home. Flew a few birds, had another meeting about a boiler, flew the rest of the birds, checked all gates were shut and helped Richard load his trailer with logs and then did the ironing!! So I have a ton of office work to do and I am going out tomorrow morning for three hours!! I am going to have to get it all done soon.

Next project is the IZone!! The refurbish of the Education Room now to be called the IZone, the ceiling is first, that is going to happen the week after next, then things start to move on, so the Education Room is now closed for about six weeks as we get it done.

The wild daffodils are coming out and the wild birds have been singing away all week, spring is such a special time.

Oh and I know the Mozart Chapter was wrong – its been fixed!


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.

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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