Saturday, 11 August 2012
I went to the Olympics last week!! Got the chance to see the first day of the team Dressage at Greenwich Park, it was amazing. The organisation was superb, the volunteers helping people to get to where they needed to go were wonderful, friendly, helpful, chatty and they deserve a huge thank you. The travel was seamless, no waiting anywhere apart from a short queue to get out of the park, but other than that, all trains ran on time and it could not be been easier. We left at 5.30 am and got home at 9.45 pm and the whole thing was really exciting and well worth going to. Well done all those organising the Games and to all those detracting it, just go away and shut up!!! I am extremely proud of the UK for all it has done in the organising of the games and even more proud of all those taking part, winners and losers. And we won Gold in the team event and Gold and Bronze in the Individual. In fact Britain is doing brilliantly in the medals, so we should all be very very proud.
My brother who normally lives in New Zealand is over here at the moment, he was staying with me, arrived on the 18th, he was due to leave last week to stay with our cousin in Llangollen in Wales. But her husband is not well so he is not able to go, which is a great shame really. He is in Scotland to see Anna now, in the country to start with and then back in Edinburgh for the festival

Right, a bit of a rant. There is a huge row going on between the various shooting groups about a report from the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust on lead.  The shooting fraternity in their normal blinkered way are continuing to shout at the top of their voices that there is no proof that lead causes problems for wildlife, one wonders why they don’t realise just how stupid this makes them look. This is regardless of reams and reams of very good science to the contrary. Why am I particularly annoyed right now, well we have just had a young Red Kite brought in and it is the second one suffering from lead poisoning. I can’t stress enough that if lead is ingested it kills birds, and it also kills mammals. Our local vet even had a number cows killed because there had been huge clay pigeon shoot over just cut hay, the hay was baled and the lead picked up and the cows swallowed it when they ate the hay and died. LEAD IS TOXIC, that is why it’s banned in all other substances!!!!!!! And have absolutely no doubt  ----  it will be banned in shooting, it is only a matter of time. Wouldn’t it be just the best thing if the shooting people voluntarily did it before they were forced to, but of course they won’t.
The Kite has recovered and been released again, but we suspect that the male of the pair probably died somewhere unfound, because the people in who’s garden they nested said that he had disappeared a couple of weeks ago. Other than the Kite we have had in a ton of Buzzards, so many that the need for a new hospital is really getting quite desperate! And then last night a Heron was brought in – very thin, but it did not make it.
I have been remiss in writing the weblog recently, life seems to be incredibly busy and hectic, more so than usual. The weather has been kinder to us in the last week or so, it plays such a huge part in visitor numbers, although I think that eventually people just get fed up with the weather and go out anyway.
Birds are doing well, the second clutch of  Grey Buzzard Eagles are growing well with their parents, and our young female from the first clutch is starting to fly well on a training line. The older Tawny Eagle chick is flying very well, and we have started to move her on with flying towards the public now, she was very unsure on the first attempt, but soon relaxed into it and did well.
The four baby Lanners are now out of their aviary and have started their training, and are already feeding by their  perches, so they will move on quickly now. Mark is about to start with his Aplomado Falcon which we think is a male.  We have a female Hobby coming which will be a treat. Mark is struggling with the injured wild Hobby who is interesting and that would be an understatement!!!  She appears to be very imprinted, and is still flying like a baby, rather than moving forward, she is very unfit, although we are flying her daily, and she flies just fractionally unbalanced, which may be due to the original injury.

I have to say that I have no desire to keep her, and interestingly the Americans have a reasonably good process to make sure that anyone imprinting a bird, either on purpose or by accident, does not benefit from doing so by keeping the bird. The imprinted bird if it can have a viable and useful life has to be passed on to someone else.
We appear to be working with a number of small birds this year, the smallest being the little Lesser Kestrel who is flying at around 130 grams, and I am delighted to have a male Sparrowhawk who is just coming to the fist but not really chasing the lure properly yet at 150 grams. And then Tash is going to be training the only American Kestrel we have bred this year, and Simon is going to train a Red-footed Falcon which will be new to us.
The gardens are looking good, although I am worried about some of the smaller trees, which seem to be losing leaves in a way that is concerning. The weeds have done well in the damp weather, but we are just about in control of them! The grass growth has been a nightmare, three of the mowers had to go and be made better as they had been working so hard this year!

The Gladiator Weekend was successful, I don’t think it brought in a ton more visitors, however I think that all those there thoroughly enjoyed seeing them do their stuff. We also had a local face painter from Newent come in and she did some lovely bird of prey faces on the kids, she is going to come again for the Falconry Weekend which will be fun for the kids that visit.

Next is the Falconry Weekend, we have a good number of stands booked, the tents will be here on time, we are doing all the catering in house, so there should not be any complaints about the costs and I am looking forward to an early morning bacon sandwich!! I suspect the dogs are also looking forward to it. Mark the date in your diary Sept 1st and 2nd will give you all the information you need to come.



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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