Saturday, 22 September 2012

It’s one of those most glorious of mornings, and my favourite. Cold but not bitterly, a smattering of frost on the longer grasses, an almost cloudless sky with vivid sunshine and quiet, even the traffic noise which we do get even though the motorway is four miles away, is dim. The leaves are just turning and we are starting to hear autumn bird calls, the plinking of blackbirds – which my Sparrowhawk is fascinated by! The wild Hobby’s are fledged and playing around us, and chasing the house martins, who will be gone by the time we get back. In fact just the sort of day that makes you not want to get up at 1.00am tomorrow morning to catch a 2.00am bus to Heathrow!! Art came cantering up for his breakfast and I have a lesson at 8.30am, he then goes to Sam’s on Monday until we get back from India, so that is one less worry.


Holly and Ben are house sitting with the dogs, Shasta who has a bit of a swelling on the inside of her elbow which we are assured is nothing to worry about, is much better and now coming outside for some of the day. She was getting very stressed being cut in all day, plus she was chewing everything.


All the birds are doing brilliantly, we were flying the merlin yesterday and a wild Goshawk came over which was a delight to see. The two baby Grey Buzzard Eagles in the second clutch had to come out yesterday as mum is on more eggs and was getting a little stressed by them. One has gone back to Chris O’Donnell, the other Mark is going to train, so for the time being it has gone in with Hare and Azor to grow up a little.


All the Lanners are loose now and going well, my Indian Tawny Eagle is now called Plieadies (spelt wrong I think) and she is amazing, I have not seen an eagle come on in such an exciting manner in a long while, we are very very pleased with her.


Had a lesson Art this morning, which went OK, he was a little bumptious, but as I had not ridden for about five days that is not surprising.
Holly, Michele and I along with two Lanners have been filming this week, long tiring and on occasion boring days, but it never fails to amaze me what the birds will do for us. Dawn Run sat on a branch in a tree while a huge camera on a long boom arm can up behind her and filmed the actors with her in the foreground, and then she flew out of frame, Holly was up a step ladder and I was out of camera shot in the distance, although she got so bored with the whole thing that eventually she refused to do the flying bit, so Discovery took over and was very good although she would not deal with the moving camera, however the previous day she had been flying after a four wheeled vehicle with another huge boom arm on the top and the camera filming her as she flew after the car, Holly was in the car, Michele released the falcon and then did a dramatic drop to the ground to get out of shot, and I called her in at the end – it was amazing stuff and the birds were brilliant.


Got to finish off stuff, and get packed and so I will write again when I get back on October 4th



Saturday, 15 September 2012

A friend sent me this - kites galore!
There are times when I get very tired of people asking for concessions, can we get in cheaper, can we have a discount, do I have to pay if I am disabled, a student, a green goblin and so on. It would be so nice if for a change some people did not constantly want something for nothing. It has been a difficult few days, a whole ton of things nearly went wrong on Sunday, a meeting on Monday that should have been at 11.00am was put at 2.00pm and half of us knew and half did not and to cape it all I managed to miss my dentist appointment, which I thought was 2.45pm, and having just rearranged the whole 2.00pm flying demonstration, I discovered it was 10.40 and I missed it. So I am feeling decidedly grumpy and if I get another phone call about bloody advertising I may just scream!

On second thoughts the green goblin might get a discount but only if he or she can do magic!

The next few months are so hectic it is not true, I have three trips abroad – two vulture ones and one conference in Spain, Holly is going to Costa Rica with Ben for a monitoring trip, we have courses, new birds to train, none of the birds have gone to Duncombe yet so we are really stretched and I am looking forward to December!!

However all the young birds are coming on now, the weather has been and is today quite glorious again, reminding me how much I love the Autumn.

Interesting to see that the press surrounding our Royal Family are as pleasant and human as ever, I have to say that I do consider them to be the scum of the earth with their panting tongues and long lenses desperate to get a picture that they think might put our Royals in the limelight for something that is mostly totally private. As I am of the school that consider they killed Princess Diana, I have never liked them, but it seems that their appalling behaviour continues unabated, regardless. Even the BBC report ended today by saying ‘our future queen topless’ which I thought was purposefully done, when he could have said ‘a young woman privately sunbathing like millions of other young women – shame on you man. Although I suspect that paparazzi don’t understand the word shame. As for the Editors, they should have slightly more morals and brain, but again, they show their true colours.

Anabelle is back from Mauritius, and so she can take over her birds again, which is nice, they are both going very well, particularly the Kite, and they will be going up to Duncombe when all is ready. Adam Jon and Tash were up there this week getting big perches in the aviaries. I will go up when I get back from India with Simon, Mike and I are going up to get on with the landscaping, at least he will landscape with a machine and I will help! Sally and I were thinking of going on a two day riding trip, but I just can’t fit it in this year, which is sort of a shame. But my riding is improving which is very nice. We have changed the shape of Art’s field back to how it was when I left, there is almost nothing now that I have not returned to how it should be, which is a nice feeling. Although very soon I am going to have to start to do some work on the windows in the house as they are looking a little sad.

Amazingly we see Owl Evenings looming up, I can’t believe how quickly the time goes these days. And Hemp has not even finished moulting. Still my Sparrowhawk is improving by the day!
Friday, 7 September 2012
The summer holidays are over and so needless to say the weather is now wonderful!! Sod’s law applies again, I think someone is taking the piss!! The Falconry Weekend was a great success, all the stands arrived well in time, we did have to be very careful and not allow anyone to drive on the grass as we had had the most amazing downpour on the Wednesday, with half an inch of rain in eight minutes!! And it went on for another 20 minutes, I thought we were going to have huge problems – they were putting up the tents for the stands in the rain! However the following day it was warm and windy, the best combination for drying out the ground. Friday dawned fair and it recovered further and although we did not allow anyone to drive on it, thank goodness Richard had lent us his ATV, Thank you Richard, because without it last and this week we would have had problems. We took most of the large stand’s stuff down in it, Adam did stirling work and Ben pushed stuff around in wheelbarrows, and we did the same thing on the Sunday to get everyone out, we had the whole lot out and cleared by 7.00pm on the Sunday evening apart from two stands that were staying until Monday and that included getting one the stand holders car started with my Landrover battery.
Both days went really well, the seminars were brilliant, the demonstrations first class, Gary Biddiss did his usual brilliant stuff with his Peregrine Merlin, sadly there was not enough wind to do his kite so I think we will work on a balloon over the winter months. Nigel King flew a Striated Caracara which was excellent, a Hooded Vulture to work with Vulture Awareness Day and a very good young Lanneret who got lovely height both days. Howard Kirby and Roger James did great dog demonstrations, poor Roger was the only one with rain as we had a short period of it on the Sunday, but otherwise both went really well and my dogs were shut in for that period!! All our birds did not let us down and it appears that the most popular was my Musket Sparrowhawk who was excellent, although I have to say that today he was a pain in the arse as it took 2.5 hours to get him out of a tree!
My staff and the volunteers were wonderful, some did the BBQ all day, which was greatly appreciated by the punters, who were pleased to have good food at a good price. Then Angie and staff did the evening BBQ for the stand holders, I have to say the venison was gorgeous, thank you David Morton and David Kay for providing in and thank Charlie and me for cutting it up and marinading it in a brilliant fashion.
There have been amazing comments on both Facebook and the IFF, and I hope that many of those who did not come this year will make it next year as we will be doing it again – August 31st and Sept 1st – put it in your diary!
Finally, today, Friday, the tents have gone, the loos went on Monday, as did the Biffa bins, most of the clear up was done by the end of Monday and I was exhausted, we also collected Art, so he is home again, which is great, although he did managed to cut himself and pull off a shoe on the first day back!! We have moved the fence in the field back to its original place, which is going to look much better and we even managed to have a Members BBQ on Wednesday evening to finish off the burgers and venison and that was a great success too, of course the weather was great because I had done it while the tents were still there in case it rained, so needless to say it did not!
We grounded Hare and Karis on Monday and Cowan Red, they all need a moult and it gives us more time to concentrate on the young birds, or at least that is the theory.
Charlie came down on the Thursday and as usual was a tower of strength, although we were far better organised this year because it was just done by us, so we knew what still had to be done. He left on Monday morning and is back getting things ready for the birds to go up to Duncombe soon. John and Adam and Tash are going up next week to help with the perches in all the aviaries.
Shasta went through her operation OK and is now getting bored with being shut in and eating everything in sight. Rush is keeping her company as he has to lose some weight. Autumn is showing already with leaf colour, although I have to admit to being worried about the leaf drop on a number of the trees, I hope they are all OK. Here is hoping that the weather holds for the weekend.
I have just managed to change the last bed, so the house is clean, thanks to Sue and Michelle who came in and rescued us today as Sue was not feeling well, all my clothes are clean and I am off to bed with my kindle!


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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