Monday, 8 October 2012

Well I have to admit to being somewhat exhausted, and not very well either. Got some miserable person’s cold on one of the many planes, which I am hoping to throw off before the next trip.

Simon and I left at an ungodly hour on September 23rd to catch the 4.00am bus to Heathrow, apart from the fact that the bus ground to a halt at the first roundabout getting off to Heathrow, which luckily our driver could sort out, the journey went well, we caught the plane to Bahrain which is a pretty small airport, and then after a four hour wait, got the plane to Delhi. Here things did not go as smoothly. We missed the taxi driver who was supposed to meet us, so took a prepaid taxi to the train station, there some idiot told us that our etickets where not valid and we had to go to the tourist office (at 5.20am!!) and get the right ones – he was lying. We went there which was a two minute drive for which we were charged more than the bloody 40 minute drive from the airport and were told by this very plausible man that the train was delayed by seven hours – he was also lying it turned out – and that the next two were fully booked and so the only way we could get to Pinjore was to fly or go by taxi – so we took a taxi which cost about £120, by which time I was seriously pissed off, but when you are in a foreign country you can never tell if you are being ripped off because you are foreign, or not. Well God help any one who tries that again because I will do the ripping and it will be a part of their anatomy that they are probably quite attached to.


Finally we arrived, having been travelling for over 24 hours, had a shower (a cold one as they never work in the hotel we go to) and went to the VCBC (Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre). We had a great look round, saw all the staff, renewed friendships and sorted out the running order of the course over the next day and a half.

The Incubation Workshop went very well, Simon, myself, Nikita and two of the staff at the Pinjore Centre all did some teaching. We had five people from India, two from Nepal and one from Pakistan, three were vets and three or four scientists so they were a pleasure to teach. As the workshop finished Richard Jones (avian specialist vet) and Chris Bowden arrived. We need to have enough over sea’s veterinary cover for the project to cope with an emergency, so having an extra specialist vet means if we have a problem we should be able to grab one of them to go out quickly. As only really Andrew Routh knows the project well it was good to get Richard out there so he met the people both in India and Nepal and saw two of the sites. We assisted in checking over 14 of this year’s young, and then took the train – with the same damn tickets I had had before – with no problems – back to Delhi. We got to our hotel by about 11.00pm although Richard had to have a beer to recover and get his adrenaline levels down enough from the drive! Unfortunately in the meantime the guy from Pakistan had got himself arrested because he had not had his visa stamped in Pinjore, and so Chris and I had to go and make sure he was OK.


Up at five, except that I read my phone wrong and got up at 4.00am instead (bugger) and back to the airport and off to Kathmandu, then a seven hour drive to do 120 miles over what felt like a very poor farm track most of the time!!  The hotel was good and the shower worked! We spent two days at the Nepal Vulture Centre in Chitwan National Park, the first day assessing the new aviary which is excellent, and talking to the staff about stuff, we also saw the most delightful baby Indian Rhino who had been attacked by a Tiger and survived, and a baby elephant and a not baby tiger that had had to be caught as it was a man-eater. I could have done without seeing the tiger, it was extremely scary.


We had been supposed to help catch up and vet 20 of the birds and had planned to leave the hotel at 5.00am and start before the day heated up. Unfortunately that did not pan out and we did not get there until 11.00 so after dealing with three vultures we had to stop because it was too hot.


We left for Kathmandu at 5.00am (which apparently is now my favourite time to get up!), I went to a meeting while Simon and Richard went to a market, and then we flew out at 9.00pm via Bahrain again. That was not without its excitement as the security men would not let Richard into the airport to start with because he did not have his eticket with him!!! However we managed in the end and it was really nice to be back home by 7.00am the following morning. Anabelle picked Simon and I up, Richard took the train, and we were home in time for coffee and a much welcome bacon sandwich!


The weather was glorious over the Friday Sat and Sun, and it is so nice to be home again even if today is pretty grey and miserable. Art managed to go lame while I was away, and is still recovering, so he never went off on his trip. The dogs are fine and were very pleased to see us. The birds are well and my eagle is just amazing she is flying so well. Next trip Yorkshire on Wed and back by train on Thursday and then Spain on Sunday for a conference.








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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