Monday, 19 November 2012
Flipping Henry, another Owl Evening is over and done, where does the time go, and it was another cool night, and a busy one – full to bursting, so it was fun, not that they aren’t all fun.
So what has happened in the week, John, Simon and Adam had a successful time at Duncombe, they finished all they should have done and helped Charlie along the way I hope. They all came back very excited about the place and the barns and the setting and everything about it.

John then discovered that his albino crow had escaped while he was away, he and Lisa were devastated, he had the next morning off and searched and searched, but no joy. Adam and Simon were off that day, Adam went to a free course in London that did not turn out to be what he had hoped, and sadly had Tash’s bike stolen off the roof of his car while it was parked at the station. Simon saw us all working away getting ready to pack up birds for the trip up and decided that he wanted to help, which was very useful I have to say, because it was a tough and long day.
We had decided to catch up and box the birds in the afternoon as we were leaving at 4.45am the following morning and it would have been dangerous to the birds to catch them up in the dark. So all the boxes were ready, clean and new carpet on the floor. The two trailers hitched up and ready, and Colin Pennycuick who had contacted me previously about taking tracings of various bird wings arrived for lunch and got his paper and pens at the ready. We caught up 72 birds and took wing measurements from over half, we coped them all, wormed them and gave them all Critical Care to cope with the trip, boxed them up and put them in the various trailers, and those that were going up in a van were put quietly in the stock room. We started with the Steller’s and worked down from there, ending up with the Burrowing Owls. It was only one day out of 8 years ago that we were packing up 189 birds to go to the US which was a little uncanny, and a few of the birds were ones that had done that trip and back again! We are pretty efficient at this sort of thing now I have to say.

So I then did the horse, took the dogs round the field, had a shower and we all went up to the Yew Tree for a meal to say goodbye to Anabelle. We had clubbed together and bought her a bike that Adam had chosen, so that was going up too!

I left before the others (as usual) because I was getting up at 4.00am – so was Anabelle, but she is much younger than I am! 4.00am dawned, or rather did not dawn as it was dark and very foggy – great, perfect for a five hour drive. David and Mark Kay arrived at 4.15am and by 4.25 we had loaded up the last boxes and the bike, moved all the vehicles out into the car park, and had a cup of tea. I drove the Landrover and horse trailer, Mark and Linda were in the Range Rover and the bird trailer, Dave and Mark had their large van and Anabelle had her car – she left us at the end of the M50 as we were not travelling that fast.
We arrived at about 10.00am, and immediately started to unload and put the birds into their various enclosures, it took about two hours by the time we had unboxed them all and put the boxes under cover. All the birds made the trip well and settled very very well in their new enclosures, there was little in the way of crashing and they looked wonderful, although Charlie said that the aviaries kept much cleaner without birds in them however they were a little boring to look at after a while! We had some lunch at the Centre, and Mark and David left at about 1.00pm, Linda Mark Parker and I left at 1.30, leaving Charlie and Anabelle and Duncan and Rebecca – two volunteers ( Duncan from Newent and Rebecca from Yorkshire) to feed all the birds and carry on.
All are still fine and settled well, which is very relieving. We filled up the vehicles, got five miles down the road the and the Range Rover died. Thank goodness it was on the trip back, and thank goodness for the AA who arrived within an hour, loaded the car up, hitched up the trailer and we left them to it. I did mention that if they wanted to lose the Range Rover on the way back that would be fine, but please return the trailer. They dropped it off at about 10.30 that night. Linda Mark and I drove back in the Landrover which behaved very well, because of the delay we hit awful traffic on the M42 around the airport, but got home at about 8.00pm after over 11 hours of driving!!
Friday we recovered and I had two riding lessons, and Art was very good and so was I! Saturday we were busy and the owl evening went well. The staff had managed to get three of the empty aviaries in the tiny owl block winter cleaned, re perched and painted so we were finally able to put out the Ferruginous Pygmy Owls, who are charming, very settled, and enchanting all the visitors, I just need to find the time to do a sign for them.
Sunday we had a half experience day and a half teaching photo day and very few staff so I did the photo morning with Linda teaching and Holly and John did the half experience day and Simon demolished the old temporary cage that had held the Pygmy Owls, the weather was perfectly glorious in the morning, a perfect late autumn day, it got a big hazy in the afternoon but we still had a great day.
Today Clear Vision is coming to fix the windscreen in the little van which I broke with a fence rail. Which reminds me…… I first phoned Autoglass to get a price – BE VERY CAREFULL!!! Their first quote was over £500 so after a few choice words and a mention that it was probably more than the vehicle was worth, they gave me a better one of about £380. I then phoned Clear Vision who quoted £120!!! I did say that was great because Autoglass had quoted far more, and the chap said that I was the second phone call that day with the same problem. SO phone around if you need a windscreen and remember that if your insurance company is using Autoglass which mine is, phone them and tell them that they need to phone around as well, because if they are being charged £500 instead of £120 which I suspect they are – that is one of the reasons insurance is high.



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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