Monday, 29 April 2013
Look at this and weep..............................

Look at this and morn...............................

Look at this and feel the shame that we all should feel...........................

Look at this and share, show it to everyone you can think of..........................

Look at this and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT...........................................

Saturday, 27 April 2013
I know I know, it’s a while since I wrote, but it has been busy and I have had a lot to do!!! Finally that awful bitter wind has gone. It has done some damage to the plants around the Centre with wind burn, but amazingly the daffodils have survived it. I think a couple of shrubs in the field hedge may have to be pruned right back, but they might survive. We did – just about! We have had a respite for about ten days week now, I have to say we were very relieved, particularly as I did a demonstration for the Cotswold Hunt Point to Point and Country Fair and it is high up on the Cotswolds and if it had been as windy as it has been I think the birds would have got home before I did. Luckily the weather was great, a little chilly, but fair and the birds were brilliant. Zaurak (Lanner Falcon) did his first away demonstration and was faultless, Theft was good, Hare was excellent, as was Karis and I was particularly pleased with Bay Middleton because he can be tricky away from home. I also took Pleiades, whom I did not fly, but she travelled well and came out of the boxes very well. She has not been flying as well as she was in the cold wind, but we are working on it.
The breeding goes on apace. We now have two baby lanners, one of the white-faced scops owls went up the Charlie, the other was not well for a while, but has recovered and is doing much better. The Asian Brown Wood Owl hatched, although we did lose the second egg. The first Steppe is out and doing very well, the Savigny’s from the second clutch has gone back with mum and dad and they are pleased to have it. The baby Bald Eagle is doing wonderfully well with the Verreaux’s Eagles, the baby Tawny Eagle is back with the Steppes. We tried him back with the Grey Buzzard Eagles but they would not take him, they were still in incubation mode, although they are in disgrace because they broke two of their eggs, which was very disappointing. However the other pair have now finally laid, it will be interesting to see if they are fertile.
As I write the second Steppe Eagle is starting to hatch and so is the Condor, which is very exciting, both Holly and I will be very relieved when it is out safely.
I went plant shopping and bought a ton of plants with my birthday and Christmas vouchers, and have just spent the last two hours tidying up my courtyard, and the last few days weeding and planting, I still have a few to go and I hope the bloody rabbits don’t eat them. Oh and two days ago there was a Roe Deer buck in the field, that was a sight to see, and I heard my first cuckoo yesterday, it only cuckooed 1.5 times but it was there.
I was sent a link to a Wildlife programme made in Wales a couple of days ago, it features a Dr Rhys Jones, who works at Cardiff University. He is a herpetologist supposedly, but does this programme that rescues wildlife, or in the case of the Kestrel in the film, fails to rescue wildlife. All of us were incensed watching it, Firstly it was obviously desperately thin and he should immediately have taken it to an expert as he is most definitely not one on birds of prey, it should have been put in the warm and on fluids, through the night and it might have had a chance of pulling through. As it was he did none of that, at least not on the TV, instead he fed it mealworms, which it could hardly manage. He also did a bit on a snake in a shed, it turned out to be a gravid Grass Snake, so what does he do for the camera, but handle it until he upsets it enough that it goes into defence mode and squirts out a smelly fluid which they do if upset, and then it pretended to play dead. These people who deliberately upset wildlife just to look good on camera really piss me off. Dr Jones you need to come here and learn what to do with sick or injured birds of prey before you touch another one. I would be happy to teach you.
On our side all the injured wild birds that we had had in and that had been in a fit state to survive have done so and all have been released back the wild by the various people who brought them in. We did not upset them, wave them in front of camera’s we just did our job properly.
Linda and I went shopping at some mall near Bristol, the name escapes me, its really frustrating when you want jersey's and all the womens clothes are for summer and not a jersey to be seen, or at least not one I would be seen dead in. Even though it was bloody freezing outside, so I ended up buying three men's jerseys, which are cheaper as well! I also bought for the first time in 15 years new knickers!!! I bought 15 pairs to celebrate.
However the nicest sight we have seen recently is Hemp with a baby. Holly and I decided that as she had been so good with all the eggs we needed her to sit for us, we would try her with a chick, so she has a baby Spectacled Owl, and does she love it - oh yes, she thinks it is wonderful, it is a sight to behold.
Saturday, 6 April 2013
What a turn up for the books, today after weeks of bitterly cold wind and generally grey and cold weather – although very dry, today has been glorious and literally almost warm by the afternoon. Yesterday was bitter and very windy, although the day before was even worse and you could see that the birds were getting fed up with it, and apart from the Kites not flying quite as well the last four days. However today they all had a field day. I was particularly pleased with Pleiades (female Tawny Eagle) whom I thought might be lazy today with no wind, but she was a star and loved the warm and even managed to find a little bit of lift, I came out of the flying ground with a big grin. Fortina too was first class today and was gaining height even though she was the last bird of the day.
Yesterday was an interesting day. It was hectic to start with and we were short of flyers for the first demonstration because of an experience day and the wind, so I reckoned that Hare should be the right weight and could do his first demonstration of the year. He was the last bird, so started at about 11.45, and finally came down again at about 2.30. While he was in one of the many trees that he sat in that day, Sally came over the radio and mentioned that there was a car on fire in the car park. And it was most certainly on fire, in fact quite dramatic. We were worried that the petrol tank would go up and cause some damage. Luckily the poor family who owned the car had literally just arrived and so they were out of the car and safe. The fire engine arrived and all was put out, although the car was not a pretty sight. I spoke to the family a bit later and I would like to make a comment about the Prudential Insurance Company with whom they were insured. The husband phoned the company and bear in mind that at this point anyone would be shocked and stressed. The pratt on the other end of the phone said that they had to have the policy number, and he pointed out that the policy was in the car which had burnt. Eventually the insurance company woman hung up on him!!! Now I think that is disgraceful, surely insurance companies train their staff to cope with stressed and upset people and if they don’t, they bloody well ought to. I would like to bet that if you phoned your company and said that you wanted to insure another car, and just gave them your address they would find you with ease!! So be warned – don’t use the Prudential, they are not a pleasant or professional company in our opinion. Good job I was not on the end of the phone or I would have ripped them up hill and down dale!
Green Flag on the other hand collected the car before we had even closed, so they get brownie points. The rest of the day went OK, although it was cold and windy to the bitter end.
The baby Verreaux’s Eagle is doing very well and growing nicely. His or her parents are now rearing a baby Bald Eagle and doing a wonderful job. The chick which was with the Steller’s recovered from being cold and upset and on Tuesday we tried it with the Verreaux’s. It was a risk, but one that we felt worthwhile. They had had a Steppe’s Eagle egg last year, but the chick vanished. However this chick was large enough that they could learn how to care for it. They brooded it the first day, although they did better once we had removed the goose egg. The second day Holly watched the parents on the nest ledge and the male was feeding himself and the chick was trying to feed, then the female started to eat and the chick moved to her and each time she pulled a bit of rat off for herself, the chick took it, so after a few minutes she got the idea and was offering the food to the chick. It is an amazing thing to watch them learn and bodes really well for next year. We were all delighted.
My baby Savigny’s Eagle Owl is doing well, he is called Coll, the theme being British Islands, although some of my staff insist on calling him Collin, however they will grow out of it. And I like to point out that names are very important. I believe that if you have stupid or careless names it shows a lack of respect for the birds. We try to make sure that the birds have nice names that suit them and show them the proper respect that they deserve.
We are in a lull on hatching, just waiting for the next batch to arrive. Hopefully the new mincer which I have just bought, will arrive in time to be useful with feeding chicks. Although we have been having to chop up food for some of the injured wild birds as well. More have arrived in, roll on the weather change, so that the wild birds can have a chance at recovery.
Monday, 1 April 2013
Its April 1st, and the coldest Easter on record, but actually yesterday was really very pleasant, yes it was cold, but it was sunny most of the day and the birds flew just amazingly. We had one visitor who had been concerned about paying to come in and indeed I think two of them stayed in the car, when he left he said it was the most amazing place, quite fantastic and he would come again. It’s always so very difficult to encourage people that what they will see here is amazing and well worth the entry money.
Mark’s young Grey Buzzard Eagle was just staggering yesterday, he is almost unfailingly good and uses the wind really well, but yesterday as you will see in the picture, he got really ambitious and did the most amazing stoop. Holly and I were watching him from the Hawk Walk and we were really excited about it, so John got an even better view and the visitors were entranced. I have to say that Fortina also went brilliantly, both she and Alexandria and getting back to fitness and she had a whale of a time yesterday. Alexandria is more tricky, she is 11 years old now, and she had a couple of illnesses last year, so some days I think I will never get her fit again, and others she does really well, so we persevere and I am pretty sure she is having a good time with it.

The babies are doing well, the young Bald Eagle that we put with the Stellers had to come out though. When we put it in the Steller’s chick was about twice the size, but they were doing OK, now however the Stellers is nearly four times the size and the problem is with this interminable cold is affecting the young. When the parents get off to get food, or feed the chicks, it is so cold that they quickly lose heat and then don’t want to feed. So we have whipped the Bald Eagle away and will try it with another parent on Tuesday when more staff are in. However our most delightful hatching is our baby Verreaux’s eagle, he or she is doing well, five days old now, feeding and growing well and due to go to a foster parent in a week or so. We are really pleased about that. We also have a Hooded Vulture egg with the hooded vultures, and the Palmnuts have laid and so far the eggs are well, the new nests are making a difference and the eggs are not getting pushed around as much.
The Lanners had four eggs and we are double clutching them, the Sakers have laid and Sage is doing much better with Jack Danials, he looks like he will be a potential dad, which will be lovely, its not easy to find pure bred birds these days. We just hope the weather will break soon and we will have some warm dry weather to encourage everyone else to get on with laying.
It’s cold and grey today, but at least it is dry again. The mares have gone back home, Autumn is getting close to foaling, and my field has no grass left. I need to chain harrow and roll it now so that if the grass ever does start to grow again, it will have a good chance and the field needs to look good and be sound by the end of August for our Falconry Weekend!
And as usual, thanks to Linda for not only her staggering photo's, but her endless generousity in sharing them with us. And that thanks goes to all the photographers who are amazing with their support and their offering of photos, we really appreciate you all.


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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