Sunday, 30 June 2013
Well I did go and buy one!! Briza (which is the scientific name for quaking grass which is my favourite grass of all time) came and joined us last Saturday. She is twelve weeks old, which is older than I like and I was a little worried, but I should not have been she has settled in like she has been here for ever. I had wondered that with a new Lab, maybe, just maybe Shasta would not be bottom of the pile, wrong she still is! But she and Briza are playing together which is really nice to see.
Gluey is doing really well although now nicknamed One Jump Gluey, as that is all he will do for food!! However he is a different bird now and living with his younger but larger brother Middle Mouse and doing very well. Middle Mouse just had his TV debut on Newsround, and hopefully people will rush here to see him!
Not all has gone really well with the breeding, it is the usual roller coaster ride. We have all crossable things crossed because the Striated Caracara’s has just hatched a baby, so we are hoping that they will hatch the other one as well and rear both. They are such clever birds that we don’t want to interfere and we certainly don’t want to hand rear them. Sadly we had a great deal less luck with the second clutch of merlins, they got some infection, which literally killed three of them in about 12 hours, we managed to save the oldest and largest chick, and it is still on antibiotics, but it was a grave disappointment to lose three out of the four.
On the up side Taransay (baby Condor) is now getting huge!!! And she is starting to very dramatic jumps up in the air, with those great big furry wings she looks enchanting when she does it and the visitors love her.
We have had lovely visitors most of the time however we have had one who has complained and been a pratt on Trip Advisor. The first moan was that we don’t have hot water in the loos and he stated that was illegal – wrong chum, and let me tell you that the day some of my customers stop shoving tampax and sanitary towels and the hand towels down the loo, stop using enough lavatory paper for an elephant with diarrhea, learn to aim properly at the urinal (you would think they could do that wouldn’t you!) and turn off the taps and not leave them running, then and only then will I consider, and it will be consider, putting in hot water. Plus as a conservation centre we don’t believe in wasting either water or power, or my income. Then he complained that the baby changing facility was utterly basic, you are dead right mate, it is not only basic but it’s extremely old as well – am I going to put in one of those expensive pull down things that you see in some loos – that would be a resounding no!! Do you have one at home, I don’t think so. I don’t actually see why I should provide anything, it’s your choice to have children, learn to deal with them without expecting other people to fork out for them!! Then he wanted us to offer sponsorship of eagles for £10 and a goody bag!!! What an idiot ( not my first choice of words!) I wish people like this would have the balls to  a) put their real name on complaints, and b) have the guts to complain to me personally, except that they rarely do as usually they are afraid of me.
I managed to hurt my back this week, it has been going on nicely, but I stupidly picked up a tractor battery and moved it after spraying the car-park on Wednesday and I have done something that is pretty painful, so I am back on the drugs, which make me feel very light headed, but do mostly work. However the new Golf Cart is great and not only helps on the feed round (the dogs love it) but also means we can spray weeds without having the back pack on, which is heavy and slow.
My neighbour Mark has just topped the overflow car park and the small fields, they look great now. David lent me Robin and he trimmed all the hedges, Peter Dowle has two of his staff coming in one day a week to fight with the weeds in the flower beds and the gardens are starting to look lovely. I am so lucky. And next week I am going to tackle the rest of the spraying and getting the front of the house back to how it should be. I have a tricky week this week when I am away for most of it which means I get nothing done here which is frustrating and no doubt I will have a huge pile of emails to deal with when I get back.

We have six baby Snowy Owls that we are rearing and the parents have one of their own to look after. Mark wants to train up a female, so I hope we get the choice right! We have just taken the now full grown Bald Eagle away from its foster parents, and very soon we will move the baby Lanners out into an aviary away from adults so they can grow up a little before we start to train them. The kites are doing very well and the one baby from the second clutch has joined the first three and is doing fine.

It’s nearly July – where does the time go and I have to get down to tidying up the website and the Falconry Weekend one as well, I just don’t have enough hours in the day.
Tuesday, 18 June 2013
No Rant today, too bloody tired, 12 – 14 hour days are OK for the young, but I am worn out!! OK not that worn out, although I have to say I do wonder where I get my energy – because I have no idea!!!
So what has happened in the last whatever it is that I last wrote. Sorrel is NOT having pups which is a big blow and I am getting puppy withdrawal symptoms, I may have to go and buy one!!
The birds are well, the breeding season is nearly over thank God!! It has been a good one, and we are generally pleased with what we bred. There are always ups and downs, joyous successes and sad failures, but Holly has done brilliantly, and she should be very proud of herself, we are all proud of her. I should add that without the excellent support of the other staff,  John, Jimmi, Helen, Robin and Mark, she would be even more tired than she is, but the team have done well and I am very proud of all of them. Of course I should say that none of them can skin a rat with quite the aplomb as I can!!
I should tell you about Gluey though. One of the five Long Eared Owl eggs started life in the incubators with a large hole in it, made by its mother. Holly covered the hole with glue (hence the name) and we did not expect it to hatch. However despite our concerns, it did and we were delighted. But all did not go well, he quickly went downhill and so put him on antibiotics, he improved, but then dropped back again, so with the advice of Neil we changed the antibiotics. Things went better for a while and then he got ill again, we took him to Neil’s, and he was prescribed a different antibiotic, again things improved and again after time he went downhill. We had to take Delectable to have her back toe amputated, it had become fixed in the wrong position and was causing problems (that went well and she is recovering very very well!) so I took Gluey in again, he had a very high white cell count and was very anemic (actually when Neil took the blood you could see through it which horrified me more than Neil), so different antibiotics ( he is by now the most expensive damn Long-eared Owl in the world!!!) and I am very pleased to say that he is so much better, that both Holly and I are for the first time more positive that he will actually survive, which we were not before. In the interim period he pinched out all bar one flight feather and he has seven tail feathers instead of twelve so his flying is more like falling. But they are growing back and he is the most charming person you could wish to meet. He does need a name change, but I suspect that Gluey will, as Holly says, probably stick!

Taransay the baby Condor is doing well, although still reliant on chopped food, we have tried her with whole chicks and half a rat, but she just sucks them into oblivion!!
The gardens are looking good, I had to give up and ask Peter Dowle for help, they were just getting away from us, so I have two of his people coming in one day a week for the next ten weeks, by which time I hope we will get back on track.  I do need a full time garden though.

We did Spring watch in the Afternoon about three weeks ago, the midges over there were awful and I was bitten to hell but the birds were very good, and I then had to go over there again (why do Springwatch have to choose such damn out of the way places to film) with Greeves to do Springwatch Unsprung which went well I think, Greeves was very good.
A very good friend of mine Barbara Handley, who was Chairman, driving force and person extraordinaire on the Hawk and Owl Trust, died the week before last. I had known her since I was 20 and she was a good friend. She died of cancer and very quickly and I miss her as will the Hawk and Owl Trust.

We are just getting close to the stage of training some of the new birds, the baby Lanners are starting to fledge in the aviaries and will be taken away from parents soon to finish growing up mentally. The three baby kites have started their handling and training. We now have a baby Great Grey Owl from Chris Barnard – thanks Chris, he is lovely and settling well. Middle Mouse – Gluey’s younger sibling is doing demonstrations already and is very nice, although he did almost write off the till by crapping in it!!
That is about it, or at least as much as I can remember after two hours of weeding in front of the house and two glasses of wine!


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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