Friday, 27 December 2013
Adult Male African Fish Eagle (Linda Wright!)
Time for a bit of a rant I think. I just watched Earth Flight well at least I did until I got too angry to watch it. Someone needs to give all these cameramen and probably the editors a lesson in ethics. If you know your birds you can see that to get the large flocks flying dramatically (away from them please note) so that they can have dramatic film, they are either flying a remote helicopter with a camera or a small plane over to upset the birds, it is so obvious and in my book totally unacceptable. If these birds are stressed in that way and yes of course it is stressful for them, it just makes their survival that little bit harder. I don’t know my mammals as well as my bird, but I have concerns about how they get the footage they do with many of the hunts. A little more thought about the wildlife and a little less about dramatic film would be a good idea. 
Ruppell's Vulture
The pictures from the Ruppells vulture and the African Fish Eagle which are from camera’s mounted on their backs are very poor and very misleading, as I suspect the backgrounds were put on afterwards in most cases. The species of the vulture that is being spoken about changes several times – do these people think we don’t notice!!!
No your average vulture does not fly at five miles high, one Ruppell’s vulture was recorded at 36000 above sea level, and please note that is sea level, it did not state how high the land was  below it, and this a onetime siting I might add. And normally vultures are flying at up to 10,000 at the most. Why do these presenters always want to give you the utmost fact without qualifying it with the norm. Its again misleading and can be dangerous to the species. However I suspect they don’t think about consequences, they are only out to get the most spectacular film regardless of how they get it.
African White-backed Vulture
I was just sent a link for a CBBC series – Deadly I think it was, the camera crew actually came here and we tested their ring of camera’s for them in my field, and actually the birds were amazing and I think we could have got some great stuff. They said they wanted to get wild footage of a Bald Eagle snatching a fish from the circle of camera’s – I have to say, knowing raptors as I do, I was pretty sure they would fail, and what we got was some very average footage of a trained Bald Eagle with overly long jesses picking up a floating bit of plastic with a bit of fish tied to it!! – out of a large black bin full of water. Then you saw some very poor flying of a trained peregrine (the usual 200 MPH quoted) flying to the presenter swinging a lure, well sort of swinging it. The back ground was heavily treed and the bird maybe got to about 100 feet, the speed was probably about 50 – 60 mph!! They would have done better to film it here with us, our falcons don’t have over grown beaks, and the background is a lot more open.
Oh and by the way team, the Bald Eagle is not one of the largest eagles in the world. The White-tailed Sea-eagle is larger as a general rule and the Steller’s Sea-eagle makes a Bald Eagle look tiny!!!
Why don’t you ask experts to help you with your commentaries, it would be far more sense.
Have you noticed how many adverts there are for gambling on the TV, all this bingo rubbish, how to get people to lose their hard earned cash, it’s a great shame in this age of hardship, still not to worry there are about as many adverts for loan sharks on there as well so if you lose all your cash gambling you can borrow more at an exorbitant rate of interest. And then if you fall over a stone, or trip down some stairs, you can use one of these lovely lawyers who tout for business, I have always thought that the fact that you see the adverts of the back of lavatory doors is extremely telling!!
Ah well, back to work!
Thursday, 26 December 2013

Boxing Day, a heavy frost and then mist rose with the sun, but now its a clear and beautiful day, the birds are fed, food ready for tomorrow and late breakfast done. Christmas day was also beautiful, although I did feel very much for all those poor people who were affected by floods and no power. It is time we put all power lines underground, it would make the country far more beautiful, put value on tons of houses, mean far less power cuts or lines affected by the weather and less wildlife would get killed.
I was invited by my cousins over the way for Christmas lunch which was lovely, I had seen them on Christmas Eve because I had the usual drinks party here at home, which I think went well, apart from Shasta landing on someone's lap and spilling their mulled wine - a little tactless but they are not used to lots of people in the house.
The Christmas tree was done just in time and all was ready but with no Midnight mass at the local church, I did get to bed in reasonable time for a change. The weather has not been great, very windy and a ton of rain, I am only glad that I live up fairly high, so flooding is unlikely to happen, although we did have a ridge piece on the Eagle Barn try to lift off, but the lads got it safely sorted before it actually broke.
We just about got away with the weather and the last Owl Evening by the skin of our teeth. The forecast the previous day was awful, but it improved as time went on and so the wind and rain was not due to start severely until after 8.00 pm, so we changed the format for the last one and did the outside flying of the three large owls immediately after the guided tours had all finished, then had the meal and ended up with the two smaller owls flying indoors, which meant the weather did not matter at the end. And it worked, it was very gusty nevertheless, but the owls managed OK just about. We had a lovely group and now all the owls are stuffed full of food until mid-January when some of them will be got going again for the February Owl Evenings and the early part of the season for our visitors. We have a cunning plan as well, we are going to start to do Evening Owl Handling and flying experiences in the Autumn, that should be very special indeed. Only six people on them and flying owls in the dark – how cool is that!!
The Hospital and Clinic look great, all done now, and a pleasure to work in,  cleaning the boxes and feeding birds in there is a joy with the pull out tray on the floor. I have always wanted to do that design and it works a treat which is very gratifying! The garage for the cars is done and all plus my trailer are safely under cover which is really nice to know. Next job is to sort out the workshop in January, and re-roof the tiny owls and the flying owls because the Onduline has had its day. That should not be too big a job I hope. We also re-roofed the lean-to outside the Clinic so it does not leak.
 My staff had their Christmas Party on Saturday evening and I gather they all looked wonderful and behaved!! And no I did not go, I loathe big parties and a lot of noise and discos are my idea of hell!! So I  always wish them the happiest of times and sit quietly here and look after birds, dogs and the fish, I get to feed round the following day as well because they tend to be suffering !!
The dogs hate the weekends in December and January as there is no official coffee time, they don’t really like the period between Christmas and the New Year either as there are no staff around, and they miss them all – oh and the toast at coffee time. Briza has just eaten my carol sheets!
I went Carol singing last Wednesday, I have to say it was a somewhat unpleasant experience because it was a howling gale and pouring with rain, by the end of about half an hour I had not a dry stitch of clothing on! After about an hour and a half one of the others said they were too wet and cold to continue, for which I was very relieved, as I was about to say the same thing. I don’t think I have walked home from the village quite so fast ever. It took a shower and a bath to warm me up again.
I have to say that the threatened coldest winter on record for 100 years has not yet materialized, in fact it has been about the mildest so far. 
I am pleased to say that I could get into all my Christmas presents without a chain saw!! And lovely they all were, thank you to all. I got some new hinges the other day for the new cupboards and could I get the plastic off, some is still on there. Its ridiculous, why to hinges need to be shrink wrapped in plastic, I actually scratched the metal trying to get it off.  NO MORE PLAS|TIC!!
Monday, 16 December 2013
I have been painting, it is that time of the year. First I painted a new cupboard that has nearly been completed in the utility room. The cupboard is designed to keep everything, bins, wellies, shoes, salt for the water softener – all safe from thieving Labradors!!! Then over the last two weekends I have been painting the inside of the clinic. I have to admit it is a holding job because the walls in there are very damp and what we really need to do is take out all the kitchen units, strip off the plaster board and start again. But for the time being, we have a ton of things to finish before opening again in February and so it will have to wait a bit. A good coat of oil based paint will do the trick temporarily I hope. So it’s starting to look pretty good, John has done all the second, third and fourth coats!!! It should be finished by tomorrow. And the hospital is just about done so we had a major clear up in there today, it is looking stunning. Some staining of wood tomorrow and a couple of other things and it will be a done deal.
Adam Crisford asked me to put this up, go to his website,
 he is selling it and some of the funds will go to the hospital

Owl Evenings have been going well and Chris Sperrin from the Hawk and Owl Trust came up and did an Owl Prowl for our members. It was the day of all the wind, but thankfully the wind dropped in the evening and the event went well. I hope that we can do a few more, although it will be hard to be as good as Chris at mimicking owl calls – he is quite brilliant at it!!! Still there is always a phone apt that is pretty good!!!

We had a corporate Christmas Do on Friday, which was seamless, and they definitely got value for money. We started at 2.30 pm and finally finished up at nearly 10.00pm. My staff are wonderful, they worked really hard, including serving and clearing up afterwards, we did have fun though!!! Then on Sat we had the second last Owl Evening, boy we were lucky with the weather. The wind was very strong and made the guided tours a little tricky, but it kindly dropped in time for us to fly the owls outside and then the rain did not start until people were gone!

The new garage is just about finished, it is so nice to see the trailer, land Rover and new Range Rover sitting comfortably under cover. The van is also under cover outside the clinic.
We are down to just a few birds flying and all the owls will be grounded over Christmas. Then in the New Year we start again. We are keeping a couple of Harris Hawks going for staff that want to hunt them over Christmas and we are flying the two new eagles up until Christmas Eve, also the new Striated Caracara who is lovely.

Sorrel was NOT pregnant, which was very disappointing, we will try once more and then I guess the local sheep dog will probably succeed!!

Question for written answer E-012751/2013 to the Commission Rule 117 Andrea Zanoni (ALDE)

Subject: Continuing poaching of migratory birds in Cyprus, in breach of the Birds Directive 2009/147/EC, and violence against members of CABS

In Cyprus, there is widespread poaching of migratory birds flying across the island, with a thriving illegal market. This is due, in particular, to the existence of a local traditional dish called ambelopoulia, made up of small wild birds that are skinned and grilled whole, or pickled in vinegar. This dish has been illegal on the island since the 1970s, but sadly, is still widespread. Twice a year, therefore, CABS (Committee Against Bird Slaughter) organises an anti-poaching camp aimed at removing the tools used by local residents to capture live birds, such as mistletoe sticks, clap nets and electronic decoy devices. If these tools are on private property, the volunteers report the matter to the local police, who then seize the tools and start criminal proceedings against those responsible. The volunteer activists also seek out dishes based on these birds, which are illegally sold in restaurants, grocery stores, butcher shops, etc.

As reported by the CABS volunteers, cooperation with the local authorities responsible 
in particular the APS Anti-Poaching Squad, Game Fund guards and authorities on the British SBA military base  was particularly successful in 2011 and 2012 and paid off with an increasing number of poachers being reported. However, the 2013 anti-poaching camp was characterised by a U-turn by the Cypriot authorities, who have withdrawn their support and obstructed the volunteers, despite the latter reporting the dangerous and isolated situation they were in and despite repeated acts of violence against them. The volunteers, in fact, have had the tyres of a car parked in front of the entrance to the Cape Greko National Park slashed, have been repeatedly chased by cars, threatened, were once beaten up and bludgeoned and, last but not least, robbed of a camera and a mobile phone.

Can the Commission therefore answer the following questions:
1. What measures does it intend to take to ensure compliance with the Birds Directive in Cyprus and react to the infringements currently taking place?
2. Does it not agree that the time is ripe to commence infringement proceedings in relation to this matter?
3. Will it contact the Cypriot authorities to discover why have changed their attitude, when previously they had given their maximum cooperation to the CABS volunteers?

This will be interesting to watch for the answer, its about time the EU put its money where its mouth is.


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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