Friday, 14 February 2014
The one downside of growing your finger nails is that they appear to be extremely vulnerable to day to day life, although it could be that my day to day life may not be the norm. I was a world class nail biter, down to the quick and beyond, when Mother died I gave it up and grew them, sort of for her because she always had nice nails, however on my somewhat awful stay in the US I started again and up until about three months ago had continued. For some reason unknown to myself I then started to grow them, although it was partly because Holly has grown hers (on occasion!). But, moving bricks and concrete blocks, gardening, digging, building and so on are all just murder on the nails!! As for clearing drains, well my dear – forget it.
And clearing drains is what I have just been doing, in the heaviest torrential downpour to date. None of the drains were coping, so I cleared the ones in the car park, and the ones by my back gate and bailed out the area in front of the weighing room, and at the same time had a really good idea about the drainage there!  Up until this week, apart from the grounds being saturated and a couple of spots on the paths developing springs, we have done quite well, however on Wednesday one of the large Leylandii trees at the back of the car park came down – exactly where Jimmi parks his Landrover – and he had just moved it to go to Newent, talk about lucky.

The tree took down the phone line to the flats, and sadly that means you none of you can see the delightful sight of the baby vulture who is now back with mum and dad and they are being wonderful. We are on the case and hope to get the line back up and then you can see him or her.  Back to the tree, as the phone line was down and I had wanted to cut down most of those trees anyway, this seemed to be a good opportunity and the weather on Thursday (yesterday) was going to be good, so I phoned David Morton and asked if he could come and help. Well in the night the rest of the biggest tree came down, missing all staff cars, which had sensibly been moved!! Missing the greenhouse, but totally wiping out the workyard fence, which surprisingly Mark and I had been discussing about moving anyway – it would be fair to say it has definitely been moved now!
So yesterday David and Robin his henchman cut down the trees, we picked up and took to the horse field and burnt all the branches and everything except the big stuff. It totalled 11 trees in all and we managed to complete the job, including clearing up before dark. Good job too, because we would have had more down today in the wind that we have right now.
At the end of January we had the dead Beech tree in the field cut down, actually that does not show as much as the trees in the car park. We also took down the huge Eucalyptus tree in the Hawk Walk as it was dangerous, it makes it much lighter and cleaner although I do miss the tree, there is a hazel growing up behind where it was.

We have our last two owl evenings of the season ( the next ones don’t start until November) tonight and tomorrow night. We must have answered a ton of phone calls to ask if we are still going ahead, and we are but we will have to fly indoors, it would not be safe for the owls or the guests outside. Very very sadly we will not have Cool Ground for these or any other Owl Evenings, he had not been well, and on a trip to the vet we discovered that he had cancer. We brought him home and made his last days as comfortable as possible and Neil very kindly came over early on Wednesday morning and put him down. He leaves a huge gap in our lives because we all loved him and his aviary stands very empty. We dedicate these Owl Evenings to him.

It's tough having birds that you love because you know in the end you will lose them. On the other side, the Hooded Vulture egg is fertile, so fingers crossed for that, as are the two Verreaux’s Eagle eggs which are now in the incubators – everything crossed for them! The baby vulture is back with mum and the Steller’s now have two eggs and the African Fish Eagles one. I am most looking forward to the Hooded vulture and the African Fish Eagles, if they hatch they will of course stay here. I have first call on the African Fish Eagle if it is fertile and hatches!!! We planned to keep and train an Asian Brown Wood Owl, a Spectacled Owl, and now two new Snowy Owls, so there will be plenty going on in the next few months that is for sure.
It's coming up for half term, so come and see us. I will sadly not be here as I leave for India on Sunday to do a week of work with the vulture project over there. I hope to bring back some nice photos for you all to see.
Sunday, 2 February 2014

We made it through to another year! We re-opened yesterday, actually the weather was not quite as awful as forecast, however it was not great, but we did manage to fly almost everyone, either indoors or outdoors. We had many of our members come to see us and it was lovely to see them and a few brave non-members as well.


Today the weather is better, at least the wind has more or less gone and we have been able to fly outside for most of the day. Mark’s Merlin Megstone is about ready to go loose again. My Hobby is nearly there although it has a tail that is part hers and part various Merlins as well!! But it works and that is the main thing.


Muckle Row, the Red Kite was amazing yesterday, completely unphased by being indoors and actually did circuits in there as well, I was most impressed. I was less impressed when Benbecula bit my eyebrow though!      


Hilbre who is new, our Striated Caracara did her first proper outside demonstration today and was very focused, she needs all sorts of interesting things to do as they are super bright and tough to manage if they get bored. So John is planning on different things for her to achieve. Oh and Helen flew her first falcon on demo too, they both did well.


All flew well today, apart from Tiapan who did a brief disappearing act and then arrived back in the Play Area, very puffed. The big problem with peregrines is that they do enormous circuits and before they are fit they run out of steam!!

Very sadly my lovely male Sparrow hawk Deneb managed to kill himself by eating quail and getting a bit stuck in his throat two days ago. I had put him in for the night as it was cold and left him happily eating a quail, only to find him dead on the floor of the box in the morning, which was desperately upsetting. He was starting to go so well and looked stunning in his adult plumage. It was just sheer bad luck.
On the other side, the Verreaux’s now have two eggs, and we have an egg from the Hooded Vultures as well. We have to hatch that one from fresh as she broke two last year. So it is safely in the incubator and she is sitting on a goose egg. Fingers crossed for them. The Palm Nut Vultures are looking interested as well, and the Golden Eagles have just been given and demolished their fourth nest!
Come and see us, we need the visitors............


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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