Monday, 25 August 2014

Gosh what a gap Sedge has left! It was the hardest thing to drop him off, hand over all his stuff (there was a lot of it - towels, coats, food, bowls, wheels and so on!) and then drive away. It seems very quiet here without him and I can actually get to the phone in the shop again. However I have heard how he is doing, and he is very happy and being spoilt I would guess! He was on the sofa with Amanda (his new best friend) Fly the sheep dog and a cat (amazing). He has two new jersey's to keep him warm and some leg warmers, some toys and has already had a game with Fly. So I guess I need not worry (but probably will for a bit) And now Shasta is not well, not sure what it is yet, but I have already spoken to the vet and we are working on it.
The flying demonstration at the Essex Dog Day went really well, it is a lovely show, really nice people, a great arena and the perfect tree just outside of it for Bay Middleton to fly in and out of. All the birds were faultless, it was still and warm, so they all managed much better than last weekend where it was very windy on the top of the Cotswolds. Hare did some lovely flying, and Karis pulled off one of his stunning stoops even though he is moulting like mad.
Today sadly, as it is a Bank Holiday and the last one of the year for us as we are not open over Christmas (thank goodness) it is a little bleak, very damp, and although the mizzley rain has gone, it bodes badly for later in the day. I hope it all dries up so that next weekend is good, that will suffice I think.
Thanks as ever to Linda for the lovely photos
My merlin has been flying well as have the three young first clutch lanners, Mark and I are training the two in the second clutch. We have two Sakers coming next week as well, it is hard to find pure ones these days. My new Hare replacement (so he can have a summer off for a really good moult) is a young male Grey Buzzard Eagle, the brother to the female I took up for Charlie on Thursday, he is lovely although very vocal, however I think that will ease as he gets going. The baby Brahminy Kite now called Zephyr, is flying free and will be lovely in the future and the last of the Yellow Billed Kite babies is out and will start training very soon.
The two baby snowy owls that we are keeping are doing well, Mark is training the female and I have to get sorted to do the male. Now Sedge is gone and I am up to scratch with most of my paperwork, I hope to get going, until of course I have to go to India and Nepal September 15th, sometimes it seems very endless!
Other than that, we are hoping that the Falconry Weekend is its usual big success, we have some lovely people flying birds as well as the teams here and Holly has a great idea for next year! The workshop is getting close to being done so we can take down the old one, I am seriously looking forward to going through everything in there and having a big sort out. The tiles for the Incubation Facility are here and will be down by the end of the week, so we move on slowly as ever.
Most importantly I hope that the charitable status will be fixed by the end of October, and that will hopefully make a difference to us here, fingers crossed. And soon Autumn will be here - my favourite time of the year.
Tuesday, 19 August 2014
To my utter joy and thankfulness, four people have contacted me about Sedge, one from Scotland who works with owls, but sadly that is too far away for us. One lady who does hydrotherapy in Dorset who wanted to help. One wonderful lady from Essex who lost her disabled daughter two years ago and could manage him, and one who has met Sedge at his Hydrotherapy at Cotswold Dog Spa at Hartpury, and loved him, has  one dog and two daughters and an Aga, all of which are perfect for Sedge. They came over today and saw him in his home environment and are going to have him. He will sleep in one of the girls bedroom - what a treat for him, he will go to shows with them, they show sheep, he will love that, go to Hartpury college and generally have a much better time than here, plus he will still go to Karen at Hydrotherapy and he adores her, so that will be great. I am going to take him over to them on Friday after work.
Will I miss him of course, he has been a part of my life for five years and a huge part since his accident, will he be better off - absolutely, he hates the puppies and will be a part of a family there in a way that I can't give him. They have said they will do a Facebook page for him so you will be able to keep up with his escapades, which is wonderful.
I am driving up to ICBP Helmsley on Thursday, we have a lovely young female Snowy Owl, who is at the stage she needs to be learning in Charlie's flying field, not ours, so I am taking her up there. Plus a female Grey Buzzard Eagle ready to train. Both need to start working this week. I then have to go to Essex on Sunday to the Essex Dog Day to give a demonstration. They are lovely people over there and its a really nice flying arena. It will be the last external show of the summer although I have one at a school in October, but that will be a different team of birds by then. So its a week of long drives.
We have gone through the programme for the Falconry Weekend and it is looking good, I need to put it up on the websites as soon as I can. We have some lovely people coming to fly birds and work dogs, which is nice to know, all I hope for is great weather to help us through the weekend.
It is starting to feel autumnal now, the very hot weather has gone and it is much cooler. We have managed to get away with flying outside for most of the demonstrations in the last two days, only half of one was inside. The Hawthorn is laden with berries this year, someone is bound to say that means we are going to be in for a hard winter!! I have just made some plum vodka and some peach vodka and next I need to pick the damsons and make some damson gin, then we will be set up for Christmas!!!
Wish Sedge and his new family the best of luck, I do. Oh and have a look at this clip on YouTube!
Thursday, 14 August 2014
Indigo and Rush as babies
Get that ball Indigo!
The end of an era, I have lost Indigo, he was the last of my original line and the last one who went and came back from the long long sojourn in the US. He was thirteen and a half, a good age for my Labradors, and he had suddenly started to show his age in the last three months. He was very arthritic in his elbows, and then on Thursday he suddenly went lame, very lame behind. So I took him to Eden's on Friday and he had ruptured his cruciate ligament. At his age it is inoperable and anyway keeping him in a crate which is what you are supposed to do for six weeks would have made him miserable. I brought him home and we tried pain killers, but they really did nothing. So I organised for Eden to come

out and put him down on Tuesday. Indigo insisted on coming upstairs to bed each night, which for the last couple of nights was a huge effort on both of our parts, on the trip up at night and back down in the morning. But that was Indigo, a brave a loyal boy. He is now buried next to his brother Rush in the woods and I miss him daily, as do we all.
An old and valiant man
The younger generation grow apace, Agapanthus is a big puppy, almost twice the size of his sister Night Shade, but they are both charming people. They are vaguely related to Indigo through his dad, but it is really hard to keep a blood line through the males, much easier through the girls of which I now have four.
I have also put out a plea on Facebook, or at least Holly is going to put it up for me tomorrow, looking for a home for Sedge. He hates the puppies, and he would make such a great friend to someone who is a dog person without a dog at the moment and who works from home. He is great fun in his cart and not that much effort if he is the only person you have to worry about. Here is hoping I can find him a lovely lovely home.
Birds are well, we have split up Lammerlaw and Faraday the African Fish Eagles as we have a new
male for Lammerlaw and she and Faraday are siblings which is not good for breeding. The two boys are next to one another and being pretty vocal right now. My Merlin, Windward is starting to fly quite well and we have just got out my new young male Grey Buzzard Eagle, what a lovely looking boy, I hope he flies well and is nicer than Scorpius who does not like me and the feeling is mutual!! The three new Lanners are going loose and the last two now out for training and we hope to add two new Sakers to the team as well.
I have started to paint the Incubation Facility - white for a change, rather than the usual magnolia. It has been an interesting day weatherwise and we had a thunderstorm all around us for the last demonstration, but just about got away without the rain until 5.30, which was jolly decent of it.
Its definitely juvenile buzzard year, we have two that are about ready to go if I can find someone to hack them back, a very weird one who's wings and tail appear not to have grown yet, but I think they are coming and the most beautiful very pale bird, who went back to the wild today.
Next task, a show at the weekend, and then one next sunday and then the Falconry Weekend, which if the weather is good should be a first class weekend.
Monday, 11 August 2014
The weeks fly by, the weather has been stunning apart from yesterday and even now it is beautiful out there,  the rain has filled and cleared the pond, the plants and trees are looking washed, clean and happy and everything has a fresh look to it.
I have been to South Africa, I offered to help a group called Vulpro, run, conceived and driven by Kerri Wolter. She/they are working with injured wild vultures from all over South Africa. They are also working on breeding them using the non releasable birds. They are at a crossroads where I think they will be very important to African vulture conservation and I hope I was able to help.
Africa's vultures are in trouble. Every time you hear about elephants or rhinos being poisoned by these disgusting poachers bear in mind that hundreds and probably thousands of other animals and birds will die as well. All the scavengers, vultures, hyena's, jackals, hunting dogs, crows, egrets, ibis, these are just a few of those that will be affected by this revolting trade in animal death. Add to that the indirect poisoning by local farmers to protect their domestic livestock, the Muti market, which is the use of thousands of dead animals and birds for tribal medicine and last collisions and electrocutions on power lines, not to mention wind power which will have a bad effect on vultures as well.
In some ways the problems for vultures in South Asia
are much easier to deal with if only the governments would see it and get more involved.
It was good to see a couple of old friends in Africa and to get to eat beef biltong again though. I suspect I will go out again to help if needed and if I can afford it again!
I had my painting skirt on on Friday, which actually looks much like most of my skirts these days, a little old!! But this one has more paint on it that all the others. We have just put a proper gate where there were two old bits of metal fencing to stop the dogs from going next door. And I managed to paint it and myself black!! The gate looks rather smarter than I do.

I was going to start on painting the new Incubation facility, but did not get round to it, that will be a task for the evenings I suspect.
The three new Lanners are flying well, all three should be loose by the end of today, my merlin, called Windward is going well, although still flying like a wasp round a jam sandwich. The young owls are all doing well and I think the two Snowy Owls are going to be very good. We still have two more Lanners to get out and a new Grey Buzzard Eagle for me so I can give Hare a rest from shows. We have one kite left so we will train that one to join the team as well. Mark is most of the way through training the new Kestrel and we are hoping he will be as good as Nijinski was.
Our new birds staff member starts on September 1st, the day after the Falconry Weekend, and will go onto the seven day falconry course that is running from the start of the second week. We have an exciting weekend lined up for August 30 and 31st, apart from our birds flying, Gary Biddiss will be here with his birds, Nigel King is keeping secret what he is going to fly, Trevor Fowles is going to bring his Bald Eagle which by all reports is very good, and Bob Dalton is going to fly his falcon as well. We have TWO book signings and possibly three, not sure about the last one yet. David Cobham is going to be signing his new book 'A Sparrow Hawk's Lament'  on Saturday. which is a great read with wonderful illustrations by Bruce Pearson. Helen MacDonald is going to be signing her book H is for Hawk, on both days, so it is going be a very special Falconry Weekend - don't miss it!


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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