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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