Wednesday, 30 December 2015
What a wet soggy windy December and Christmas! I got soaked to the skin today taking the dogs out, I clean my kitchen and within about five hours it is covered in dust again as the mud on the dogs dries out - very tedious.

We did some nice filming with Country File, the people were all charming and very nice to work with, Ellie was excellent with the birds, impressively so, even with Moccas who is not small as we all know. It will be shown on January 17th

I had a very pleasant Christmas, David Morton came round and helped with the feeding round, which was a learning experience for him, I then went for lunch with Alice as per usual, which was delicious, the only down side is that because I don't cook a turkey I never get cold turkey which is almost better than hot turkey, ah well, its worth it knowing I have a lovely Christmas lunch without the work. Came home, took the dogs out, and tried to watch TV but I have to say Christmas TV really is appalling these days. I did watch the last episode of Downton Abbey, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and spoke to my sister in Scotland, my sister in New York and emailed my brother in New Zealand and they all have had the flu - so I have managed to get away without it.

All birds are OK and coping with the damp and the wind. We took Moccas over to Wales on the 28th to show my benefactor her flying, she did pretty well considering there actually was no wind for a change.

Then on the 28th I had noticed some rising water in the car park, but had hoped it was a spring
It is going to look great - eventually!
because of all the rain, however yesterday it was most definitely not a spring it was a mains leak, so I phoned Mike who came over and not only found the leak but discovered that the meter in the field next door which is our meter was pouring out water. So I phoned Severn Trent and I have to say I was very very pleasantly surprised, I got a real person, he was very helpful and within an hour two vans and three very nice men were in the carpark, and not only sorted out the meter leak but helped us with the one near the freezer shed as well. It was so nice to have something like this happen in this day and age so Well Done Severn Trent Water 10 out of ten in my book.

On the other hand I bought a new cooker before Christmas a Rangemaster and it is not working properly. I tried to phone them before Christmas and after waiting 12 minutes with their recorded message I gave up and sent them an email after Christmas, I have heard nothing yet which is annoying. It may be something that I could fix, but unfortunately Agapanthus ate the instruction book!

My wallet is back with all the stuff I did not want to lose apart from the money. I hope they have a very difficult time trying to change the english money and I hope they freeze in my coat!

The house roof is nearly finished thank God, I will be glad to see the back of the scaffolding, which as you can see is not frightfully attactive, but it is lovely to have the roof safe again.

So what else, I have finally finished the Business Plan, apart from the budgeting which I hate loath and detest and have no idea how to do anyway. I have finished an article I was supposed to write, I am sort of up to date with emails. I need to organise two events before the end of May and I desperately need to find someone who can help us with writing grants to get lots of money to do the business plan, so if any of you know one, please send them in my direction.

I am going go Scotland on the 4th to see my sister Anna and back on the 8th in time to have a meeting to do the BUDGET - Oh joy!! And get on with all the work in the Hawk Walk. Our newest member of staff arrives on the 4th as well. Oh and if anyone wants to volunteer during the week after the 8th - I have lots to do!

Happy New Year One and all.
Friday, 4 December 2015
The good news is that my wallet minus any money has been found. That is really good because you can't get a National Insurance card anymore, trying to get a replacement driving license is a nightmare and all the other stuff I had in there I was starting to miss. Still have not sorted out all the debit card problems, but that is happening slowly. I will be glad to see my wallet back. However I am going to now have an away wallet and a home wallet and the away wallet will have bugger all in it apart from neccessities! A lesson learned.

Other good news is that I went on Ebay and found a replacement Barbour. My old stolen one was a 2000 version and so no longer made but I found a couple on Ebay and one arrived today and is perfect which is wonderful. I have bought two so will wait to see what the other one is like.

Mark looking really scary!
The African Fish Eagle now called Mathon is flying really well, he looks like he is going to be a great success. My African Goshawk is now flying loose and called Dinder, she is very funny, she is a bit bad tempered and keeps threatening me but there is not much of her so it just makes me laugh. She finally learnt how to go up into a tree properly today and did it several times.

The weather has been dire, nothing but wind and rain or wind or more rain. We are in the midst of an Owl Evening right now and I am thanking the Lord - (thanks Lord) that it was not on last night as that would have been awful.

My model farm is slowly progressing, Helen had a good idea for making hills, so I am going to try that soon. I have just caught up with all my emails which is making me feel good as well. Need to paint the ceiling in the utility room, and do a couple of other things in the house, hopefully by next weekend. This coming one is the first one off since January - yippee.

Ah well better go and check out the mulled wine and fly some owls.
Thursday, 26 November 2015

A proper shower, what a treat, one of the nicest things when you get home from a trip, is a proper shower. Guaranteed hot water, not having to run around trying to find a drip or two, you can actually have one without clamping your mouth shut so as to avoid swallowing any. Just a joy. I am so glad to be home again.

I have to say that this trip for the SAVE meeting has been full of rotten luck for me. We arrived in India on the 17th with an extremely scary landing with Air India not to be repeated I hope!  We then flew on to Kathmandu, however the plane which was supposed to get us there by about 9.30 was delayed so we did not arrive at the hotel until the afternoon. By the following day I had already lost my alarm clock. The first day of the meeting went well, I was glad I had remembered to take a jersey as it was pretty cold in the evenings and we ate every meal out in the garden as the dining room was not large enough for all the people. Late that evening I found my alarm clock inside the pillow case! I had to chair a number of the sessions, which went well until the mid-morning when the whole room tremored and I experienced my first earthquake. Everyone moved swiftly out of the room and within minutes one of them had discovered that the measurement of the earth quake was 5.2. After several minutes we all went back into the room and carried on as if nothing has happened!

At the end of the second day of meetings, including the Board meeting we all broke up and then went
outside for a celebration meal. The lock on my room door had been causing me huge problems so I decided to get my coat, but put my wallet in the inner pocket, just to keep it safe – wrong move sadly. There was a fire on the lawn and we all sat round it, so after I had warmed up I took off my coat and sat on it. You can imagine what happened. Left at about 10.00pm without my coat. At 7.00am I got up the next morning, instantly remembered about my coat, but not a sign was to be found. So my favourite brown Barbour jacket that I had had for 15 years and had been all around the world with me, plus my wallet with money, debit card, driving license, social security number, train tickets home, and a whole load of other stuff that I suspect I will miss over time having forgotten what was in there, was gone.
I had to fly down to Chitwan where the Nepalese conservation breeding season to check that things were going OK there early that morning. So I left at 8.30 minus coat and wallet, hoping that it might be found. Chris sent an email to home to tell them to stop my card, which unfortunately went to the wrong email and never got seen. It was useful to see the vulture centre and as the various questions needed. Because India is boycotting Nepal for some reason I do not understand, and not allowing any fuel in, moving round in cars is tricky so I got from the hotel to the centre on the back of a motorbike. I have not ridden a motorbike for donkey’s years, and never without a helmet, it was an experience. On the way there we could go through the woods which was interesting and somewhat bumpy but the evening we had to go on the road through the village because of tigers. The road as well as being longer was also a great deal rougher. Luckily the hotel would accept being paid in Kathmandu by one of the NGO’s in the vulture programme as I had no funds apart from what I had been lent by friends as the meeting. I flew back to Kathmandu the following day, only to discover that I had left my alarm clock at the hotel in Chitwan!! I hope to get it back next time I come over. (did I see this Elephant - no!! But I thought you might like the photo)

There had been no sign of my belongings, although the hotel was very apologetic, so it had been stolen. I finally managed to get hold of the Centre at home, but only by phoning a friend as I had had no replies to emails or five phone calls, by which time I was somewhat stressed and my card was stopped. 

The following day we left at 6.00am to get to the airport and fly to Delhi and then on to Chandigar, the second plane was delayed by two hours so we finally got to the hotel in Pinjore at 7.30pm, a long day.
I woke the following day with a cold! We completed various meetings, had a look at the release aviary and on the second day there was actually an adult wild Oriental White-backed Vulture sitting on the top of it which bodes well.

Rhys and I left at 5.45am the next morning for Chandigar Airport and then Delhi Airport. We got to Heathrow late so I missed the train I had hoped to get but got there just in time for the next one. The Heathrow Shuttle people were really kind and gave me a card to let me on without paying again, which was a good thing as I did not have enough funds anyway! No one asked to see my tickets on the train thank goodness. Holly and Adam picked me up. 

Things have been hard during my absence with various things going wrong. I was going to go up and see my sister Anna in December, but have changed that to January when all the staff will have had 10 days off and should be rested and ready to start the year again.

And now I am going to go and have a bacon and egg bap!! Hooray!

Saturday, 14 November 2015


What a sad and dreadful day for France and for the world. Why these people behave in such a fashion defeats most of us, what they have to gain again is completely non understandable. How we deal with them my goodness, what a difficult task. I suspect the whole of the sensible and human parts of the world share the enormous sorrow of France. I hope that the world will back France if they decided to do something about this nest of vipers.

I am not looking forward to traveling on Monday, it becomes more and more of a risk and something that I think many people will think hard about doing unless they have to. I certainly am.

Apart from the awful news from France, it has been an odd day. I tidied the house so that it is clean for those who are going to stay with the dogs while I am away. Then flew some birds in miserable weather - very damp and rainy, but amazingly warm for the time of year, then went to collect some skirts that had had the elastic shortened, or were supposed to have, but only one was done. Then with a friend went over to David M's to get some live Rudd for the friends pond. We caught them on a line with maggots, and in about 40 minutes caught probably 40 fish!! It was amazing. 

Got back in time to do some of the flying at the 2.30 demo, and then did some training with various
birds. Jan was not well so we sent her off with Dave her husband, and hopefully she will be feeling better by Monday. Then made the mulled wine for the Owl Evening, after that took the dogs for a quick run and then finished off the washing so that I have clean clothes to go. Worked the Owl Evening with everyone - the owls were superb, as were the staff and then finished off and came in. Have sorted out the washing, need to mend one skirt. Watched more of the news on France, wondering again how people got to be so cruel to behave like that.

Tomorrow I have to make sure that all electrical stuff is charged up and finish getting ready to go.

Britains farm lambs and sheepMany years ago and I do mean many years ago, I had a toy farm, the first of the plastic Britains farm animals. It traveled around with me in a large box for years and I have never wanted to get rid of it. So I decided that finally I would get it all out and set it up again. I am having such fun organising what I have, looking on eBay for more - I certainly need more sheep, my flock has diminished. And when I get home I will start to build the model to put it all out, I am looking forward to it. And now I have my dream car - a drop head Morris Minor 1000 - admittedly it is 1.32 gauge, but I am very proud of it and it will sit by the farm house I am going to make. And you would not believe how expensive these sheep are!!

At the moment I am bidding on a model red phone box that I really hope I get as it is incredibly cute!!

Ah well, little things etc!

Saturday, 7 November 2015
First Owl Evening this evening, with a slightly different format, so hopefully it will go very well and we have two extra owls on the flying. Poor Helen had to take my African Goshawk to the vet this evening. She had been sick this morning and then would not keep down her meds, so we don't hesitate here, no waiting to see what happens, she is too important to take any risks, so hopefully we will have caught whatever it is in time and she will be fine. I do hope so because she is perfectly wonderful and I had hoped to fly her loose today for the first time.

We did all our interviews for the new job yesterday and the day before. The quality of the interviewee's was excellent, and made us all wish we had four jobs available instead of only one. The enthusiasm from most of them was lovely to see. We have five coming back for a work day next tuesday and then the awful job of choosing one and telling the other no, which is not fun.

The weather has been a little depressing over the last week and in fact we finally saw the sun for the first time in seven days at lunchtime today, although not for long. It was very wet this morning and windy so we have fielded phone calls all day saying - yes the owl evening is going ahead. In fact we have never cancelled one yet. We have had to switch things round a bit, on occasion, usually because of wind or rain, one, I think in 2000 we had snow on the last evening and everyone was keen to get home before it became any deeper. That was the year our nutty friends drove all the way from Norfolk to see an owl evening and I did them a special guided tour at the end of the evening because they were so late!

I am off to India and Nepal on Monday week for the SAVE meeting and I am praying that we are not flying over any dangerous countries, flying gets more hazardous as time goes on and I don't even like flying on the best of days. I have always thought that it would be far more sense to give us all parachutes rather than those bloody life rafts. I will be very relieved to get back safely, and hope not to travel abroad for a while after that.

The Black Shouldered Kite that we have is jumping well to the fist and is very pretty, I hope to get her or him flying free before I leave. We also have a new young African Fish Eagle who is charming, although a little nervous of us, we are taking our time with him so he settles well before asking him to do anything in the way of flying. Then early next year I start on the new Bald Eagle, and it would be great to get them both fishing out of the new ponds. Add in Salem, the Hooded Vulture that Holly has just got flying free and next year looks like we will have some very special birds for the demonstrations.

Sunday, 25 October 2015
We had a long night last night, actually it has been a long week. Last night six of us spent from 6.00pm to nearly 11.00pm going through all the applications for the new bird staff we are looking for. The closing date was last Sunday and we ended up with 73 applications which is very gratifying, but bloody hard work to go through them all, and we did go through the lot. We chose 15 applicants to come on for interviews and I have just emailed everyone, either with the bad news or the good news, which was quite a task. I do feel very strongly that one should reply to everyone though, the only thing I wish is that when applicants have got a job in the intervening period, they would let us know because it would make it easier to give another person a chance.

Now we move onto the interview stage which is November 5th and 6th, and that is always the interesting part. Then those that get through that will come on a work day on November 10th which is the final selection day. I hate telling people they have not got the job, but I guess it is a part of putting in an application.

We are now in half term, so needless to say the lovely dry weather has got a little less reliable, although it looks good for Sunday and Monday. We had the nicest bunch of people visiting on Thursday, they were a great group and really fun to fly the birds for.

My barbary falcon went loose for the first time the day before yesterday so he now has a name -
Littlemoss, he is very nice, and his second day he was pretty good too. The African Goshawk is coming on nicely, flying 30 - 40 feet to the fist and looking lovely. Helen McSweeney is training a Chanting Goshawk, a good friend has loaned us a pair but the male has a leg sore we are treating so we thought to give him some peace we would train the female and she is lovely, very striking colour and immensely long orange legs, Helen is very pleased with the way she is going and so am I! So for a long while we have had no true hawks or accipiter's and now we have four species in the same year, very cool.

We have a Board Meeting next week so we have all furiously been writing reports for the meeting, which hopefully will go well. My sister Anna is coming down for it, it will be lovely to see her, she has not visited here for a while now, we are both just too busy with life I guess.

The scaffolding goes up on the front of the house on the 29th to get on with the last parts of the re roofing which I am really looking forward to getting completed, the bits that have been done look just wonderful. While it is up we are also getting the top windows painted because you can only do it from scaffolding and as we have it there it seems silly not to take advantage of it. Then next year we will start on the lower windows which definitely need some TLC.

I have to go to India and Nepal for the SAVE meeting in November, which I have to say I am not looking forward to greatly, which is no reflection on the people I will be with, but it always means a lot of catching up when I get back, plus I love being home!!

We have a second pair of Steller's Sea Eagles arriving from Edinburgh Zoo early November and a
number of eagles from here going off to new homes, which is lovely to know they have great places to go to. However we seriously need to build some new aviaries, we have so many ideas and opportunities that it is frustrating not to have enough land to build more, or the funds to do it. I keep trying to win the lottery, but have not managed it yet - well apart from the occasional £2.50!

I will be starting my new juvenile Bald Eagle in the early part of next year, I hope he is a nice boy, we are thinking that he should be able to snatch lift a fish from our new ponds as they are big enough, I just need to get him flying well first.

So as usual life is hectic, full of stuff to get done, and what better way to be.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015
The glorious weather of the past couple of weeks has had a bit of a hiccup, but the rain is what makes everywhere so green anyway, so what the hell! My pond is full and with a breeze and autumn leaves are gently floating on it, they are all shapes sizes and colours. The smaller pond if you stand and watch will occasionally have a huge plopping sound, I thought it might be fish, but in fact it is the cider pears dropping from the tree into the pond!

I tend to curse the cider pears at this time of the year as once they are on the ground and start to rot a little they become less bitter and the dogs happily lie in the sun and munch them, which leads to other things in the house at a later date!

My Sparrowhawk is a joy to fly, the first time you encourage an accipiter to go into a tree, with hopes
of course that he or she will come out again, they sit there for a second and then change character, laddering up the tree with glee and pretending that they are no longer a trained hawk, but in fact no longer have any interest in you at all. This Bitterly did, sizzling about the tree climbing higher and higher. He did deign to come down a couple of times at speed but pulled out before hitting my fist and then landed even higher in the trees. Eventually I moved away and he followed to a lower tree and down he came. Since then he has got trees sorted and follows through them and comes steaming into the fist.

We are now a three accipiter family as a lovely female African Goshawk arrived on Sunday, kindly given to me by a good friend, she weighs just under a pound and is stunning to look at. We are looking forward to flying her as well.  She has the most amazing black skin inside her mouth!

Surprisingly I have taking two days off this week - first day off since December last year! I am going riding with Sally (first time on a horse since I broke my back) and then to see the Red Kites at Gigrin - also a first! And then staying away (voluntarily!!!!) and going on a mushroom foray on Saturday. Phew will I survive I wonder!

We have had to cancel the Halloween Owl Evening, almost no take up, but I think it is because it is not really suitable for young children and they will all be out trick or treating, which is not something I like or understand. So if we do one again we will have to make it very different from all the others. We are adding another owl to the owl evenings, which should be great fun and I am looking forward to seeing how it works! Of course there is always the added bonus of one of us falling into the new ponds!

Monday, 28 September 2015
Back from India, the trip went well, we ran an incubation, husbandry and rehabilitation course, Holly and Adam came with me so it was easier in some ways. We worked all day and then went back to the hotel, where as usual the shower did not work. In Pinjore Gardens there is a sort of food and bar area, although it is impossible to get gin. We sat there most evenings before working on computer stuff and watched the fruit bats fly around. Also saw a juvenile Spotted Owlet, which are very closely related to our Little owl.

Adam spent much of his time trying to get the Contac incubators to work and showing Nikita how to do it when he was not there. I think he enjoyed himself, but I am not sure! Holly worked with Nic Masters, Chief Vet at ZSL working up the bloods taken each morning after the course, from the vultures that were chosen for veterinary checks, she was counting white and red blood cells, which is something that we hope to get set up here in the near future.

It was really good to be able to catch up the vultures that had been wearing my dummy satellite tags for two years and see if any injuries had occurred. We were confident that all would be well as the vultures had been flying well in the colony aviaries and breeding but it was particularly satisfying to see that they were in perfect condition after two years of wear. And this bodes well for the vultures who will wear the real thing for the release.

It was a joy to get home, even if the oil had run out and I could not get a shower until the evening, that was a bit of a trial. The weather has been glorious since we arrived back, cool mornings and evenings, mist rising from the fields and pond early and then bright and warm sunshine on wonderful leaf colour. autumn is just great.

Birds are generally well, the two Snowy Owls are getting ready for the first Owl Evening on October
31st, we are going to do something special for Halloween!! Not telling what though! Middle Mouse (Long Eared Owl) is back working as is Haze, who has a film job next week as well. Bitterly, my Sparrowhawk should be back flying free tomorrow, and the Goshawk is doing well as is one of the new Brahminy Kites, although we have not started to teach him to fish yet. I am looking forward to training my new male Bald Eagle in the early part of next year, he has been removed from his foster parents, which they were relieved about, and will join some of the moulting eagles soon and then I will get him out in January to start work. We are crossing our fingers that we manage to breed African Fish Eagles next year, which would be great and they will stay here if we do.

Have to finish off the roof of the house, which I hope will be done by mid November, then there are the changes in the Hawk Walk that we want to do in early December, that will make things more comfortable for the birds next year.

Jimmi left yesterday, and we put an advert in for a new staff member this morning and we have nine applications already! This bodes well I hope. It is always a tough decision and one wishes that we could employ two or three new people, but one extra is going to help over time.

The dogs are well and missed me (I hope) and have not eaten too much in the way of things that they should not have!! All are sound for a change and soon they will go on their winter diet to get back to a better shape! As indeed will I!

Dave, Jan's husband won a helicam in a raffle it is quite a big one and really cool. He took some pictures of the Centre yesterday evening, they are really good! I want him to walk with me and the helicam and do a guided tour for the new website that Adam and I are going to do this winter.

So next trip is November and then I am hoping that
is it for 2015

Saturday, 12 September 2015
Autumn is my favourite time of the year, followed by spring, then winter and last summer. Although I love them all really. The leaves are starting to change on some of the earlier trees, and are falling from the cherry tree in the Hawk Walk. 

The Falconry Weekend went very well, we were incredibly lucky with the weather. The Saturday started grey and mizzly but soon brightened up and the rest of the day got better and better. Sunday dawned bright and sunny and was lovely all day. Plenty of nice visitors, all the birds flew well all things considered, and the whole weekend was a success. It is a huge amount of work and very stressful I find, but very worth it for the Centre, and this year being a charity we don't have to give 20% to the VAT man which is a huge bonus.

The clear up is done, loos gone, tents gone, bins gone, people gone, the field is recovering although it stood up very well and all looks normal which I love.

Last of 2015 babies, thank goodness!
Jimmi leaves us this month and we all wish him the very best of luck in his new venture, it is always difficult to start afresh, no one knows that better than I do, but with hard work I am sure that he will make a great success of the future.

We replaced him officially with Helen M, who started in May so I was not planning on getting anyone else, However the Board and I have decided that we really do need another member of staff to add to the team and so very soon I will be advertising for a new person. If we can start him or her in the winter we can get them up to speed before the bulk of the visitors arrive again in the spring.

It is always sad to lose a member of staff, but the Centre invariably continues, and moves on-wards and upwards each time. It is nice however when they drop in for coffee and see how things are going.

Right now I am focused on going to India for my usual September trip, I have to say I will not be
sorry when I no longer have to go, I always miss part of the autumn, and of course worry about the Centre and the dogs. This time Holly is going with me and we are teaching a husbandry/incubation/rehabilitation course at Pinjore. Not sure how many countries are going to be represented but it will be interesting to do. Adam one of our Trustees is also going as he will be doing a whole load of techincal stuff with computers and incubators and CCTVs as well. It should be an interesting trip and they are being spoilt as we are driving up to Pinjore not going on the train.

We are looking at the first releases in India in the next year although we have had a bit of a hiccup as the Indian Government for some reason best known to themselves have decided that no one can use satellite telemetry on wildlife in India. Of course we absolutely have to know what is happening with the vultures we release and without sat tags, we will be blind. I hope they change their minds as if they don't it will make them a laughing stock in the scientific world. Satellite telemetry is so much a part of wildlife conservation now.

The roof is looking wonderful, I think it would be fair to say that we are at least 2/3rds done and perhaps more. Mike is taking a break while I am away and then he and I and I hope some help if I can find someone, will finish off the last bits and then I can breath a sigh of relief that it is done, it is weather proof and insulated throughout.

Bitterly is the name of my sparrowhawk and he did very well at the Falconry Weekend and went loose the following day after. Its a shame I have to feed him up while we are away, but then when I get back I will get him going again for the winter. The Goshawk is beautiful and doing well, not loose yet but I don't think it will be long. The two Hooded Vulture babies that have been off show are now on view and one will start training on our return. Benson the Turkey vulture is going through the teenage stage, but will hopefully improve as time goes on, he can fly very well, he would just rather not do it at the moment, but with some good winds later in the year that will help.
Next job after the roof is to have a big change in the Hawk Walk, just wait and see what that will look like by the end of the year!

Thursday, 6 August 2015
And now it is August, my Sparrowhawk, still nameless, but I think I know which village name I am going to choose, is flying on demonstration. Not rivetingly exciting but good for him and gives me the chance to be rude about Robin Page!

We are busy, at least I think we are, the weather has been reasonable and the visitors have been ignoring the weather forecast, which is a good thing as it has been as inaccurate as ever. And we have had really nice visitors too, on occasion it feels like they are all dead already, but this month and the end of July they have been lovely and very responsive and that makes for a much better demonstration and a less tiring day as well.

We are back on getting the house roof re done, Mike and Conor are working hard and the first bit
over the corutyard is getting close to being ready for tiles. The huge tiles that were on there are awful to look at and do nothing for the house, as well as there being little insulation. The smaller more authentic tiles look wonderful on the roof and we are insulating as we go, so hopefully if we get a cold winter again, the house will be a little warmer. There is still a long way to go, but I really hope we will get it done
before Christmas. I will feel so much better about it if we do. Then next year I can focus on the windows, some of which really do need some work. Then its the damp in the drawing room and the dining room and then saving up for a conservatory so I can sit in my old age and have breakfast in the sun! That will be the day!

The birds are all flying well, I do so miss my Lugger, but am training a new Lanner, it was destined to go, but turned out to be a female and the chap did not want it, so we decided to train it here. The two Brahminy Kites are out and starting their training and the new Buzzard is coming along. Our Goshawk is going to be a while arriving though which is a shame, I had hoped to have it here for the Falconry Weekend, but that is not going to happen.

The two ponds are holding well and appear to be very appetising to the wild birds, I was flying my falcon and four pigeons came and had a drink and then a wagtail!! Oh and several people have seen a Kingfisher eating my baby Rudd in the big pond - pretty damn cool.

My utility room looks much better without the boiler, and I just need the time now to paint it and then it can be finished. I don't think I am going to be able to do the kitchen this year though, but its nice to have the ambition.

The bookings for the Falconry Weekend are filling up, if the weather holds it will be an exciting and fun weekend. We are all looking forward to it. Don't forget to visit and bring plenty of cash!
Right I have been having trouble with my weblog, Internet Explorer has been letting me down, so read this one for July OK!!

So now its flaming July, what happens to the days, I should be hoovering my house, but can't summon up the energy right now. I did change four beds and I have come to the conclusion that my least favourite job is putting on duvet covers, Especially when you discover having fought the bloody duvet to get the cover on, that the cover is too small for the duvet!! Then you have to start again grrrrrrrrrrr!

I finally decided to throw away the sheets that I bought in South Carolina, they were very odd and I never really liked them and today I looked at them and said bugger it, they are going, they bring back bad memories and I am going to dispose of them!

Bulgaria was an amazing trip, exhausting and a lot of driving but really useful to see the three vulture release facilities that they have been using to release Eurasian Griffon Vultures. I am hoping that we can send a couple of vultures from here next year. I also saw their Saker breeding project and the release site and saw my first Suslik, the little ground squirrelly type things that they like to catch, they are really cute!

The boiler has been a saga, I decided that as the old one was leaking again, using a ton of oil and was bound to break down over Christmas or a very cold spell, I would be sensible and have a new one now while it is warm. So on a Monday they came and took it out, I had planned that the new one would go in on Wednesday, which meant that we could retile the floor on Tuesday. But then they mentioned that I should be having an external boiler outside, so we looked into that and changed the plan. They came back on Wednesday to do pipe work, in the meantime the floor was done. Thursday I had to go to London and was away until quite late. Only to hear that they had turned on the water, and there had been a leak, all through my sitting room ceiling! The nice ceiling rose in the middle of the ceiling is now on the floor in bits, the ceiling is very stained and very smelly - damp plaster. So still no not water. Had to leave really early on Friday morning for an all day meeting and finally got home about 8.30pm. The boiler was done, but for some bizarre reason the heating was on - in July! So I worked out how to turn it off and tried out the shower. Not bad but not hot enough for me. I hope we can get it hotter.

The birds are well and have a young Sparrowhawk who has just arrived, he is lovely, but older than I wanted and so is nervous of the dogs, I am hoping I can get him used to them. We have a new Buzzard as well. It has been mizzly wet weather over the last few days, and rained every time I went out to fly a bird, however they all flew well and we had some nice customers.

Ah well, had better get on cleaning the house........................or may..........gin!

Friday, 19 June 2015
Yorkley new, very beautiful Great Horned Owl up his first tree!
I have a new computer, I know I will get to like it, but the nightmare is always the same with a change of computers. Because things have changed I can't find a damn thing and because we get later up to date versions of programmes, which the software people have improved (I use that term very loosely) half of the bloody stuff doesn't work. Its because of glitches - how do they get away with selling something that has a glitch!! Would you accept a new washing machine with a glitch, or a car - oh sorry the brakes didn't work, its a bit of a glitch that we are trying to sort out, but we thought we'd sell it to you anyway!!!!!!!! And while we are on the subject of washing machines why do the programmes have to be so ridiculously long - three hours to do a bloody wash!!! I could send the damn stuff to India and get in back again in the time it takes to do eight washes!!!  It is I assume that all electronic machines are not supposed to be so powerful and thus save energy - having it on for three hours to do one wash is NOT saving energy!!!!

Hummmmmmmmm I feel better now!  

The weather has been glorious, I love waking to sunshine coming through my window, better than those bloody may/june bugs that come in and force

Not a normal chick for us!

me out of bed with their behaviour! The birds are enjoying it, it means some very high flying with some of the falcons. Gazelle did a 25 minutes demonstration yesterday which did not end up in our flying ground, which is not good. He was much better today, miles up, but obedient. We are just getting the female White-tailed Sea Eagle going again, I am looking forward to seeing her fly. She was the lady who did a three day flying demonstration and chased all the other birds that we were flying during the day and so we had to do it all indoors while she was out! Hopefully she will be better this time around, although I have to say she did look pretty impressive on my chimney pots.

I am not sure I will be completely ready to fly in September!
The ponds in the flying ground for the Brahminy Kites 
are coming along, we hope to finish the first one by the end of the week. The other one is dug and needs Mark to start putting in the levels for the Concrete, I hope that one will be done by the end of next week, then the fun begins!!

The new pipe from the road to the lower pond in finally in, the last pipe arrived about half an hour ago and is in and being covered up as I write. This means that with that and the new drainage system which is also nearly done, I need to go and get some grass seed and reseed all the bare bits, I will get that done next week. Then it is the changes in the Hawk Walk and then the roof. Phew!

The baby Condor is growing apace and is ridiculously tame and friendly, the baby Turkey Vulture is
I on the other hand am bound to be ready!
also growing apace and is not as ridculously tame and friendly, but we are working on it. The baby Hooded Vulture is wonderful and so all in all we should be well ready for Vulture Awareness Day which is the first day of the Falconry Weekend (September 5th and 6th), don't forget to come to the weekend, it will be fun.

I have a baby Tengmalm's Owl, also known as a Boreal Owl, he is very small, very dark and a little introverted, hopefully he will get braver as time goes on, but he is very charming

The labradors are enjoying the weather and when ever they get too hot they just go for a swim in the ponds, I am not convinced that the ducks and moorhens appreciate them, but they love it. 

Oh and remembering my new computer problems, Office professional does not have any card games!!! Woe is me, no solitaire while I am waiting for things to happen, damn it. I can't believe it is nearly mid summer, those heavenly dark blue skys in the evening are the colour I want for a dress one day.......................


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.

Blog Archive

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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