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!


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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