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!


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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