Sunday, 15 April 2018
So did I actually put let's think of Spring - think is about right because sure as hell we are not having it! I can honestly say I can't remember a worse Easter in terms of weather and that of course means in terms of visitors as well. Actually Easter Monday weather wise was not that bad here, but of course the weather forcast did not help, so they did not come out. I think we have seen the sun on one day so far in April, which is a little depressing to say the least.

However the cafe is going well and Jimmy is doing some great food, not quite so sure about the very violet cake! but the other cakes are to die for. Karen is getting the office work sorted out and woe betide anyone who spends too much! Rachel is coping well with the marketing even though the weather is not helping. SHe moves onto fund raising when we have a little more time and visitors.
Back on duty flying brilliantly!

Our new bird staff member Jonas from Germany is excellent, a very good worker and lovely to be
around, and knows one end of a hammer from the other, which these days is a rarity!

Our volunteers are just amazing, we have a great group who work really hard, bring in fantastic cakes and are a joy to be around, I do not know what we would do without them. Having said that Pippa who organises them all is off on holiday to Canada for two weeks, we hope she has a good time and are looking forward to the holiday snaps!

Iit may however, be time for a rant, and I am afraid you are right  - yes - yet again it is BT better known not as British Telecom, but instead Bloody Terrible. I don't know who looks at their business plan but I am pretty convinced that it would be much cheaper for them and certainly mean they had to be deal with less complains if they put fibre to our village. The amount of times that their engineers are here or somewhere else along our line beggars belief. There is no way it makes either good business sense or is financially viable.
Also back on Duty!

We have a thing round here called Fastershire - its a joke, apparently everywhere apart from us is getting better access to the internet, but most definitely we are not. And the problem is that our phones, our internet, our card machines - the whole flaming lot are reliant on an internet connection, which goes down or fails with monotonous regularity and particularly at weekends and bank

We moved to Microsoft 365 (I think you all know what I think about that) so everything is now on the cloud and therefore safe - yup it is definitely safe, I can't get at it!! The cloud is only any good if you have internet access to the cloud, otherwise it is about as much use as a sick headache - which is not a lot.

Ah well, ever onwards and upwards I guess (and hope!). I keep doing the lottery anyway.

Monday, 19 March 2018
So lets think of spring!
I believe that I stupidly said at the start of this very long winter that with global warming we might not see snow again - huh! How wrong can you be. Three times we have had snow, the first lot was when we were closed and we did not have the bitter east wind with it, so it was significantly
pleasanter than the other falls, plus we were closed, so it did not matter as much. We probably had about 6 inches then. The second lot was after what seemed like weeks of bitter east wind coming up the field, so not only was the ground well frozen, but the driving wind gave us some impressive drifts and we had to close for a couple of days because no one could get here including staff! This lot and I hope the last for this winter came on another bitter east wind, but not quite so much and not drifting in the same way, so we were able to stay open. I was sorry not to see our photographers though! We saved birds for you.
Not yorkley but the same colour!

During the second fall we did fly some birds, I tried Yorkley - that was on the friday morning, he had
a nice time out, until about 2.45am on Tuesday morning!! However he flew well in the snow yesterday and did come back! My Kite stole my hat on the second fall, it will not recover and is full
of holes.

The incubation course went well, we had about 15 people on it and Holly worked very hard with over 400 chicken eggs so that people could look at development. Our own eggs are starting to hatch, we have three luggers, and other eggs due in the next couple of weeks, it is nice to have chicks for Easter.

We have got a good flying team going, Benbecula continues to improve, I have a merlin (Hadar) going loose, but the weather has put a stop to her until the snow goes, similarly Datura went loose on Wednesday but again with the weather I have not been able to have him loose again yet. I will not be sorry to see the back of the snow - it really does hold up a ton of things here. Hopefully the goshawk will not take long to get going either. So plenty of birds to fly and work with - and for you to photograph.

My poor daffodils are looking very sad, although it is amazing how they recover. However the back lawn looks more like the battle of the Somme because we are having to have a
new water pipe in all the way from the meter through by the house to the weighing room and needless to say the weather has not helped. It will be months before it recovers.

The little black puppy has now gone and Flax is joining the team outside on occasion, I have to say most of the birds do not like her, but hopefully they will get used to her. Some I suspect will not! She is charming though and getting very good at coffee time when they all
have their toast.

Easter is on its way come and see what we have done in the cafe, try the food, watch the birds and we will look forward to seeing you.

Monday, 5 February 2018
Well here we are open to the visitors again, January over, no more free weekends until December, but its good to be open again.

The Owl Evenings have been going so well that we have had to put in two extra ones, which is lovely and we have so far got away with managing to do all of them regardless of the weather. The British public are amazing really!! We just ignore the weather. We have had damp nights, very cold nights, blowing a gale nights, and glorious nights, but neither the visitors or the owls have let us down. Having hot drinks on arrival makes for a nicer atmosphere as well

I have not managed to get Yorkly on one yet though, we had a black plastic bag blow away aind get caught in one of the oak trees by the pond - it was there for four days before we managed to get it and Yorkly refused point blank to fly while it was there!

All the birds are flying well, Benbecula was spectacular yesterday, we were nice and busy and he
flew right over to Stallions Hill and then came back. Having the top half of Danny's Wood felled has as we had hoped made a huge difference to the flying as it opens up the field again. I plan on getting one of the Merlins out soon to fly again. I had planned on getting my Hobby out but she laid eggs last year so fingers crossed she might breed this year.

The Griffon Vultures have laid as have the Lugger falcons so the breeding season is upon us again. We are running an incubation course with Susie Kasielke from the US this month as well so there is plenty to do.

The cafe is looking wonderful, it is just needing the finishing touches now to make it work seamlessly. We were very busy in there yesterday it being the first weekend and reasonably nice weather on the Sunday, so Jimmy, our new cafe manager had a baptism of fire! But he managed really well and now understands about the lunchtime rush. I had a go at putting the cream on the hot chocolate too - that could have been a disaster but luckily it was not.

It was lovely to see the members again and the dogs are delighted that we are up and running again. They hate the two months closed as it means there is noone to scrounge food from. They all lost weight (purposefully I might add) but I suspect it will go back on again soon.

The puppies are well, growing like mad, Shasta hates them, I think the rest will be OK with them. It will be time for the boy to go soon (I would like to keep him!) and then Flax will come out and join the team officially.

Thursday, 4 January 2018
Apart from the Millennium, I have not stayed up to see in the New Year, it seems to manage to get there without my participating - amazingly. So I had no intention of seeing out 2017 and in 2018. However circumstances changed and I saw in 2018, in fact I did not go to bed at all that night because Briza decided to have puppies early.

They were due on January 2nd, but no, she went for a more memorable date. So she and I spent the whole night in my office taking her outside, at her insistence, about every twenty minutes. Luckily the first half of the night was not too cold and it was a clear and reasonably light night, rain came towards the end making the chasing her round the garden less fun.

To make sure I did not lose her I had taped one of the bird's radio transmitters to her collar earlier that day, the little green flashing light made it much easier to keep an eye on a black dog in the dark. No pups arrived through the somewhat disturbed and exhausting night. As I was feeding round over the Christmas period I fed the dogs and took them round the field as usual and then started to get food ready for the birds, constantly going back and checking on Briza. I managed to feed about half the collection, again checking her as I did. Then five ponies that are owned by some extremely irresponsible people came trotting up the road, I heard them go into the car park and the last time they did that they cut up the bank making it really difficult to mow, so I spent some time chasing them out. By the time I got back into the house, Briza had had her first puppy and it was sadly dead.

So I phoned Holly and she took over the birds while I sorted out Briza, she had become much calmer and so was quiet in her bed in my office. About an hour later the next pup arrived, I helped, but she was incredibly weak and so I was rubbing her madly trying to get her going. We managed to get a wonderful and experienced friend to come over and after about an hour the pup was still with us although definitely not strong. Pup number three arrived about an hour after the second one, a boy, double the size and very strong. By this time Briza was very tired (so was I!) We then waited, still warming and rubbing pup two, but by another three hours there was no further progress. So New Years Day, a trip to the vets, with Briza, two pups Holly and I.

She was given an injection, but there was no movement after half an hour and a scan had showed that there was at least one more live pup, so a C section was done and the last pup arrived - a large yellow girl who according to the vet, was not going to come out on her own.

disposing of the cafe timbers
Briza is well, the two large pups are doing well, the very small one survived two days and I was devastated to lose her as we thought we had got her going.  So it was a tough start to the year I have buried them in the wood where Nettle two pups are buried.

Instead of having to worry about Briza producing on the 2nd, I was able to help Adam and  Holly start work on the cafe. We had to get the old units out as we are putting in stainless steel ones. Well one thing led to another and eventually the whole of the kitchen and serving area disappeared!! So we have rather more work to get it all done by the 19th of this month for the first Owl Evening. It had to be done though and will be much nicer and easier to work in for the staff and far better for the visitors
 as well.

I am delighted to say that we have just hired a new cafe manager and ironically he worked at Beechinghurst, which is where Angela was before coming to us. I am sure he will be as good, it will be a joy not to have to worry about it all again, James will run it well and we are looking forward to him joining us.

Now all we have to do is get the cafe up and running again, so if there is a good carpenter out there who would like to be in the warm and dry next week and has nothing to do - Let me know.

I love the winter, but I am looking forward now to spring and my daffodils are already coming up. 


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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