Saturday, 28 April 2012

One of my absolute pet hates in life, apart that is from the weathermen/women, who never get it right, and SatNav’s which also never get it right – are television remote controls. Firstly what was wrong with getting up and turning over to a new channel, we are an over- weight population and getting up and turning over the channels on the TV would actually probably be good for us, IF we could do it. However apparently we can’t – I am sure there are buttons on my TV so I can do the whole operation manually, but I have no idea where they are. Sadly at the moment, I am also unable to get the remote to do anything on my TV. Now admittedly the puppies did have hold of it, but I don’t see any major damage on it, I have changed the batteries, but can I get it to do anything, like turn up the sound, which is on silent at the moment, change the channel, even turn the damn thing off – no, it’s as dead as the proverbial door nail. So I am not watching TV in my sitting room I am writing this instead, and trying to buy a Chest of Drawer, but failing about as dismally on that as the TV remote control – update, it was the puppies, one tooth mark had made the sound button stick down – fixed by Robin.

We did our first away from home show last weekend, I was so pleased with the birds, Dawn Run was excellent, and I was a bit worried about her as she had spent several minutes yesterday seriously chasing a pigeon – we all watched with glee, but it got away. I took Bush Master, one of the young Yellow-billed Kites and it was his first trip away, and he was brilliant, and it was not an easy place to fly and the wind was fairly strong, but he managed a treat. The Merlin was not happy about the strange surrounding, but did come to the lure twice, and so we move forward on that one. Hare was OK, not brilliant, but again the wind did not help and Karis was fine, good and reliable. So apart from the PA which did not work well, it all went very well.

Art has been going really well, I am so pleased with him, he is such a nice horse and seems to be happily settled in now. He was shod last week and behaved beautifully. I went to watch some dressage at Hartpury which was lovely to see, we are going to aim for a competition in July!!

I have to admit we are all a little low at the moment, the weather has been miserable. Actually the really bad days have only amounted to three, and the weather forecast in terms of rain has as usual been wrong, but we are well down on visitor numbers, and it is just so cold and grey, enough to make anyone feel low.

However, ever onwards and upwards, and hopefully things will improve, even though Art lost a shoe yesterday – he was pratting about in the overflow carpark and left holes all over it and his hind shoe, the holes have been stamped on and the shoe found.

The pond is very full and the blanket weed is looking a little better, David came and sprayed it the other day, he then checked it and said it was looking unwell, blanket weed always looks unwell, its horrid stuff. Everything is greening up well and my tree peony is out, but what a difference between the last two springs and this one, it looks very bedraggled in comparison to previous years.

The last Verreaux’s Eagle egg was clear however we took a risk and gave them a fertile Steppe Eagle egg and they have hatched it and are rearing it, which is wonderful, we now have four pairs of eagles that will rear – hooray!
Tuesday, 17 April 2012

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind"

Our website over the years has been done quite brilliantly and selflessly by Linda Wright, it is her work that has made it so good, it is her beautiful photos that have adorned it, and her months of sitting in front of her computer, often on lovely days, that put it together and keep it up to date.
However the time has come to stop relying on her, she needs to get out and take photos again and we miss seeing her around here laden with camera's, plus she needs to do some bird handling again! Adam Bloch also is a computer buff and he, on his own bat, sat down, grabbed all the photos, and much of the work that Linda has done and put it all in a format that is understandable (OK that is a huge overstatement!!) to us less computer minded people so that we can build, change and update the website without having to constantly have to email or phone Linda to sort it out. We none of us really understand what we are doing, but we are getting there and we hope to do the changeover soon so that we can free up Linda and she can forget about some of the stuff that she has been doing. Although having said that, we are not going to let her go completely on the website, she has to still help us out, and come up with ideas, backgrounds, photos and her usual amazing energy – if she will!!
 
Robin is doing the education pages and the metadata and meta tags (impressive that I know this eh!!) Mark and Holly have been coming up with ideas on how the ‘new look’ should be, Adam B has been putting it all together and coming up with all the stuff that we can’t do, and I have been bombarding him with text!!
 
It has been a difficult time financially, and I am reading a great deal late at night, which is usually a sure sign I am worried about stuff, but hopefully as the spring moves into summer and our website grabs people’s attention, we will increase our visitor numbers again. The place is looking lovely, the leaves are shooting out on the trees and the gardens really are starting to be alive again, I could wish the rabbits that live here would move out, but you can’t have everything, oh and the swallows are back, late, but here!
 
My merlin does an interesting demonstration, he takes one look at the lure and flies in the opposite direction, which is a little disconcerting I have to say, but he does fly well. Bay Middleton chased the wagtail that lives on the flying ground, although it did not seem that concerned about it, and Dawn Run has been trying to catch the Jackdaws who are far too canny for her. We have not seen the wild Peregrines again recently, which we are not sorry about as they chase Fortina and she is not happy about it. Nor sadly have we seen any more Red Kites since the start of the year. I had hoped they would be around here more, but in time they will be.
 
The two baby Steller’s Sea Eagles are back with mum and dad, the three baby Tawny Eagles are doing well with their foster parents, as are the Grey Buzzard Eagles with their official parents and we are crossing everything because the Brahminy Kites have been seen mating, that would be wonderful as they are some of the suitcase birds.

The breeding season is hotting up, oh and finally Hector, a fantastic Lanner we used to fly has become a Dad! I hope his babies are as good as he used to be. Hard Tackle is building a nest and his new wife is completely ignoring it, but she is new! Other than that it is the usual wait and see of the breeding season.



Saturday, 7 April 2012
Well Easter has not let us down so far, bloody awful weather and less people than we desperately need. We had glorious weather last week, why could it not just have held. I long for the day when I don’t have to worry about Easter weather, in fact I have come to the conclusion that I actually do not like Easter.

Add to that I ordered some clothes (cheap I should add) from Lands’ End, did they arrive no, have they lost them yes, were they dim enough to ask if I wanted them resent – was I likely to say ‘no don’t you worry, just keep my money as a donation’ Bloody idiots of course I want the damn things re sent and they have the nerve in the email to tell me that luckily they have more – lucky for them I would say – Hermes is their distribution firm. Then I had the invitations printed for the Royal do, they were ready on Tuesday and so were sent CityLink, they had to come eleven miles, are they here four days later, are they hell, they could have walked here and back numerous times in four days, so that is Hermes and City Link that I would advise not using. However our own beloved Royal Mail is as bad, they are putting up the post by God knows what and I suspect the service will be just as appalling as it has been for the last year. Pull yourselves together distribution companies, because we are not impressed.

Despite the weather we have had lovely customers, very appreciative and nice to have around, the birds have been amazing and flying really well and the puppies are learning not to run in when a falcon is on the lure, which is pretty good as they are still very young. Mark’s Merlin is flying loose and going very well, Lady Isabel is just stunning at the moment, I could do with Karis stopping flying into me, he got me in my left kidney today, and it is definitely his fault. The White-tailed Sea-eagle has a name Fer de Lance, which means yes, she is flying loose, and is lovely to watch. Her brother is coming on slowly as well.

Adam is bike riding a marathon tomorrow all off road, I hope the weather is better than today for him, although I think he is nuts!! But then some people think I am nuts to start riding again at my advanced age. I had a lovely ride yesterday, but did not go out in the rain today – flipping fair weather rider!!

Other than that, not much news to impart so I am going to muck out Art and feed him and then see if I am brave enough to do more stuff on the new website.


Sunday, 1 April 2012
According to the weather forecast, the beautiful weather we have been having is about to change and some people are going to get snow, I bloody hope we don’t, winter is over as far as I am concerned, its spring!! Weather – just pull yourself together please!!

Have you ever thought about supermarket trolley’s I have because it always annoys me that I can’t take a dog into a supermarket, when I know that mine would behave. It’s all in the cause of clenliness, but just think about that trolley. If you have one of the large ones with the bit for the human child – you know the one I mean – which means you could have had a child in a very dirty nappy sitting where you are putting your food!!! Does anyone clean them, I don’t think so!! So I rest my case, who is grubbier, my dog or the dirty nappy! This has all come about because someone has complained about the dogs in our café. Now they are not allowed where the food is prepared, but they are allowed in the rest of the café. They are well behaved, better I might add than some of the children, and they clear up the floor which is good conservation as far as I am concerned. So if you read my weblog and enjoy coming to the Centre, please go onto Trip Advisor on the internet, and tell everyone that you have had a good time (if of course you have) and that it has a great family atmosphere, partly because of the staff and the dogs. And I might add, it is a scientific fact that children brought up in a house with dogs and cats are healthier and less likely to have allergies than those without.

If we ever manage to build the new shop and café I am going to fence off an area for people to sit who don’t like dogs, it will be very fenced!!

Leaf went for her first swim today, I don’t think she enjoyed it, but did her best to get on Rush’s back in a vain attempt to get back without swimming, however she does swim quite well. Lady Isabel did an amazing demonstration, but it lasted about 20 minutes, she was a long way up and according to the one remaining visitor and my staff, did a stunning stoop, however I did not see it, but was very glad to have her back!

The White-tailed Sea-Eagle is very relaxed and happy, and probably ready for us to try her loose again, and the male is out and feeding and starting to respond. Two of the Merlins are out and getting going again, and Adam is going to be working on getting Eager (the Long-ear Owl) back on duty. Otherwise Easter is on the horizon and we are praying that this crap with the fuel crisis sorts itself out before Easter arrives.

Hello

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.

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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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHZGQ8i8AwI

HC

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