NEWSLETTER Number 14
Firstly I apologise, I know that we are missing several newsletters, but I have to say 2012 had been a busy and difficult year, and the new website, which I have to say I am delighted with, took an awful lot of effort, so those are my excuses. However 2013 looks to be tougher in some ways, so I hope I will manage to get a couple done for you! When I start a newsletter I go through the weblog, the diary and my photos. I file my photos in months which gives me a clue as to what has been going on. So bearing in mind that we have had probably the wettest year on record, certainly March through to July, I was pleased to find a May photo where it was not raining!! I have not used this programme for so long I have forgotten how to do the things I need to do, so I suspect I will get very bad tempered before the end of it all. Soooooooooo every Bank Holiday it rained, I guess I should not complain as it did not rain for most of the day on our 45th anniversary celebrations with The Princess Royal - but it was bloody cold!!! ICBP Duncombe is coming on nicely and we moved up about 70 birds tin November. We had a Gladiator weekend, and although the guys who do it are great, it really does not work for us, unlike the Falconry Weekend which we did for the second year and that was a great success. Enormously hard work but I think it will build and build. The breeding season was up and down as usual, but generally went well and we have some lovely new birds that have either joined the team or are going up to Duncombe in the next month. Our conservation work in India and Nepal is going well and the breeding of vultures is really coming on now. We are in winter another its been a mild wet one, and its wonderful to be here and home.
Staff Changes Things change over time, and you always have to face up to it, sometimes although the changes come as a shock, in the end they are good for the Centre. The status quo has been much the same here for a while, so it was a surprise when in November Adam decided that he would like to leave. A new girl friend and itchy feet were the reasons. It came a more of a shock when about two weeks later Simon also resigned, as it was very unexpected. Neither of them have jobs to go to, but we wish them the best of luck with whatever they end up doing. Both left in December, Adam on the 13th and Simon on Christmas Eve. Robin had also decided that he would like to cut down from three days here to two, so the pressure was on! Finding new staff for the Centre is never a problem, I usually have a list of people waiting in the background, and this time was no exception. So we have the two replacements ready to come and start. One is starting at the end of January, which will give us a few weeks to settle him in and get used to our way of doing things. The other will start in April, which means that we are not starting two people off at the same time which is a better bet for us all. Because I have been away a great deal in the latter part of last year, I finally learned to delegate and I have put Mark Parker in as second in command officially. Holly is going to take over all the incubation of the eggs, she is off on a course in the US at the end of this month. John has taken over the volunteers and also the aviary side of the breeding - making sure that nest boxes are clean and ready, nesting material is in for the right birds, and all of us are communicating much better. Robin is taking over the bird paperwork, so all in all the changes are very good and moving fast. We are looking forward to a great year and we have new responsibilities for the new staff as well.
The theme for names last year was stars, mo
as you can see is going well, a little temperam
exactly dynamic!! Most definitely a buteo. M
Owl called Tucana, and a new Burrowing O
male who is just going loose now and called
she is getting married, the penalty for sittin
Great Horned Owl, who is excellent and w
We did not manage to breed any Harris Ha
John as I write, we looking forward to havin
Stunga is going up to Duncombe as soo
Sparrowhawk called Deneb, I have had to p As it is now January, we are getting birds out again to start work. Cremorne (Bald Eagle)
train last year. So it is going to be an exciting year for the flying team, and an even better on
ew Birds Bred and on the Team
oons and constellations, so Pleiades (above) as my new and very beautiful Tawny Eagle. She
mental, but great. Ganymede is Hollyâ€™s young Grey Buzzard Eagle and charming, but not
Mark trained the only Aplomado that we bred this year. We added an Asian Brown Wood
Owl called Pixus who is full of character. Mark has the other Grey Buzzard Eagle, a young
d Scorpius. Four Lanners joined the team and a Merlin, but she started to sit down so now
ng! The little male Lanner, Zaurak, is going to be very good. Anabelle trained Io, a young
will be going up to Duncombe very soon.
awks, but we have a very nice young Red-tailed Buzzard who is just starting training with
ng a Red-tail going again. We bred two Kites, Alberio and Stunga, both are going well and
on as the new Hawk Walk is ready and safe for them all. I had a treat of a young male
put him up early for moulting as I had a fall on or rather off the horse (more of that later). is back on duty as is Yamasee (Red Kite) and the White-tailed Sea-eagle that we did not
ne for those of you who want to take good flight shots. Plenty of choice there!
From an ancient woodland (still untouched) and a Christmas Tree Plantation, (rather more touched!) The northern branch of ICBP is looking good! Over a year ago, Charlie Heap and I started planning a new Centre at Duncombe Park in Helmsley, North Yorkshire. Charlie wanted to get back into working with birds of prey and the potential site is stunning, plus we had enough birds to split the collection and make two very good ones. I am often told that for a place open to the public its location, location, location. Well this has a great location in bucket fulls. The gates and drive up to Duncombe House are literally in Helmsley. Its a ten to fifteen minute walk from the middle of the very pretty town. North Yorkshire is a wonderful tourist area and I have never seen Helmsley anything other than busy, no matter what time of the year I have been there. The Estate owner would not be nicer and more enthusiastic and we are renting a wonderful bit of ground with a beautiful flying area and the drive up to the car park is positively enviable, as is the existing shop that we are taking over. The Estate Manager is also a wonderful guy and really helpful. The planning application was a bit of a nightmare to say the least. Two member of the planning team did not want it to happen and did their utmost to stop it. However its a waste of time to fight a Heap and a Parry-Jones, so we won in the end. Charlie started building in January last year. As you may remember 2012 was a crap year for weather, and the rain did not help. I have not put in the pictures of the mud, have a look at our website, they will be on there!. The joyous thing about starting from scratch is that you can incorporate all the things that we have learnt here in the last 45 years and the new aviaries are great. Well built spacious and very comfortable for the birds, although Charlie did moan at one point that they were much cleaner and smarter without any birds in them, however I pointed out that it might be tricky to get people to visit empty ones! The aviary birds went up in November, the trip went well, well the trip up went well on the way back my Range Rover died again. Thank God for the AA. The birds have settled. The weather has been reasonably mild so that is good for their first winter. The Hawk Walk is getting there and we are training up the flying team in the next month to go up and be ready for Charlie and Anabelle who is up there full time now, to start flying and getting the demonstrations as good as we hope and expect from ICBP. All we need now is a decent year weather wise and people to visit and see the birds in their lovely new setting and we will be there.
The new perches in the Hawk Walk with the heaters fixed directly to the perch are working well, the birds are very comfortable and we are delighted with them. We have the option of adding a second heater if we get weather similar to three winters ago. Having a window in the front doors helps too, it means that if the temperature does not rise above freezing the birds are not in the dark all day, they have light and can see out, which I feel is much better for them. Early in the year the wood was cleared and the hedge laid.
.Then came the 45 anniversary picnic and can you believe it it did not rain! It went well and was fun. This was followed by our Royal celebration of our 45th anniversary. And again it did not rain until after most people had left. Mind you there was an extremely cold wind to keep us on our toes. It went so well, everyone seemed to have a great time, the dogs kept their royal ribbons on more of the time and Sedge as you can see wanted an official introduction! It really was a great day and The Princess as ever was fun to have as a visitor, and as usual gave a wonderful speech, I donâ€™t know how she does it, just
a consummate professional I guess. Not one bird let us down, they all flew brilliantly and the food done by Angela was so
good that it all went!! All in all it was a great day and the Princess is staying a patron of the Centre which is very special to us all.
July came the Olympics and I went to the Dressage which was great. We won both the individual and the team events, so Newent had a gold post box!
a a l
The weather was dire through most of the spring and summer - and autumn come to that! It rained endlessly. This made for a very difficult year for customer numbers which were way down, here is hoping for a better year in 2013. September saw the second Falconry Weekend which went really well, the weather held up apart from one shower in the afternoon of the Sunday. The audience was great, all those who helped with demonstrations and running the day were wonderful. The comments on the days were really heartening and we are doing it again this year! Bob Dalton was really helpful, and all the stand holders understanding about keeping the grass looking OK by not driving on it. Kent Carnie opened the weekend and generally the whole thing was well worth doing although it took an immense amount of work before and afterwards. At the end of September Simon and I went to India and Nepal, we taught an incubation course in India with pupils from Indian Nepal and Pakistan, it went well and after we had done Richard Jones joined us and we flew to Nepal to work with the Nepalese team on the breeding side of the project. It was a busy travel time for me, I then went to Spain where I had been asked to speak at a conference, and then back to Nepal for the annual Board meeting of Save. I was pretty tired at the end of it all, and needless to say caught a bug on one of the plane trips. The rest of the flew by wet and occasionally windy, with our usual beautiful autumn colours coming out, but I missed many of them as I was away such a lot.
With new staff and new birds, 2013 will be a great year to visit. We plan on turning Charitable this year if all goes well