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Your FREE Online Falconry Magazine


March 2014

A NEW Book on Eagle Falconry is now available

Where Eagles Hare by Thomas Carnihan

Signed copies available from ÂŁ52.00 inc P&P

MARCH 2014

Welcome To the latest edition of PURSUIT Falconry Magazine. As I write this editorial, I can reflect on my little adventure in Qatar. I was lucky to be invited by the IAF & ALGannas to visit the Qatar Festival of Falconry and attend the IAF AGM Conference in Doha. I was indeed fortunate, to see a little of what the art of falconry, means to the Qataris. Sadly, I only had 7 days there, but, it is a country that I would love to visit again and hopefully, experience more of the falconry culture that Qatar has to offer.


Please feel free in sharing this edition to your falconry friends throughout the world.

20 The next generation of Qatari Falconers

So until next month - Good Hawking!

4 News 6 Seven Arabian Nights by Neil Davies by Neil Davies

22 Traditional Hoodmakers in the Falcon Souq Photographs by Mark Williams & Neil Davies

Neil Davies, Editor Pursuit Falconry Magazine is published by Neil Davies and promotes the practice of responsible Falconry & Hawking. Please be aware all images and text is copyright © Neil Davies 2014 and the contributing writers, photographers and artists. No part of this magazine can be used without the written approval of the Editor or its contributors. To advertise, submit articles or photographs within Pursuit Falconry Magazine please email the Neil Davies , Editor:

Front Cover image courtesy of Mark Williams Photographer © 2014

26 Al-Mazzain Falcon Competition by Neil Davies 33 Must have Books The Baz-nama-yi Nasri: A Persian Treatise on Falconry by Timur Mirza Qajar

36 Photo of the Month 40 Jennifer Miller - Wildlife Artist PURSUIT  ISSUE 7


In the News... Vulture Charity launched in UK

Vulpro UK is a fund raising charity based in the UK. They will be raising funds for the critically important conservation work of the South African based VULPRO NPO. VulPro NPO was founded back in late 2006 initially under the wing of the Rhino & Lion Wildlife Conservation NPO, later to become VULPRO NPO as an independent vulture conservation body.

The project is managed by Kerri Wolter and her team and are based in Hartbeespoort, below the Magaliesberg Mountains, east of Pretoria. Working directly within Vulture Rehabilitation, Monitoring & Tracking, Education, Research and the Breeding/Reintroduction of the endangered Cape Vultures. To find out more about VULPRO’s work log on to their web site:

The Shaun Hayes Invitational ‘Best of the West’ Sky Trials American falconer Shaun Hayes, held an Invitational Falconry Sky Trials towards the end of last month. Full report plus pictures in next months issue.

David Ewell wins the 2014 Utah Sky Trials Congratulations to American falconer, David Ewell, who recently won the 2014 Utah Sky Trials. David was flying his peregrine falcon ‘Nike’ over this prestigious two day even and narrowly beat fellow falconer Steve Chindgren into second place by 2 points with Mike Orr in 3rd place.


PURSUIT FALCONRY MAGAZINE is proud to support the work of the IAF - The Internati

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CITES reveals World Wildlife Day Logo 3 February 2014: The Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has revealed the logo designed to commemorate the first World Wildlife Day, to be held 3 March 2014. All countries, organizations and interested individuals are welcomed by CITES to employ the logo in their celebration of World Wildlife Day. The logo is offered in the 6 official languages of the UN: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. Detailed instructions on how to use the logo will be made available on the CITES news page. With the adoption of Resolution A/C.2/68/L.48, the Sixty-eighth session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) decided to proclaim 3 March, the day of the adoption of CITES, as World Wildlife Day, to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora. The resolution reaffirms the intrinsic value of wildlife and its various contributions to sustainable development and human well-being, and recognizes the important role of CITES in ensuring that international trade does not threaten species’ survival. UNGA requested the CITES Secretariat, in collaboration with relevant organizations of the UN system, to facilitate the implementation of World Wildlife Day.

Qatari falconers emerge on top at UAE event Qatari falconers have bagged the top positions in the second edition of Fazza Championship for Falconry held in Ruwayyah, the UAE. This prestigious event saw nearly 200 falconers from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman, who vied for top honours in a highly competitive round of falconry. In a closely-fought contest, which culminated in Qatari falconers winning the first, second and third places. The championship has seen a huge increase in the prize money and a record number of luxury vehicles have been awarded to winning contestants over a two-month period. The winning Qatari falconers walked away with cars that included a Range Rover, a Lexus SUV and off-road pick-up vehicles. The runners-up were awarded cash prizes of AED10,000 each.

ional Association of Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey -





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The Fifth Qatar International Falcons & Hunting Festival Organised yearly under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Jo’ann bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani since its inception in 2010 and administrated by the Qatari ALGannes Society of Falconry & Hunting. I was extremely fortunate to be invited to attend this year’s festival due to it coinciding with the IAF - International Association for Falconry and Conservation of Birds of Prey AGM Conference in Doha, Qatar. So, on Saturday 25th January, bag packed I boarded my KLM flight to Qatar at 6.36am in the morning. Flying via Amsterdam. I was due to arrive in Doha at 7.00pm in the Arrivals at Doha evening. After, a long but, comfortable flight I arrived at Doha International Airport. Queuing for a short time at arrivals where I had to sort my Visa I passed through customs into a bustling international airport.

This modern city springs out of the desert sands and as the City of Doha overlooks the Persian Gulf and especially at night many of the buildings are illuminated and this makes a dramatic skyline. Upon arrival at the Hostel, I checked in and was given a shared room and my roommate for the seven days was South African Falconer, Bruce Padbury of SAFA. After, a quick chat, I decided an early night was in order as it had been a very long day! The next day, was a rest day and my hosts for the week the Qatari Society of ALGannas had laid on buses to visit the cultural centre, Katara for lunch and later we were to visit the Falcon Souq in central Doha and to return for a traditional Arabic dinner in the evening at ALGannas’ headquarters back at the Katara Cultural Centre.

After, collected my bags, I left the airport in a Taxi, heading to the Hostel accommodation laid on for the conference delegates. As a first time visitor to Driving through Qatar and to its capital city of Doha, I didn’t Doha at night know what to expect. Would it be a small city situated within the desert or a busy modern city? I quickly found out on arrival, Doha is a vibrant city, with a phenomenal amount of building work going on 24/7. The Giant Hood Building home of ALGannas


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© Mark Williams Photographer 2014


On the Monday, 27th January, the IAF Delegates conference started early in the morning at 8.00am and was to be held over 3 days in the Katara Cultural Centre, in the capital city of Qatar, Doha. As a guest of the IAF & ALGannas (the IAF member for Qatar), I was able to attend and observe the IAF Delegates conference and listen to several speakers and delegates debating several different topics relating to falconry across the world both in its cultural sense and in it’s sustainability in the 21st century.

Then, there was an exchange of gifts and presentations from several IAF members to the conference hosts and a special presentation was made to Kazakhstani Eagle Falconer, Abilkhak Tyrlybayev by Mr. Al-Mihshadi.


© Mark Williams Photographer 2014

After being welcomed to the conference by the IAF President, Dr Adrian Lombard and our Algannas hosts, Adrian presented a beautiful painting of a black Gyr Falcon by UK Falconry Artist, Andrew Ellis to the Algannas Chairman Mr. Ali Bin Khatem Al-Mihshadi.

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Speakers and delegates from over 70 different countries, debated diverse topics from the proposed EU Invasive Species directive, to the re-introduction of Houbara Bustards in key sites throughout the Northern Africa and Gulf region. As a guest of the IAF & ALGannas, I was treated like an old friend. I was fortunate, I knew a few of the delegates and guest speakers personally, but during my stay in Doha, I made many new falconry friends from around the globe. I now have a long list of places to visit, when time and funds allow. The IAF Conference ran each morning from 8.00am until 1.30pm and each afternoon our hosts AlGannas arranged visits to the Falcon Souq, a Dhow Boat trip into the Persian Gulf and visits to the Museum of Islamic Arts and towards the end of the week an opportunity to watch the Falcon and Saluki races at the International Falconry Festival, which was held in the desert at Messaid.




The Qatari’s are extremely friendly and our hosts from ALGannas especially the society’s Chairman Mr. Ali Bin Khatem Al-Mihshadi, Vice-Chairman Mr. Mohammad Bin Abdulatif Al-Misnad and the club’s Secretary General Mr. Zayed Bin Mohammad Al-Ma’adheed and his team catered for our every needs. Dining each day, was a mixture of western style dining with fresh food from around the world for lunch and our dinner each evening varied from a formal sit down affair to the traditional arabic tradition meal of rice and mutton and on one night, we were treated to dinner within a black bedouin tent adjacent to the Arab horse stables at Souq Waqif.


MARCH 2014

Each day, we had the opportunity to visit the Falcon Souq, basically a shopping centre dedicated falconry, where you could purchase anything falconry related to a new glove or even a falcon. Occasionally, you could see young boys training their charges in the middle of the Falcon Souq, whilst locals, tourists and visitors walked by. It was truly an incredible sight. There, is certainly no ‘Playstation’ generation here! and to see these young boys perfect the training skills in the ‘Art of Falconry’ was fascinating too me as British Falconer. Another, highlight for me was to visit the Camel Races to see hundreds of camels being trained in a vast complex, imagine the largest horse racecourse and multiply 10 fold you’d have a camel racetrack. An amazing sight!




Alongside, the IAF Conference there was an International Raptor Veterinary Conference, which was being held for the first time and again this was kindly sponsored by our hosts ALGannas and it was at this conference that veterinary experts from around the world were invited to speak and discuss recent advances in raptor medicine. The speakers were arguably some of the finest in their field and were chaired by Prof. Dr. Med. Vet Thomas Richter (IAF vice- president for Europe). Alongside, Prof. Richter the list of vets was like a Who’s Who of avian raptor vets: Prof. Dr. med. vet habil Michael Lierz, Prof. Dr. med. habil Rßdiger Korbel, Dr. Lorenzo Crosta, Dr. Marino Garcia-Montijano, Dr. Neil Forbes, Dr. Ladislav Molnar, Dr. Faris Al-Timimi,


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Dr. Antonio Di Somma, Dr. Keisuke Saito, Dr. Margit Müller, Dr. Richard Jones and Dr. Ikdam Majid. The veterinary conference was held over three days, both at the Al Jasra Boutique Hotel, which is adjacent to the state run Souq Waqif Falcon Hospital and at the Falcon Hospital, where Practical Laboratory sessions were held for practicing vets and veterinary students from around the world on the Friday and Saturday. The Souq Waqif Falcon Hospital is a world-class facility covering nearly 500sq meters spread over three floors, composing of a main clinic, hospital unit, quarantine and an extensive range of diagnostic and research laboratories. The Laboratories, include clinical pathology, microbiology and molecular biology with flow cytometry and liquid chromatography double mass spectrometry units alongside of veterinary equipment you’d find in the best clinics in the world. The hospital is staffed by some of the leading specialists in their field and is managed by Dr. Ikdam M. Alkarkhi. PURSUIT  ISSUE 7



But, the highlight of the whole trip for me was being a spectator at the Falconry Festival and watching the falcon races on the Friday. The trip to the Festival site was undertaken early Friday morning after being picked up in buses we drove for over an hour to the entrance of the Messaid site. Here we traveled on a desert sand road for another 30 minutes across miles of open desert to a specially constructed arena in the middle of now where.

© Mark Williams Photographer 2014

Here our hosts ALGannas had created a large amphitheatre with massive video screens for the guests to view the days racing. VIPS and members of the Qatari establishment were sat in throne like chairs under a tented structure and other quests had a choice of traditional cushioned seats or tiered stand seating to view the races of the day.


The Falcon races called ‘Al-Da’o’ were held over a set course of 400metres and falconer would then release his falcon which would races inches above the sand to another falconer swinging a traditional Houbara Bustard winged lure. Some of the better falcons would cover the distance in under 20 seconds catching the lure and being picked up immediately and within a couple of minutes another falcon would be off. The preferred falcons in the races I watched were Juvenile and Adult Sakers and Peregrines. The

MARCH 2014

Al-Da’o races lasted for about an hour and the winner would be awarded a trophy along with cash prize and to top it off with a brand new Land Cruiser. All the race winners were presented with their prizes at the Katara Cultural Centre on the Saturday afternoon after the prestigious Al-Mazzain Competition an international competition for the most beautiful falcon. Towards the end to the ‘Al-Da’o’ races, we had the opportunity to watch the Qatari version of a sky trial, called ‘Haddad Al-Tahdee’ when a trained homer pigeon (called a Zajil) was released from a numbered box in the back of a Land Cruiser and a short while later a falcon was released and a chase would ensue. The pigeon using all its skill to outwit the pursuing falcon. Some of these chases went on for 20 minutes or more. In all the chases, not one pigeon was caught. To see the pursuing falcons work hard in the pursuit was testomy to the fitness levels of the falcons. The winners to win 100,000QR and the opportunity to win a luxury Lexus 4x4. The final event of the races was seeing the Saluki race where 30+ trained dogs raced over a 2km. That evening in the desert we had a traditional Arab feast of rice & mutton followed by traditional sweet tea or coffee. After dinner Adrian Lombard President of the IAF thanked our hosts for their hospitality and for a magnificent day at the festival.

© Mark Williams Photographer 2014




Above: The ‘Al-Mazzain’ winning trophy Right: Sakers in the ‘Al-Mazzain’ Competition A short while later we boarded the buses to head back to our hotels.

The final day: My last day in Qatar, started quite late. After checking out of the hostel after lunch, we were collected by bus and driven to the Katara Cultural Centre, to attend the ‘Al-Mazzain’ Competition, the highlight and finial of the falconry festival. Here, forty of the finest saker falcons found in Qatar, stood hooded on marble blocks in an air-conditioned auditorium, which seated in excess of 500 guests. As guests of ALGannas, we were granted exclusive access and had reserved seats to observe the trophy presentations. The hall was full of delegates, guests and Qatari and Middle Eastern Falconers dressed in their traditional dress. This prestigious yearly event, brings together the best sakers found in the gulf and the winner is judged by a committee and the the winner of which, would receive a magnificent gold feather trophy encrusted with diamonds and 500,000 Qatari Riyals equivalent to over £80,000. a truly magnificent prize. The overall winner of the ‘Al-Mazzain’, was first time entrant, Mr. Saedd bin Hamad Al


MARCH 2014

Muhashadi was presented with his prizes by H E Shekh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani patron of the Festival since it’s inception in 2010 and the winner immediately donated his winning cheque to a local charity the Qatar Orphan Foundation (Dhreima). In second place was Mr. Muhammad Mubarak Al Khayarin, winning a Silver Feather Trophy and a cheque for 300,000QR and in third place was UAE Falconer, Mr. Mohammad Khalaf Al Mansouri, winning a Bronze Feather Trophy and a cheque for 200,000QR. Other prize winners on the day were: Al Talee’ Competition - which evaluates the falcon’s vision in identifying it’s prey the Houbara Bustard over a distance of 1 kilometer. The winner is the first falcon to flys towards the automated Houbara: First Prize - Mohammad Ali Al Marri Second- Khalid Omer Al Naimi Third- Abdulhadi Mohammad Al Mari During the festival, more than 2,500,000QR was awarded in prize money to the winners, and in addition to this numerous luxury 4x4 cars were awarded as prizs too. The catagories included: Al Da’o, Haddad l-Tahadee, Haddad ElSalukis, Young Falconers, Young & Old Saker Competitions. Sadly, that evening I had to leave Qatar and I have to say trip for me was arguably one of the greatest falconry experiences I have had. There are so many memories I will take away from this trip and so many people I would like to personally thank, Patrizia Cimberio, Gary Trimbrell, Véronique Blontrock and Dr Adrian Lombard of the IAF for making this possible and to my amazing Qatari hosts: Mr. Ali Bin Khatem Al-Mihshadi, Mr. Mohammad Bin Abdulatif Al-Misnad and Mr. Zayed Bin Mohammad AlMa’adheed of ALGannas for a wonderful time in your amazing country - ‘Shukran’. To all the IAF Delegates, falconers and vets from all over the world - Thank you! and hope to catch up in the future. Lastly, to Mark Williams from Marshall Gulf PURSUIT  ISSUE 7



The next generation of Qatari Falconers.... by Neil Davies

One afternoon, whilst walking around the Falcon Souq in the centre of Doha, the capital city of Qatar, I came across a remarkable sight of four young boys of about 12 to 14 years of age,training a Red-Naped Shaheen (Falco Pelegrinoides

Seeing, these young falconers train their falcon was truly a wonderful sight. They were obviously skilled in handling their charge and once it came to hooding you couldn’t fault the skill of the young boy who’s falcon his friends were helping train.


To see them hone their skills in a middle of a bustling city was an amazing sight. I stood there memorised for around 20 minutes, along with fellow falconers Bruce Padbury of SAFA and Mark Williams from Marshall Radio Gulf.

Seeing a falcon trained in the middle of a bustling city square is not something you’d ever see in the UK. But, here in Doha it was normal to see men and boys walk around with falcons on the fist. There are even airlines in the Gulf that cater for falconers. It is certainly a different world in the gulf. However, back in the UK, we’d expect to see teenagers hanging around on street corners or playing football but seemingly the PlayStation generation hasn’t set in here and it is great to see the next generation of Qatari falconers keeping the ancient art of falconry alive.


I hope that the next time I visit Doha, I will be able to see this tradition continue and maybe the boys in time will pass on their skills in falconry ,which is so intangible in Arabic culture, to their children and future generations of Qatari falconers. For a short video of The Falcon Souq, at Souq Waqif, Doha -





Traditional Hoodmakers in the Falcon Souq

Š Neil Davies 2014

Photographs courtesy of and Neil Davies


MARCH 2014



All images © Neil Davies 2014



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the defined in s a s a w ia r g crite The judgin ft) specify : le e e (s k o o handb ad in - Size of he ) % 5 (1 d a , Beak, ’s He , Eye Brow y d The Falcon o b ’s n o the falc relation of . stacial line Eyes, Mou rs, breast st, shoulde a e r b , k c e z e. )-N idth and si w Front (15% n o s si a h emph size, all wit ather e, Colour, fe ted z si , e c n a r nd poin ) - Appea of feather a Back (15% t h ig e w d clean th an ted and in in o p shape, wid , d e ss h are cro wings whic condition. feathering, n o s si a h p m n s (5%) - E ns.. Foot & Talo gs and foot and talo le f o shape, size ck , Front, Ba d a e H ) % shade ring (40 l Feather Colou gain, with the whitest a n o ti a n r tar Inte olour. A e Fifth Qa zain and tail c th z f a o M t r la A p e l val is th The fina the better. nting Festi by the u d H ain’, was te s & o s n H . o tion Falc e ‘Al-Mazz ti e t th a p f o m ld r o e e h C n s ad Al a in auty nas and w d bin Ham e overall w n d a Falcon Be e Th a S -G L r. A M by H f iety o e entrant, his prizes m h ti . it t e w s tr r Qatari Soc d n fi e te n C e atron as pres Cultural Al Thani (P nd uhashadi w d the Katara a M t s m e a n H fi e in )a b th ikh Joaan on in 2010 ases 40 of e c ti h p w S e in o c E h d s in n ’s n u g o it fo etiti his winnin stival since ung) to be d e r r F te This comp e a e h n th C o f d o o lc ly states. ons (Fa han mediate Saker Falc Qatar Orp nding Gulf winner im e u e o th r th r y u it s r a e h & th a local c the Qatar cheque to a a). y b d e g d y ju n (Dhreim o tl ti ic a tr d s n u d is o n n F titio eria to fi hich The compe ers and crit e standard rly event w n a e o y lc a fa is f o val n committee competitio Qatari Falconr y Festi forms to th ner. n is o c Th t a th lcon h the ri falco of ALthe best fa g coincides wit r the Qata ri Society in fo d ta n a n o u Q o lc e r r fa th u l s n by om the of the idea which is ru oners, y people fr lc n a fa i m r g ta n a ti Attrac h many Q Gannas. eager to , along wit s h c te a e ta s d n lf a u G hall cent h filled the a n n the magnifi 00QR. all of whic a in g w l a ld . u o w ho w ww r 500,0 find out w a cheque fo d n a r e th a Golden Fe


MARCH 2014





MARCH 2014





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Hooded Talons Quality handcrafted hoods & falconry furniture

Tel: +(44) 7723 442669 Website:

The unique wildlife designs of


MARCH 2014


A Classic book on Persian Falconry...


The Baz-nama-yi Nasri: A Persian Treatise on Falconry - by Timur Mirza Qajar and translated by Douglas Craven Phillott Available from: Price: £2,500.00 Published by: Bernard Quaritch. London. 1908 1st edition - one of only 500 copies. “A very important work by a falconer who flourished in the middle of the ninteenth century... gives detailed account of falcons as well as hunting-birds in general, and the author quotes from a number of early authorities on falconry” Hohenstaufen.

The translator, Colonel Phillot a graduate from Sandhurst and served in both India and the Northwest Frontier; later became consul in Persia for two years, then employed in the India office. A fellow of Calcutta University, lecturing Persian Studies.

These images and full details of this ancient practice are to be featured in Ben Crane’s new book PURSUIT  ISSUE 7


Mere Down Falconry B I R D S O F P R E Y F L Y I N G D I S P L AY T E A M

‘Mere’ in action

Telephone: 01747 824 913 Mobile: 07742 998 571 34

MARCH 2014

Hawking Books by Martin Hollinshead Signed copies direct from the author Second Edition. If you missed it first time around, here’s another chance to immerse yourself in this massively detailed best-selling training and hunting manual. New layout including action shots by US photographer Natasha Leong.

GLOWING REVIEWS ‘Deserves an A-plus. A first-rate, top-flight falconry book’ American Falconry ‘Should be compulsory reading for anyone flying or contemplating flying a Harris’ hawk’ International Falconer ‘Probably one of the most descriptive accounts of ferreting to hawks ever written’ Hawk Chalk ‘A compelling and enduringly fascinating read. This book lives up to its boastful title’ Independent Bird Register HC. 240 pages. £25.00

‘A must for all rabbit and hare hawking enthusiasts’ Scottish Hawking Club

TWO TITLES FOR THE EAGLE ENTHUSIAST German Eagle. HC. Limited to 400 signed copies. £30.00 Join Fritz Loges as he hacks, trains and then flies his eagles to fox in wartime Germany.

‘Recommended for anyone drawn by the allure of flying eagles’ Matthew Mullenix Hunting Eagle. HC. Limited to 500 signed copies. £35.00 Forests and fields are hunted – islands too – as rabbit, hare, fox and deer are pursued as eagle falconry’s best known names deliver today’s devastating bird.

‘A book that should grace the shelves of all who are interested in this wonderful raptor’ Alan Gates ALSO … Memoirs of a Hunter. HC £25.00 By Friedrich Remmler Edited by M Hollinshead Illustrations by V Gorbatov ‘The squeak of footsteps in newly fallen snow, the lugubrious silence of a forest shrouded in white and the startling cry of the tundra wolf; all are part of the astonishing memoirs of Friedrich Remmler…Whether driving wolves to waiting borzois in pre-revolutionary Russia or hunting them with golden eagles on the Kirghiz steppe, Remmler’s boyish excitement entrances…A mesmerizing book’ The Field ‘Fascinating...riveting...unique...mesmerizing’ Sports Afield ‘You won’t find a more exciting hunting book this year’ Gray’s Sporting Journal ‘Opens up an entire lost world’ Stephen Bodio

To order signed copies email: Telephone 01384 878 573 Available in the US and Canada through Mike’s Falconry and Western Sporting




38 36

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PHOTO OF THE MONTH © Mark Williams Photographer 2014



Memoirs of an Artist Naturalist by George Edward Lodge Printed by The George Edward Lodge Trust 38

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Pursuit Falconry Magazine - March 2014  

Promoting the Art of Falconry & Hawking.

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