Saturday, 10 September 2011

Massive Thankyou to a TOP artist & TOP bloke!

Well I met Dave Rampling a wildlife artist and falconer from Devon for the first time at the International Centre for Birds of Prey last weekend, I thought he was a top bloke to talk to and his artwork is truly fantastic at brilliant prices. I bought two prints one of the Perlin on kill for a friend who flies a Perlin and he loves it and a Buzzard head shot for myself which I'm very pleased with! His work really does catch the moment and the species in particular and a must for anyone who loves birds of prey!

It gets better though, I also wanted a print of the Sparrowhawk chasing Sparrows in a bigger size so Dave said best order it off his website, I did so but then decided I liked a male Kestrel print so ordered them both. They both arrived within two days and not only that but I found a print of a Peregrine on Partridge with the Spar print and a mounted female Kestrel print in with my Male Kestrel print!

I thought this must be a mistake so I rang Dave to find out if I owed him anymore money as I would happily keep the two extra prints but he said NO, they are a FREEBIE to a good customer!!!!!!!

Well Dave you are an absolute legend and a pleasure to have met and purchased your stunning work! It is nice to know even though there are a few bad apples which appear in the British falconry field there are still gems like yourself who are talented and willing to share it! I will be making more purchases and definately an original at some point and I recommend anyone who reads this on the forum to visit David's website and buy something nice or visit his centre in Devon, I will be visiting when I have a free weekend!

Thanks once again Dave!

I have added Daves website to the links page and also another webpage from the European Peregrine falcon  working group 

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Poisoning Birds of Prey!

It is becoming a bit of a  trend now in Britain, the way which must be most commonly used to killed birds of prey illegally and that is with poison. Whereas other countries struggle with illegal hunters and trappers we have a silent killer on our hands which can lie there for days waiting to strike but still having the same deadly effect. If we thought policing illegal shooting and trapping  of raptors was difficult well surely this is bordering impossible, with so many chemicals still readily available and the arguements of target species how can a stop be brought upon these silent murders.

Below are just a few stories highlighting the poisoning problems facing Britains birds of prey.

They are sad to read about but this is sadly just the tip of the ice berg in the UK, the long agonizing deaths these birds must go through makes it all the more painful to read.

Now For Some Easy Reading News!

Bit behind on some of these but just ignore if you have come across them already, a few from Wildlife Extra, the first relates to releasing 16 Sea Eagles one of which was apparently the goose killing culprit from the other post!

Any of you interested in the flights and tracking of Britains Ospreys have a look at this nice story, they will be well settled in back abroad now!

The Peregrine Fund in America are still carrying out fantastic work, the first piece relates to the ongoing release of California Condors and the second is the successful release of a young Philippine Eagle.

Another great interview from African Raptors about the Martial Eagle in South Africa

And for something very local to me, the Marsh Harriers bred again this year in Cheshire, the nest previously found by a very good friend of mine!

What a Load of Rubbish!

I tried to post something about this last week before I went to the ICBP but my computer crashed and I never got back round to it so it is a bit of old news but it annoyed me a bit. Some of you may have seen the article attached below.

Now I think the whole thing is just daft and this has been blown way out of proportion by people who don't understand the birds or in fact wildlife. I don't for one second doubt this must has been a horrible ordeal for the clergy man but after reading what happened from several sources and seeing the injury it seems  fairly clear how the injuries occurred. It seems that in his haste to scare off the eagle the gentleman was in the way of the exit meaning the eagle scrambled over him to get out leaving the scratch on his back. I have dealt with eagles in captivity and if it had tried to hurt him intentionally he would have had more than that on his back, when an eagle locks its feet in protection or fear you would know about it!

What I also don't believe is how the victim can then comment on how he thought the idea of releasing the birds was suppose to bring millions into the Scottish economy but it hasn't! I think he needs to check again and see how many people visit Scotland just to see the White Tailed Sea Eagle, they raise millions and create a fair few jobs along the way! Finally maybe he might want to remember what his job is, I thought Christians believed everything God created was sacred whether its a Toulouse Goose to our native White Tailed Sea Eagle.  But I won't go into religion!

 It doesn't end there, off the back of this story the Scottish Gamekeepers Association has called for an enquiry into the realease of Sea Eagles on the East coast of Scotland with the view they might not be able to differentiate children from there natural prey items. I was actually quite amazed to think an organisation would try and call a government enquiry off the  back of that idea, it is something of fictional books. Firstly Sea Eagles will primarily fish/scavenge and possibly hold down prey no bigger than a lamb, and secondly there are so many illusions about what a bird of prey can carry off, when you think they will weigh between 4-8kg and the average  5 year old weight is 17-19kg I think the battle would be a bit one sided in favour of humans. The other thing that makes sea eagles or the Haliaeetus genera different from say a Golden Eagle or the Aquila genera is that sea eagles are snatchers/scavengers where as the Aquila's are more tacklers and will take down bigger prey but you'd have to go a long way with the kids to find a wild Golden Eagle.
Take a look at the article below.

Where Have I Been!

Ok so it has been a while but just like London  buses nothing for a while then 3 come along at once, and that's what I'm going to do now 3 posts for you as I think they all need separating!

Firstly I best tell  you where I have  been and what I have been up to which also means  I will mention one special place in the UK. At the start of last week I made trip to Gloucestershire and the International Bird of Prey Centre owned and ran by Jemima Parry-Jones MBE, they had an event coming up and  needed some help getting ready for it so I  gave them 3 days hard graft and in return I hoped to meet Jemima and her team and get to see what goes on behind the scenes of this amazing  centre.

Now I won't go into every detail of my visit but I'd like to give you an insight into the ICBP and what it is all about, Jemima is recognised around the world for her work with captive birds of prey especially the breeding of rare species but also the great conservation work she carry's out with her collection. The centre is nestled in a lovely village called Newent down  a truly narrow country track and is attached to Jemimas lovely house, essentially the centre is her back garden, she bought the centre from her late father Philip Glazier a highly regarded falconer who back in 1967 started the original Falconry Centre. The centre is now home to around 250 birds of prey covering 60 species from around the world and 5 labradors (well one is a terrier), the range of species can be seen on the webpage but they cover everything you could want to see.

The birds are housed in lovely large barn style aviaries designed and built from years of trial and error and they prove this mastered by the ease of use and lack of disruption made to the birds, some of my daily tasks included raking out the sand and changing water bath's all which can be done effortlesssly. These aviaries include the owl courtyard, small Falcon aviaries, Kite block and large Eagle barns but what really does it for me are the grounds that the whole place is set in.

As you enter the centre you come to the hawk walk where the current flying  birds are tethered usually a large grassed area with several perches scattered about, but at the ICBP it really is like a walk in a show garden. Along the walk are creeping plants and drooping trees seperated by rose bushes and past these are the birds, as you walk on around to the aviaries there are lawns and flower beds with shrubs and bushes growing aplenty. The centre is not short of mature trees some overshadowing the aviaries or a nice picnic spot, they have a small woodland walk currently being created to fit in with the childrens play area and Mozarts Owl Maze. These are found next to the flying arena, which is through an archway of foliage and here you can catch 3 flying demo's depending on the time of year, make sure you check out the gate on the way down, painted by my own fair hand but thats as far as my artistic skills stretch.

Jemima and her team were the nicest bunch I have come across at a centre, and if your looking for a day out you should look no further than here! In my opinion this place set's the standard for birds of prey in captivity and it was a treat to spend three days at the centre, I'll be going back!

Make sure you visit!