Friday, 1 November 2013

4 months!!!!

Four bloody months it has taken me to write another blog post, I'm worse than my boss Jemima at updating my blog but I blame her for working me so hard!

I wanted to share some videos that I have found on Youtube, well one in particular and then the others are ones I have caught bits of but they are all on eagles so I hope you enjoy! The first one is on the White Tailed Eagle and I loved it. In fact it made me look into flight for Belarus it looked such a stunning country with amazing wildlife!

White Tailed Eagle video -

The rest below!

Philippine Eagle -

Bald Eagle -

Harpy Eagle -

And I know you eagle fans are secret owl lovers to so here is an Eagle owl video from the BBC


Thursday, 13 June 2013

Once in a blue moon and a blog post!

I should probably stop apologising now for my complete neglect of this blog, life is super hectic since I started the new job. The new job is going brilliantly though here at the ICBP with lots of exciting things on the horizon. BUT this blog is not about me but the birds so I must get back on track.

I really don't know where to start with this post as it has been so long since the last one a lot of things have been going on around the world relating to birds of prey and conservation. The breeding season is well under way in the UK and although I said I wouldn't mention myself again I am back out monitoring wild birds of prey with some fantastic new species on the list. I will do a report at the end of the breeding season! With the breeding season comes the webcams from all over the world, here in the UK the usual urban Peregrines will now have chicks fledging with Ospreys also being filmed again including the great Loch Lowes Osprey affectionately known as Lady back once again and breeding!!

Have a look at her attempts at

Meanwhile elsewhere in the UK raptor persecution continues to rear its very sinister and ugly head to th point where I really don't know where to start! As always one blog in particular stands head and shoulders above the rest in bringing the news to our attention

Possibly the shocker of the summer must go to Natural England though for the underhand grant of two licences to control Buzzards on a shooting estate and Chicken farm. This would have never come to light had it not been for a freedom of information application from the RSPB who must be applauded for this. Those of you new to this on going idiotics won't realise that the government had to do a U-turn on a proposal to look into lethal control methods of buzzards affecting games stock last year after public out cry. I will actually  write up a complete separate posting on this topic delving into more detail and personal opinion but the opening of canned worms can be found here

I actually have a facebook page fr this blog that as you can imagine has not been touched so I must start adding all the interesting stuff I read via e-mail or on various websites but if you want to find more stuff out take a look at the links page I have put up on the right hand side! I will also update the bird of the month page tonight with the help of the fantastic ARKive site , if you have a spare hour online and love the natural world then you have to take a look! I used this site the other day with a group of school children learning about bird of prey habitats, the video footage of Barn owls, Peregrines and Philippine Eagle had them mesmerised!

Finally before I go I must thank Allen Holmes again for letting me use his images they really are awesome have a look at his work

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


It won't let me upload pictures!!!!!! The laptop I am using that is because I am not part of the administration team so I have to find out how to change this with the boss who has the pass word! And I have some cool photos to show you!

Anyway do we think its going to be a bumper summer this year? Well I sure hope so because boy is it cold at work especially the biting wind which blows up the flying field. I wanted to go and check a Raven nest the other day back at home but the snow was 5 foot deep at the top of the overhang and I didn't fancy my chances even with a rope! It is a good job this bird chose to build the nest under a decent over hang otherwise it might have looked like the poor Peregrine at Nottingham Trent uni.

This image only worked as I borrowed it from a FB page! What a hardcore mother!

I feel for all the wildlife out there in these extreme weather conditions we have been having but one species that has appeared several times over the last month is the Barn owl. I tend to drive to work early morning and for the past month I've had 4-5 sightings of Barn owl in broad daylight which is a classic sign of the hardships of nature in winter. The Barn owl has had a roller coaster ride in the UK over the last 50 years or more and it is probably the most studied of our native owls with nest boxes schemes over large parts of the UK, fingers crossed this year proves to be a successful year to keep numbers on an upwards trend. As with any predator though their numbers are governed by their prey so the small mammal population will play a huge role in the outcome of the 2013 breeding season.

Barn Owl from my friend Allen Holmes.

Looking at the picture above I'm not sure a species of owl has stirred quite as much emotion in humans and folklore as the Barn owl has, as I type this I can hear the Barn owl in the aviary outside shrieking its very harsh call but they can also make snoring and hissing noises as well. It is actually the most cosmopolitan of all owls in the world only missing from the harsh arctic and antarctic regions and if you look at the classification of the Barn owl you will find owls as an order Strigiformes are split into Tytonidae which is the Barn and Bay owls alone with every other species of owl within the Strigidae. Enough of that banter this late in the evening!

Probably the first bird of prey that drew me into raptors playing a big part of my life but also what an important member of our countryside. An owl of the night with its shrieking and hissing call was often portrayed in earlier days as a creature of ill omen and bad luck even nailed to your door to ward off evil spirits. Little did they know that this bird was in fact the farmers best friend when it came to protecting his produce from rodents, the farms own pest control better than ugly modern plastic bait stations or a song bird slaying moggy!

Sadly the Barn owl now falls foul of our roads and I remember being told once that one in three Barn owl deaths are accounted for by our highways and after seeing them ghosting along the A49 to work this last month I can imagine this to be true. We keep our hedgerows trimmed down car height meaning Barn owls fly straight into the path of vehicles and also the best form of hunting habitat of rank, rough tussocky grassland is mainly found along our roads drawing Barn owl in. Lets start growing taller hedges landowners!

That being said this species is on the limit of its range here on the British Isles and when you factor in the fast pace of life and change this country has seen I think this species has done really well to survive. Along with the hard work of various individuals and conservation groups I think we can enjoy Barn owls in Britain for years to come and who wouldn't want to!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

3 months late!!!

Sorry for the massive lack of blogging I think it has been about 3 months since my last blog but life has been busy nonetheless birds of prey are still in the news. I have a new job however and I would like to include it a bit more in this blog as I'm sure readers will enjoy hearing about it. I will also aim to put pictures into post's as looking at other blogs by friends I have realised I don't use any and it is quite plain.

My new job is at the International Centre for Birds of Prey owned and ran by bird of prey authority Jemima Parry-Jones and her brilliant team of staff. I have to say I feel privileged to work at such and establishment the collection and knowledge is brilliant and hopefully I can bring something to the table.

Find out more at and come and visit me sometime!

Sadly birds of prey are still being persecuted in the UK I could probably write something different on it everyday for a year and their would still be a backlog of stories but I did read an interesting book based on mans relationship with predators titled Tooth and Claw. Not just including raptors but other predatory species past and present on the British Isles and mans relationship(s).

I've also been having a think about how I write this blog and I'm going to put a few more of my own view points and opinions instead of just news articles and links to websites and papers. Seeing as it is my blog I thought I should add a bit more of a personal opinion on all things raptor related.

Your probably all wondering where my pictures are for this blog but I'm on a new laptop so I will sort it for next time and upload a couple of some birds that I work with! I promise and I won't leave it for 3 months.

Right now I live next door to some vultures and eagle which is cool, I can constantly hear the screeching of one of the centres Barn owls from the owl aviaries and the squirrel that has moved in above me in the attic has just started scratching around!! Good job I'm a heavy sleeper!

Pictures to come tomorrow!!