Ok, so what are the rules for blogging? Updating every day? Or just when something interesting happens? I'm still figuring it out, in the meantime the birds still need to be trained and there's other stuff that needs to be sorted out. No major milestones have been reached with Heckle and Jeckle as yet, they're both still overweight a bit and we've been hit by some very unseasonal weather here in Alicante making it a bit tricky to make any real progress. Plus both birds have new tail feathers coming in so I can't put transmitters on them just yet. I'm sure there are many people who'll say "you don't need to put transmitters on Harris Hawks" well sorry, but you should put transmitters on any bird that you fly free, no matter how good a falconer you are, period!
For now, we'll do as much as we can until the weather changes. Nick and I met the local falconers today, nice couple of guys, very helpful. It's always good to meet with the locals and find out what the legislation is, where the good vets are, food sources etc. They have the contracts at the nearby airports for bird clearances. Sitting on a cadge in the back of their van were a couple of tasty falcons, a dark tiercel Peregrine x Gyr and a Scottish tiercel Peregrine, both hooded and immaculate. It was also nice to see a couple of well used dirty gloves and freshly killed dead Egret lying next to the bag, which made me miss my hunting days a little. I'm sure I can tag along with them one day.
We'll wait patiently for Heckle and Jeckle's tail feathers to be hard penned which should be no longer than a few days, only then will I put transmitters on them, then we can get them up with the gliders. Rome wasn't built in a day!
As much as I'm looking forward to getting in the air with Heckle and Jeckle, I'm missing our life in Nepal, our home, friends and family, and of course our birds. While I was watching the wind sock getting battered about out of our bedroom window today, I found this picture deep inside the confines of the interweb. It was from a photo shoot that our friend Julian Andrews did a couple of years ago, that's me flying Anita with Bob, one of our Egyptian Vultures. Julian was on a second tandem, he must of shot this from behind. I remember the day, it was overcast, there were no thermals so it was a 10 min top to bottom and our last chance to get some decent pictures and salvage something from Julian's visit which had been dogged by bad weather. There's also some interesting pictures from the Cannon camera I'm holding on a pole which have been published in several newspapers I believe. Sadly though I doubt the pictures tell the real story of the flight, the pole with the camera was quite heavy, I was telling Anita to keep calling Bob in whilst I fire off shots. Anita will probably say that I was being a little more demanding, fair enough, but in my defense I did have a fair bit going on and the clock was ticking. Needless to say it wasn't the most pleasurable flight we've had together. Julian being the pro that he is, obviously managed to pull this out of the bag. During his visit he also got some pretty incredible shots of Vultures at the vulture safe zone project in Chitwan, I hope that get published soon. I hope he doesn't mind me posting this on here, I'll ask him if I can put one or two of the vultures here too.
Here's a link to his website - www.julian-andrews.com