Archive for January, 2017

News of Sprite our Peregrine.

Well Sprite is flying again! and well but as anybody will tell you flying Peregrines as always a high risk business as they are dedicated chasers of pigeons – but so far so good.

My last blog covered our stay in Essex in the autumn of 2015 and I included a picture by my late father from the ‘Darent Suite’  which I am fond of. It evokes a similarity of emotion  to the way I feel about Baker, light and landscape. 20161002_112817Even more so as my father bought me the book ‘ The Peregrine’ in about 1970. So I am early reader of the work. I will talk more about Baker in future blogs. I leave you with a further picture of ‘Sprite’ and the good news that he flying again.

J A Baker – The Peregrine and John Davie – The Darent Suite

In the autumn of 2015 we had a holiday in Essex mainly to have a look around the area that J A Baker used to cycle and watch wildlife – mainly birds – notably his pursuit of wintering peregrine falcons in his area of Chelmsford. We had a wonderful few days in the area staying at Longwick Farm. We walked along the Blackwater estuary to Tollesbury passing Gore Saltings and other notable Baker places. Unfortunately we did not see a peregrine sitting far out on a post in the saltings as described by Baker – I would have loved that. We did see a Marsh Harrier flying low over the seawall hunting the small ponds which run along beside it which was great and also a great many skylarks and other small birds. We went down to the ford on Hurrell’s lane where peregrines often came to bathe. See the photo I  include but firstly a painting by my late father John Davie RCA  from the Darent Suite – his very large painting is much better viewed in person to get the real splendor of it but I include it to make the comparison. For reference the Darent Suite is based on a journey from the river’s source to the Thames estuary see

painting 1 or 5again

We went down to the Ford which is thought is the ford Baker mentions in his book. It did have a magical feel to it and we walked the area hoping to see a peregrine. We did however see a Merlin near the Ford which was a great and a rarer sight nowadays than a peregrine. We also walked part of Grace’s walk and then drove over to Hanningfield reservoir south of Chelmsford – often visited by Baker where we saw a Peregrine! mobbed by a couple of crows. Of course they are more frequent sighting now than they were back in the late 1950s and  1960s. There is a lot of controversy about Baker ‘The Peregrine’ – regarding its authenticity. For birders authenticity is important but I say do not be afraid to read and enjoy the work. Back to me now all our birds are flying well – Pete the Kestrel is flying really well! we also saw a Kestrel down by the Ford and also sitting on an overhead wire near Longwick Farm.

This is lovely picture of the ford that crosses Hurrell’s lane near Little Baddow.

2015-10-20 11.14.20 J DAVIE 1

birds of prey displays 2017 looking head with Michael Davie.

Well Happy New Year! we are looking forward to the season ahead.

I was out with our dog a few days ago and I was thinking about last year and things in general regarding falconry displays. Of course the interest in falconry has never being higher which is reflected in the popularity of the ‘falconry experience’ as an activity at a range of establishments.

I cannot claim to have been at the start of providing events falconry displays as a business in itself – probably the late Chris Tuffrey has more of a claim for this position – but anyhow from the lat 1980’s it happened, developed and expanded to what it is today. Of course with the high level of falconry exposure one could argue that falconry has lost its special appeal.

I was thinking actually that this is not true – nothing can beat the thrill of hiring a falconry display for your own event. To have the display on your village field.

It is wonderful to see your local patch set up with a marquee – for the flower show or for live musc, space allocated for a myriad of  stands and of course the arena set up with rope and stakes maybe with chair suround creates the anticipation of the event to come.- I love bring a falconry display into this is environment where actually it is most appreciated – to have a falcon circling the entire show ground or the Eagle owl flying over people in the arena is just GREAT!

I live you with a picture of of  ‘Bo’ flying at