‘Pete’ the Kestrel.

I have been struggling to get another photo of ‘Pete’ our 2015 male Kestrel. So I include a picture of him set against the Laurel hedge. He is a game little hawk and is flying really well. He is not afraid of vertical stoops and does this wonderful parachute stoop, down to to the lure on the ground. He is more likely to do this on a windy day – he drops down  as if on a spiders web – wild kestrels do this frequently.

He has not hovered yet – not properly – when he does I will reward him and hopefully this will encourage him to it again. Guests really like him and appreciate holding him on their falconry gloved hand after he has flown- they all feel like a later day Billy Casper from the book ”Kestrel for a Knave’ written by Barry Hines. I should mention that it was his brother Richard who was the inspiration of the book. He was the falconer and indeed trained the 3 Kestrels used in the film ‘Kes’ directed by Ken Loach. Richard Hines recently published autobiography ‘No Way But Gentlenesse’ is a great read and gives him the recognition he deserves – thank you Richard. He was an also an early reader of the ‘The Peregrine’ by J A Baker. I flew ‘Pete’ at an event yesterday he was just great – so were the the other birds but I leave you as promised with a picture of  him taken recently.

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  www.johndavieartist.com/darent_suite.html

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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.

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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 Blenheim.bo-duck

Christmas displays 2016 – update

Our festive displays went well – Christmas Day morning at Stanbrook Abbey was windy, dry and incredibly mild – and the display went well. Our Boxing Day displays went well too – firstly at the Cotswold house – thanks to Nathan for his excellent dummy rabbit work and then onto Thornbury Castle for our traditional Boxing Day afternoon display. Weather was good – bright and cold. Our Kestrel ‘Pete’ flew really well at both Stanbrook and Thornbury – he is a star with such a big personality.

Of course I have to mention ‘Bo’ the Eagle Owl, ‘Arizona’ the Harris Hawk, ‘Pippa’ the Lanner Falcon and ‘Sprite’ our Peregrine – they were all great.

I leave you with a picture of ‘Sprite’ taken a couple of months ago.20161002_112455

 

Happy Christmas! from Michael Davie falconry displays.

This is my e card for Christmas 2016 a picture of ‘Pippa’ flying at Blenheim Palace. She is, and I will say it again a lovely falcon. Hope to have news on the Peregrine in the new year – but he will be present at our lanner-5Christmas falconry displays over the festive season

Michael Davie -Birds of Prey Displays 2017

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Well it is December! and I would like to thank all those shows, corporate entertainment companies, clients and guests who have booked one form or another of my falconry displays over the last year. So thank you and happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year.

I have a number of displays over Christmas and that is what I am working towards with the daily flying of our birds of prey – of course I am hoping for good weather for guests as well as birds – I want to fly them! but  sometimes that is not possible so we head indoors to concentrate on handling. ‘Bo’ our Eagle Owl always flies well inside – she is so popular and if you have a nice indoor venue like a Tudor Hall  it is quite special.

We are beginning to take bookings for 2017 and no doubt we will return to many venues again – regular booking if you like and of course I always look forward to new events and the opportunity to meet new people and present my falconry and birds of prey flying displays. I will leave you with a picture of ‘leah’ one of our lovely Lanner Falcons flying at Blenheim Palace.

 

 

November falconry displays update 2016

We have had a quite a busy Autumn with displays. Pete the Kestrel is beginning to fly well – which is great. It is challenging flying a small falcon through the winter and being able to loft the bird is very helpful. So he is doing ok and I am hopeful we can fly him over the Christmas period at various events. He is popular with guests – many who have either read the book ‘Kes’ or seen the film. Our Peregrine ‘Sprite’ is now ready to be flown and I look forward to flying him again. He has been  lofted in a moulting aviary up to now.

Our Harris Hawk ‘ Arizona’ always a great flier at events has been doing more interactive work with guests – this is a new thing for him and he as done really well. His flying has always been great – he circles back nicely and he is an active natural flier. I will insert a nice photo of him at the end of this blog. I want to mention him because he is such an important hawk and we have had him 7 years.

We have had discussions about transport to events and the idea to put a range on our journeys – which is something that I have been doing for sometime. It is something to do with my own longevity! but also environmental consequences of long journeys. No doubt looking forward the next vehicle will at least be some kind of hybrid. The options at the moment are very limited but no doubt this will change. All ranges are within the conditions of our transport licence and the birds travel comfortably.img_9711

Anyhow I leave you with a picture of Arizona – sitting in a tree – a winter scene.

 

 

 

 

Preseli Buzzard

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Photo by Patricia Davie

Birds of prey displays Autumn 2016

Just an update. Brian our new Lanneret has gone into an aviary to catch up on his moult. He has had a good summer travelling to all events and flying  at many. He is still an improving falcon and like always I look forward to flying him again – probably early next year.

Pete our male Kestrel has finished his first moult and looks really smart in his adult plumage – grey head and tail and ready to fly through the rest of Autumn into Winter and then on to next year. The picture as part of this blog shows him on a shelf perch.

We have several upcoming events and we look forward to taking him along and if ready flying him. He did really well last summer and as I have said previously he is the first Kestrel I have had since I was a boy.

Kestrels are important birds educationally and he is a much valued.

2017 is going to be the 30th year for Michael Davie – falconry displays. In fact it is 31 years but next year will be exactly 30 from my first display in 1987. I started planning the business in 1986. We are going to commission a t-shirt with a nice line drawing of me with a falcon – taken from a photograph to celebrate this achievement. It is just a bit of fun – but why not!

I will at some point just outline the history of how it started – some of the wonderful birds we have had and hopefully some interesting anecdotes – but I will leave that for another blog.20161024_123918