Saturday July 24th 2010
Wow, what a week it’s been! Not typical of the experiences an owl keeper might reasonably expect in a days work. The ‘Lakes’ television crew have been here most of the week. On Thursday I spent most of the day with them. They filmed an in depth interview with me, as well as followed me round for ‘fly on the wall’ filming while I was doing my rounds. I met Rory McGrath at ‘Heron Happy Hour’. He’s a lot taller than I imagined. Lurking amongst the film crew’s entourage, I noticed one or two faces familiar from the first series. They were going to do an interview with ‘Mad’ Eileen, who works in the castle and who has the ‘Second Sight’. It’s funny to think, that we are both, characters who might feature in the next series, and that we are, in fact, neighbours, both living in the same cul-de-sac. We hope this will raise the profile of Muncaster as a visitor attraction. The Lakes as a television series is the most invaluable form marketing possible. It is a winner from every perspective. It goes out at a time when people are considering where to go for their summer break, and also by high lighting some of, (to the un-informed), lesser known attractions such as Muncaster, it gives people an even bigger incentive to come to this region, thereby benefiting every other visitor attraction as well. Last but not least; it is also very good viewing as well!
On the owl side of things, we have had a number of casualties this week. Our female Snowy Owl, after breeding successfully, has developed kidney problems which is not so good. What is complicated is that owls don’t drink a great deal, and she needs to drink to flush out her kidneys. We are having to inject mice with water to increase her fluid intake. Time will tell whether we are successful or not.
We have also received two injured Barn Owls this week. One adult and an owlet of approximately four weeks of age. Both had injuries which were so severe, that their quality of life would have been significantly compromised. Unfortunately both had to be euthanased.
I picked up a Buzzard in the Breeding ground on Tuesday, which was weak and thin. It must have been caught out by the bad weather we were having. It appears to have a slight foot infection, which may have reduced it’s ability to hunt, causing it’s ensuing loss of condition. It is presently residing in the hospital undergoing treatment for the infection.
Being a charity, we have to be creative in our efforts in fund raising, as it is far easier to fund raise for ‘Lions, Tigers, Rhinos and Elephants’, than it is for owls. So it is with this in mind, that I came up with the latest ‘scheme’. I ran it past Andy, who thought it was a good idea. The idea was; going to the Maryport Blues Festival with Mortimer the Buzzard, and with the help of blues rock band ‘Buzzard’, who have adopted Mortimer as their band mascot, raise some funds for the World Owl Trust. Buzzard were performing at the ‘Wave Centre’ in Maryport at 7 o’clock on Friday the 23rd of July, and were the official openers for the festival. The idea was to parade ‘Mort’, and put the collection bucket round at the same time. We took it a stage further in that I went on with Buzzard and ‘performed’ with them on the second half of their set, which was for the last half hour. Brilliant! I also recorded the gig on a digital 16 track studio. The results of which I haven’t listened to yet. The idea being that, we put it on Youtube, and link it back to our website for donations. I will keep you informed. Buzzard are a crowd favourite, having a tremendous stage presence, as well as playing their instruments as if their life depend on it. A very welcome antidote to the modern ‘homogenised, vanillafied’ music manufactured by today’s ‘music factories’. I will post some pictures of the gig at the end of this blog. Please note that Norman, Buzzard’s main guitar player makes me look almost folically challenged! All the members of the band are characters, who have been involved in the music industry in some capacity or other for many years.
After the gig, many people wanted to meet Mortimer again, as she had only had a brief appearance on the stage, prior to my joining the band, so she appeared in the canteen/bar area. Where she, (with the help of Wave Centre’s manageress Dawn), met her many new fans. Dawn, with her, (very), loud voice persuaded people to put money in our bucket, and then proceeded to take pictures of people with Mortimer, which will apparently be posted on the Wave Centre’s Face Book on the internet. We haven’t officially counted yet, but we think we generated in the region of £150 - for an enjoyable night.
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|World Owl Trust
Registered Charity Number: 1107529
Limited Company Number: 5296745
The World Owl Trust is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA). The Trust relies on a dedicated membership, visitors, donations and legacies.