December is always a month for working hard at Gauntlet HQ, getting any general maintenance and building work done, giving the birds a well earned rest and preparing for the Christmas festivities.
This year Gauntlet's staff enjoyed not one but two Christmas nights out and a great time was had by all!
From all the staff and volunteers at Gauntlet we would like to wish all visitors and supporters a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
October saw the release of the motion picture 'Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children', which starred not only big Hollywood names such as Eva Green and Samuel L Jackson
but also some of Gauntlet's residents.
Malcolm (Eagle Owl), Scooby (Raven), Ernie (Chaco Owl) and Fran and Mac (Falcons) with Graham and Joe, made several trips to work alongside the cast under the direction of Tim Burton.
It was an awesome experience and all the birds did fantastically.
Gauntlet Conservation Trust marked International Vulture Awareness Day 2016 by hosting a fund raising evening.
Each year, as part of our commitment to conservation, we hold a special event to highlight the severe problems that
vultures around the world currently face.
A special display let people get as close as possible to Gauntlet's vultures and learn about their plight in the wild and
what we can do to help.
After a barbeque the staff undertook some fundraising challenges including a hot dog eating contest!
During our Bank Holiday 3pm flying demonstration our Marabou Storks Robert and Rebecca decided to go and explore their local surrounding fields!
They were quickly spotted by Gauntlet's staff as you can imagine there were not many places to hide. They spent a short while exploring before taking
to the skies and flying back to their aviary before it got dark.
Robert and Rebecca are now on their winter break, but will be gearing up for demonstrations from Easter 2017.
Gauntlet was presented with a great surprise this month!
Two of our red kites paired up for the first time and successfully incubated and hatched out this chick.
Here he is at six days old, making a very quick appearance for some lucky photographers on one of our Photography Workshops.
June is always busy for us and a key time as we prepare to attend the Cheshire Show.
This was the 8th year we've been asked to provide a Birds of Prey stand and put on flying displays in the main arena.
Each year seems to get bigger and better. 2016 was as well attended as ever and the birds and staff were on top form!
Gauntlet was off travelling again in May. This time Graham and Joe took four of our Hooded Vultures over to Ireland for some filming work.
Their job was to do what comes naturally and scavenge around a carcass whilst the cameramen did the rest.
All the birds did very well and even Baldrick took a little flight around the Irish hills!
On the 5th April 2016 Gauntlet celebrated it's 20th Anniversary!
20 years of flying demonstrations, 20 years of caring for birds big and small, 20 years of educating old and young of the importance of birds of prey.
Much has happened during these years and there is much more to come!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY GAUNTLET and here's to the next 20!
Visitors may have noticed recently a 'work in progress' art piece developing over the last month.
Designed and painted by our very own Jess, the now finished "wingspan wall" looks awesome!
It can be found near the children's play area, so go ahead and find out what your own wingspan is, you might be surprised!
This February Gauntlet could again be found at Birminghams NEC for the Caravan, Camping, and Motorhome show 2016.
Shell & Jess along with Wispa the Kestrel, Eric the Long Eared Owl, and Harriet the Ferret worked alongside "Camping in the Forest"
and demonstrated some of the birds of prey (and polecats!) that you may see whilst out and about in the UK.
They also met Chris Packham during their time there!
In January Gauntlet worked alongside Ready Camp at the caravan and motor home show at Event City in Manchester.
Graham and Shell presented a number of Gauntlet's residents as part of their "Get back to nature" presentation.
The quieter winter months at Gauntlet mean the opportunity to get some jobs done!
Over the summer months visitors may have noticed that Gauntlet is growing with
the addition of our new children's play area.
Developing over the winter months has been our barn extension which will make way for a brand new entrance,
shop and tea room. Here's a little sneak peak.
Meet Pumba and Timone, our new Meerkats!
They are settling in nicely to their new enclosure and have already been attracting lots of admirers.
There is no doubt they are going to be a huge hit and so we have put together a brand new Meerkat Experience,
giving you the chance to get up close to these cheeky characters!
to find out more
Gauntlet has had a busy summer season not just at base, but also away from the centre on location at different film shoots. Gauntlet already has a strong catalogue of TV and film work and this summer we have been adding to it.
For one of the projects, Wallice our Barn owl and Chocky our Yellow Headed Cara Cara were both called upon to star in a new Disney childrens series The Evermoor Chronicles. The Evermoor Chronicles is a new 20 part series to be shown on the Disney channel over the 2015 autumn period. See if you can spot them on your TV soon!
International Vulture Awareness Day
The International Vulture Awareness Day has grown from Vulture Awareness Day run by the birds of prey programme in South Africa and Hawk Conservancy Trust in England, who decided to work together and expand the initiative into an international event.
So on the 5th September Gauntlet once again went head first into International Vulture Awareness Day with the aim to raise as many funds as possible for these amazing birds.
Events of the day included a vulture cake stall, name the vulture competition, prize draws, special vulture talks, feeds and meet and greets conducted throughout the day.
The final job of the day allowed all the vultures to feast together on one rather large carcass!
New play area opens to the public!
After weeks of planning and building work Gauntlet's brand new play area is open for use!
The purpose built fortress includes a climbing wall, slide, climbing rope and swings.
For the younger visitors there is a baby swing and sandpit area, with plenty of picnic benches available for a rest whilst the kids play.
It has already proven to be a big hit with parents and children alike and has been a great addition for our kids parties!
Results of 2014 Photography Competition.
It's time to announe the results of last years Photography Competition.
As usual it was a very difficult job choosing a short list, but in the end six finalists were invited to the winner's event.
We had a great evening with Graham, Will and Beth putting on a special display for the photographers, followed by revealing the
Winners and Runners Up.
to see the full results
This May saw the release of a long awaited film starring not just our very own Scooby the Raven, but also Graham! In September 2013 Scooby, Graham and Shell travelled down to Charlestown in Cornwall. The film 'Captain Sabretooth and the Lama Rama Treasure' follows popular Norwegian pirate Captain Sabretooth on new travels and adventures. Scooby's job was to carry a message from Captain Sabretooth's ship, back to land. The message needed to be received by someone and this is where Graham got a chance to be a piece of the action! Dressed up in pirate dress, and just after the films opening credits you see Graham receiving the message from Scooby. Scooby did a brilliant job and seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself aboard the pirate ship. And the same could be said for Graham!
This April Astra Zeneca invited us to do displays at their family fun
weekend. It was the wettest and soggiest weekend ever, as Humph our
White-Faced Scops Owl can tell you! In amongst cuddling lambs and making
wicker baskets, the families that braved the weather also got up close and
personal to a small selection of birds from Gauntlet's collection. Despite
the weather everyone enjoyed meeting the birds and Harriett our ferret when
she decided to come out of hiding after falling asleep in Heather's coat
Ferrets have long been a favourite at Gauntlet and we are always looking for new ways to keep them entertained.
Their brand new enclosure has lots of new features. It includes individual bedding boxes, linked by tunnels and even an open air walkway, which they've really taken to!
Welcome to Beth Hamer, the latest member of staff here at Gauntlet.
Beth is on a college assisted apprenticeship, studying for an NVQ in Animal Health at Reaseheath College.
You may think that January is quiet for Gauntlet but we are still open for flying displays every weekend.
It has been great to see so many of you braving the chilly weather to watch the displays. During the week Gauntlet staff are busy
providing experience days, looking after the birds and setting up the centre ready for March.
If you have not joined us for a winter flying display yet, what are you waiting for!
Wrap up warm and head down on Saturdays and Sundays between 11am and 4.30pm
Everyone at Gauntlet would like to wish all our customers, clients, members and friends a very Merry Christmas and
a Happy New Year.
Have a look at this film of the best of this year. You can expect more and better in 2015!
Graham has now become a regular on CBBC show Wild!
This month he was at Tamworth Snow Dome with Frosty our Snowy Owl and Franklin our Bald Eagle
to help demonstrate how birds of prey live in cold environments.
We marked the end of a memorable season with our yearly Halloween
It was great fun as usual with members, regulars and new faces enjoying the birds flying both outside in the dark and inside as well.
Thanks to everyone who joined us!!
to see pictures from the evening
Graham made his regular trip to South Africa this month
A selection of the birds made the trip down to the NEC this month to attend the 2014 Camping and Caravan Show with
Haven Caravan Holidays.
This year it was Heather's turn to accompany them
Another year and Saturday 6th September meant International Vulture Awareness Day was upon us once more!
We had a great day both here at Gauntlet and also at Knowsley Safari Park.
Thank you to everyone who came along to show your support.
Please go to our Youtube channel to see Graham get a soaking!!
Gauntlet Conservation Trust
After many years campaigning for birds of prey all over the world, Gauntlet has taken a major step forward in our on-going dedication to conservation.
Graham has set up Gauntlet Conservation Trust with the aim of expanding the work we do conserving birds of prey in the wild. We will continue
to provide support for current projects in South Africa and Pakistan and will also look to commiting to new areas of conservation and research.
We had a special gathering of photographers this month as we hosted the Winner's Evening for the Photography Competition.
It covered the last three years and so was something of a catch up. We spent a fun couple of hours with the pick of Gauntlet's many enthusiastic photographers.
As well as the presentations and a barbeque, they enjoyed a one off flying display, a close encounter with our largest vulture and also as a special thank you we had Franklin fly to each of them!!
to see the full list of results
Cheshire Show 2014
This year was Gauntlet's sixth year at the Cheshire Show.
It's become an important date on the calender with a lot of preparation leading up to the two days of the show itself.
Each year we try and improve on the previous years displays and we like to think we achieved that in 2014. The birds all flew amazingly, with Robert the Marabou Stork
putting in a show stealing performance!
to see pictures from the show
Kim Oerum from Denmark and Arnold Hamstad from Norway joined us this month.
They are both knowledgeable birds of prey fans and travelled all the way to Knutsford just to attend one of Gauntlet's Photography Workshops.
Arnold is an award winning taxidermist and an experienced wildlife photographer. He smashed all previous records for the number of images captured in one day!
Kim and Arnold were great company and we learned a little Danish and Norwegian. We also learned some interesting facts about birds and their anantomy, a couple of which even Graham didn't know.
We were very pleased to be awarded a Certificate of Excellence from Tripadvisor this month.
Thanks to all of you who posted such great reviews on their website and helped us achieve this.
SCOOBY SAYS HELLO
This news item doesn't need much explanation.
We'll let Scooby the Raven do the talking!
Here's Douglas the Tawny Owl, our first new arrival of 2014.
This was his first public appearance when he sat for a few minutes for Photographers on one of our Photography Workshops.
The 2nd of April was a big day for the next generation at Gauntlet, as Graham and Lisa's son Jake made his TV debut on Blue Peter!
He presented a section on the programme called 'Being Me', where he talked about his life
living and working with birds of prey. He was well supported by his sisters Daisy and Lilly, who asked questions sent in by viewers.
Obviously we are biased, but he really did a fantastic job and clearly has a talent for birds of prey and presenting. Watch out Graham!!
Gauntlet's 'Flight of the Talons' at Knowsley Safari continues to develop with a fantastic new feature for 2014.
This spring Graham commissioned the largest aviary Gauntlet has ever built including an artificial animal carcass.
We can now entertain visitors to Knowsley with the most exciting and educational Vulture Presentation you have ever seen.
We gave Shadow, our most experienced vulture, the honour of trying it out!!
NEW THREAT TO VULTURES IN EUROPE.
The devastation of vulture populations in Asia has become one of the major ecological disasters of recent decades and has been the
focus of Gauntlet's conservation projects for the past ten years.
Now a similar catastrophe is threatening Europe as the drug Diclofenac has been authorised for use on domestic animals in Italy and Spain
where a large percentage of European vultures live.
Diclofenac has been proved to be at the heart of the Asian Vulture Crisis as vultures feeding on dead animals that had been treated with the drug were dying, with serious environmental consequences.
A petition has been set up to bring this extremely worrying development wider recognition.
to sign the petition and learn more
This month Graham flew out to Dallas to attend the 22nd annual conference of IAATE (The International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators).
He has been going to the meetings for many years but this occasion was different as it was the first time he presented his own paper.
The full title of Graham's talk was 'The Reasoning and Importance of Flying Multiple Birds and Species' and outlined the philosophy and ideas underpinning
the spectacular displays that Gauntlet is now so renowned for.
It's 2014 and as Gauntlet moves into it's 18th year we have taken a step forward with modern technology and released our first mobile app for Android users.
Many thanks to Nick Gutten for his hard work with it's design and production.
Give it a try.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
It's that time of year again so from all of us here at Gauntlet we would like to wish all our customers & clients a Happy Christmas.
Our Halloween celebrations were well attended this year, especially as we had parties at Gauntlet and also at Knowsley Safari Park with all the usual spooky fun enjoyed by all!!
Here Humph and Belle pose for a publicity shot on the meerkat sculpture at Knowsley.
With seven trips in as many years, October has now become 'Africa Time' for Graham!!
He once again joined the conservation program in South Africa for two weeks tagging young White Backed Vultures.
The team covered two reserves at Dronfield and Makcarla, recording and tagging over 70 vultures. This was up on the numbers recorded last year and
encouraging as it showed that despite the other pressures they face, the population seems to be reovering from the drought conditions of 2012.
Hopefully a sign that this vital conservation work really is contributing to the future of the vultures we all love so much here at Gauntlet!
A couple of new arrivals this month have added to the diversity of our collection.
Firstly a pair of Kookaburras and also 'Rascal', a Pied Crow who is bound to give Scooby our Raven a run for his money!
They are not strictly birds of prey but great additions that will play their own part in Gauntlet's ever growing menagerie!!
2013 has been our busiest year for film and television work and this month saw that trend continue.
Ronnie, our young great grey owl, appeared on children's programme 'Show Me, Show Me' on Cbeebies, pictured here with Graham and presenters Chris and Pui.
Pamela, our White Tailed Sea Eagle has been in demand once again by the BBC. Graham made his second appearance on CBBC's 'Wild', this time in Norfolk at the Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary, with Pamela showing off for the cameras.
This month we welcomed the children of class 1 from Chelford primary school who came in force to Gauntlet to build an insect hotel.
June has proved to be a busy time for filming as our birds were once again in demand by the BBC. This time Graham and Joe were in Wales for a live broadcast on CBBC's 'Wild'.
The first piece was with Graham and Sebastian, our Golden Eagle chatting to presenter Naomi Wilkinson while Franklyn, our young male Bald Eagle circled over the lake below.
Then later in the show Graham did a presentation with four vultures feasting on a large rack of ribs!!
That's six birds in one live show and they all performed brilliantly. Job done!!!
Jenny had a big day out this month, as she travelled to the BBC's Springwatch headquarters for two live TV appearances. Firstly, Pam our White Tailed Sea Eagle met presenter Nick Baker on 'Springwatch in the Afternoon'.
Then in the evening it was the owls turn, with Malcolm and Yoda sharing the limelight on 'Springwatch Unsprung'.
The Chief Scout, Bear Grylls paid a visit to Knowsley Safari Park in May as part of a tour of Merseyside.
He spoke to a packed audience in the sealion house and was given a couple a challenges, one of which was to have a vulture fly to him.
Shadow, our Hooded Vulture was happy to take part.
This month we extended our involvement in vulture conservation around the world as Graham flew out to Spain to participate in a large wild vulture project.
He got to visit an environmentally important area in the Pyrenees where feeding stations provide vital support to the populations of several European species.
The sight of hundreds of vultures gathering to feed in their natural landscape summed up beautifully what Gauntlet's conservation mission is all about.
It's that's time of year when we start welcoming new members to the Gauntlet family.
So here's the first of 2013, Ernie the Chaco Owl, pictured at 3 weeks old and already keen to take his place in our ever growing team of owls.
Frosty our Snowy Owl had a big day out this month.
He accompanied Jenny to the heart of London, where he had a taste of the bright lights at a corporate presentation for an advertising agency.
It may be wintertime but we are already looking towards spring and summer.
As well as the birds, Gauntlet is keen to help the conservation of other species that are in trouble.
Each year we get quite a few butterflies visiting us so we are going to help them out by planting more butterfly friendly plants and doing some fundraising.
We have printed off some tips and also identification cards of butterflies to spot in and around your own gardens.
Next time you visit Gauntlet pick up a copy or download it here.
Butterfly Identification Card
A NEW ARRIVAL FOR THE NEW YEAR.
Graham took a trip over the channel to Belgium this month to pick up the latest addition to our collection of vultures.
Ellie-May is a young Eurasian Griffon Vulture and quite a handful.
But despite her size she's proving to be a real gentle giant with a lovely nature.
We are all expecting big things from her!!
Shadow, one of our Hooded Vultures got to celebrate Christmas a little early, when she was called to do a promotional photo shoot at Knowsley Safari Park.
We would like to wish all our customers and clients a very Merry Christmas and we look forward to seeing you in 2013.
Graham continued Gauntlet's commitment to conservation work, returning for a sixth year to South Africa.
He once again joined a team from the Hawk Conservancy to participate in the long-term monitoring programme of White-Backed Vultures.
They covered a wider part of the Greater Kimberley area than previous years, recording and tagging another generation of young vultures.
Shelley really got into the spirit of things when she spent 3 days at the NEC, doing some promotional work with Haven Caravan Holidays.
This month our head falconer, Joe travelled down to the Hawk Conservancy in Hampshire, to take part in their nest box challenge.
The task was for teams of volunteers to install 106 kestrel boxes in 48 hours, as part of the Caring for Kestrels scheme.
The aim is to establish the effects of nest box availability on the declining Kestrel populations then, once that is understood, to put in place conservation measures to help restore the population.
MEET THE STORKS
Here's a look at the latest additions to the Gauntlet family, who have been spending the summer at Knowsley Safari.
Continuing the wild bird theme, we have had a young buzzard staying with us for a few weeks.
We get a lot of wild birds brought in by the public and we usually refer them to our friends at Lower Moss Wood, near Knutsford, for rehabilitation.
But we made an exception on this occasion.
The swallows who nested at the centre last year are back again.
They started repairing their old nest in the entrance porch, but then changed their minds in favour of a new location... ...in one of the toilets!
CHESHIRE SHOW 2012
Our fourth year at the Cheshire Show was another great success for Gauntlet.
Blessed with beautiful weather on both days, the birds were really at their best for the displays, as were the fantastic audiences.
We had a great time and it was nice to see so many familiar faces who came along to support us.
Thank you and see you next year.
BELLE STARS ON SPRINGWATCH!
Belle the Barn Owl was the star of the show when she appeared on BBC2's Springwatch on 5th June.
She was there, along with Chris Packham and Martin Hughes-Games, to help explain the Barn Owl's amazing hearing.
We've had lots of activity with the wild birds that nest every year around the centre. The swallows that set up home in the eves of our entrance porch are back (and very busy!)
But it was a pair of Blue Tits that really caught our attention. Despite all the nest boxes placed around Gauntlet, they selected the 'cigarette bin' by the entrance to raise their family!
This time of year is always a busy period for new arrivals and 2012 has been no exception.
We have once again bred Black Kites and Black Vultures.
Other new arrivals include a European Eagle Owl and an American Barn Owl called Wallace and Gromit! Two great new additions to the Gauntlet Family.
(19 days and 13 days old)
(8 weeks and 7 weeks old)
KNOWSLEY SAFARI PARK OPENS IT'S BRAND NEW BIRDS OF PREY EXPERIENCE.
We reached a milestone in the history of Gauntlet Birds of Prey this month with the opening of The Birds of Prey Experience at Knowsley Safari Park.
This major new facility represents a significant development of the Birds of Prey section at the park, which Gauntlet has run for the past seven years.
Large aviaries, a spectacular flying arena and a spacious indoor area, mean we have been able to expand the number and variety of birds on display. This includes a team of our kites who have really taken to Knowsley and have been wowing the audiences since their first appearance.
Why not come and have a look for yourself.
Visit Knowsley's website to learn more
SHORT-LIST FOR THE 2011 PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION.
Thank you to everyone who entered the 2011 Photography Competition.
We have at last made the selection for the Short-List and all the finalists will be invited to attend the Winners Evening.
to view the Short-List
They say don't meet your heroes but Danny our Assistant Curator would disagree.
He was lost for words when the legendary Ian Brown from the Stone Roses called in to the centre.
But he still plucked up the courage to ask for a picture!
We welcomed our friend David Ross this month, who joined us on one of our Eagle Encounters.
David is the manager at Knowsley Safari park. He was instrumental in Gauntlet and Knowsley teaming up back in 2006 and remains very supportive with our continuing work there.
We were very proud of two of Gauntlet's favourite characters this month. Kitkat, one of our Black Vultures and Scooby our Raven took supporting roles in the BBC's amazing 'Earthflight' series.
They were filmed last year for extra footage to be included in two of the episodes.
We are delighted to have been given the chance to contribute to such a landmark BBC natural history programme.
We would like to wish all our customers and clients a very Merry Christmas and we look forward to seeing you in 2012.
GAUNTLET STARTS TWEETING!!
After two years on Facebook, we've taken the next step in the world of social media.
You can now follow us on Twitter, where we will be keeping you up to date on all the latest from Gauntlet. (In bites of no more than 140 characters!)
Please have and look and give us a tweet.
The Halloween parties this year were as popular as ever and a great success. Both evenings were complete sell outs and a great time was had by all.
The fancy dress was brilliant and of course the birds played their part too!
Thanks to everyone who came along, we hope you enjoyed yourselves.
We certainly did!
to see pictures from the two evenings.
A treat for all you vulture lovers (and for the birds themselves!)
Our five largest vultures were given a whole beef rib rack for one of our daily vulture feeding presentations.
As you can see they do not hold back and really show their natural feeding behaviour.
Lumpy our young Great Grey Owl has proved he has real star quality.
His big chance came this month when the BBC called saying they needed a Great Grey Owl for their popular series 'Deadly 60'.
So it was an early call at The Manchester Museum, where presenter Steve Backshall, along with Lumpy's help, explained about The Great Grey's amazing hearing that helps make them a top predator.
The programme is due to air in January.
A big thank you to the training staff from Werrington Prison,
as they once again came to Gauntlet for their staff away day.
Just as they proved last year they are not afraid of hard work and cleared an overgrown area ready for building in record time.
And not to mention moving 12 railway sleepers!!
A fantastic job and great fun.
Graham, Lisa and family spent their summer holiday across the channel in France.
And they returned with more than the usual bag of duty free!!
So meet our French cousins, who have come to stay.
Yoda Little Owl
Jean-Louis Turkey Vulture
Thierry Hooded Vulture
Here's an update on our resident family of swallows.
Four chicks hatched successfully and grew with amazing speed, fledging after about three weeks. They stayed close to the nest for another week or so and are now ranging further each day, still under the attentive care of the parents. We will be keeping an eye on them over the summer before they undertake their first migration all the way to Africa!
SCOOBY'S A BIG HIT!
Our Raven Scooby took to the stage this month!
He appeared in Damon Albarn's Opera 'Dr Dee' at The Palace Theatre as part of The Manchester International Festival.
We once again welcomed The Chernobyl Children's Life Line Charity this month. They have been bringing child victims of the Chernobyl disaster to the UK for recuperative breaks since 1992. Each year we invite a group of children to come to the centre and give them a memorable experience as part of their visit to the UK.
It's such a rewarding charity to be involved with and we are proud to commit our continued support.
Thanks this year go to Cranford's Cafe in Knutsford for provding a wonderful lunch.
We have always encouraged wild birds to nest in and around the centre.
This year a pair of swallows have chosen the rafters of the entrance porch to raise their family.
They don't seem bothered by all the people coming and going, not to mention the odd eagle or vulture passing by!
CHESHIRE SHOW 2011
Our third year at the Cheshire Show was a great success.
The weather wasn't perfect but the crowds were as big as ever, with over 80,000 people attending over the two days.
The birds all performed brilliantly. The vultures did their best to steal the show as usual, alongside our Bald Eagle, Franklyn who was making his debut.
We were especially pleased with Robert, one of our Marabou Storks. He's the biggest bird in our collection and was an amazing sight when he took to the skies, showing off his 3 metre wingspan.
Thank you to everyone who came to see the flying displays and our static display.
We will be back again for the Cheshire Show 2012!
A new arrival has been turning heads this month.
Pictured here at 3 weeks old, this is our Great Grey Owl who is already a rising star and is sure to become a firm favourite here at Gauntlet.
PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION 2010 RESULTS.
We had a great night on the 5th May, when the short-listed photographers for the 2010 Photography Competition attended a memorable winners evening and the results were announced.
To see the full results
The new pond is now complete in time for our main season.
The efforts of Gauntlet's volunteers, most notably Alan Boothby, have resulted in a wonderful new feature for the flying ground.
SHORT-LIST ANNOUNCED FOR 2010 PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION.
We have finally made the selection for the 2010 Photography Competition.
It was a very hard decision, which was a reflection of the very high standard and all the pictures on the gallery were worthy winners.
to see the short-list
Chef Matt Tebbutt joined us this month for a hawk walk, to film a piece for the television show Market Kitchen.
Here is a sneak preview of something new for 2011.
Staff and volunteers got together in the first week of the new year to start work on a large pond on the flying ground.
Everyone really mucked in with the spades and in just one day the hole for the pond was dug out and the basic landscaping completed.
December was a memorable month as we spent it coping with freezing temperatures and coverings of snow.
We had upto 45 birds living indoors, but Frosty our Snowy Owl was in his element!!
A big thank you to all our customers and clients, old and new for their loyalty this year.
We wish everyone a very happy 2011.
This month we enjoyed the company of Johnny Vegas and his family when they visited the centre.
Here Johnny gets up close to Franklyn, one of our young Bald Eagles.
CONGRATULATIONS! To Tristan Cooke & Jodie Turner who agreed to be married after Frosty our Snowy Owl delivered the handwritten proposal!
We hosted our very first Members Evening this month.
Thanks to everyone who came along for making it such an enjoyable night. We look forward to hosting many more in the future.
to see pictures from the evening.
Gauntlet is sorry to say goodbye this month to John Harris. John has volunteered at
Gauntlet for the past 4 years and has achieved so much. We wish
him the very best of luck at Blackpool University where he has gone to pursue his
passion of photography.
A welcome to Leon Arends, from Holland who is a fellow member of IAATE and a
friend of Gauntlet. Leon recently visited sunny Knutsford to help out and
get close and personal to a few of our larger birds.
The August Bank Holiday Monday was a great success this year. The weather was kind to us and there wasn't a spare seat for the displays.
Regulars and new visitors all enjoyed the sunshine while the birds did what they do best!
Another of our birds was under the spotlight this month. Pamela, our White Tailed Sea Eagle was called upon to do some filming by the BBC.
Graham and family made the long trip up to Scotland with Pamela and spent a memorable day recording for a show on CBBC called Wild about Art,
which will be shown around September or October time.
GAUNTLET AT CHESHIRE SHOW 2010.
Gauntlet were delighted to attend the Cheshire Show again this year.
The beautiful weather and record crowds were the perfect stage for the birds to put on some wonderful displays over the two day event. Among the
many stars of the Gauntlet team our young male Bald Eagle and Basil the Griffon Vulture received glowing reviews.
We are very pleased to say we will be back for 2011 and look forward to seeing you there next year.
We were pleased to welcome the Training Team from Werrington Prison, who chose Gauntlet for their staff away day. Gauntlet runs educational modules and courses at Werrington. It was a hands-on experience for the
group of six who were split into two groups and really got stuck in with such tasks as cleaning aviaries, painting, tidying weatherings and even moving the fence on
the main flying arena.
They were rewarded for all their hard work, firstly when they all got to fly Shadow, one of our Hooded Vultures. Then the highlight of the day was a hawk walk with a team of our Harris Hawks,
which was greatly enjoyed by everyone. 'Best away day ever!" was the final verdict.
We were delighted with the efforts of our friends from Werrington and look forward to welcoming them again.
The diversity of Gauntlet's collection took a big step forward this month with the arrival of these two amazing Marabou Storks.
This large and unusual pair have already attracted a lot of attention and really are a must see.
Alan, one of our Kestrel's, was in the limelight when the BBC paid Gauntlet a visit.
They were filming a piece for 'The One Show' on Kestrels that will be screened in October.
Graham flew out to Albuquerque in New Mexico this month to attend the 18th Annual International Conference of IAATE
(International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators).
The four day conference was a great opportunity to meet many of the world's top experts in avian training.
Results of the 2009 Photography Competition
We had a great winner's day on Saturday 27th February, when the short-listed photographers attended a one-off experience and were presented with their certificates.
For more details
The Short List for last year's hugely successful Photography Competition was announced this month.
Such was the high standard that we decided to have two categories and hold a winner's day at
the end of February.
It was business as usual at Gauntlet, despite four inches of snow falling at the centre on the 5th January.
We were all kept busy (and warm!) clearing snow from the paths and aviaries.
And Frosty our Snowy Owl was in his element!
DECEMBER 2009 - NEWSFLASH!
Our young female Bald Eagle took an early Christmas Holiday after drifting out of sight of the centre during a training session.
We would like to send a big thank you to the kind assistance we received from the good people of Cheshire during the few days that we were tracking her.
We recovered her from Rostherne, near Knutsford, early on Friday, 11th December.
As 2009 comes to an end we feel the time is right to make a special announcement.
Graham & Lisa are delighted to reveal that we have successfully bred two Bald Eagles this year.
This is a dream come true for Graham;
'The Bald Eagle has always been one of our iconic species & to breed this magnificent bird for ourselves is something that Gauntlet is
incredibly proud of.'
Next year will see them take to the air and learn a thing or two from Hannah!!
Let us take this opportunity to wish Gauntlet's clients, customers & friends a Happy Christmas and we look forward to welcoming you in 2010.
This month Gauntlet took a new step forward in keeping in touch with all our customers, clients and friends by joining Facebook.
Please visit our page and join in.
Graham returned to South Africa in October to further Gauntlet's on-going conservation work with The Hawk Conservancy.
New transmitters were fitted to White Backed Vultures that will be monitored over the coming months.
Here is a video to give you a flavour of the 'African Experience.'
Our Halloween parties were a huge success this year with 150 people attending over the two days.
They were treated to a great night out at Gauntlet with the birds putting on some brilliant displays under the cover of darkness!
And staff and visitors alike got into the spirit of things.
Volunteer John Harris was on hand to photograph the ghostly fun and games!
International Vulture Awareness Day on 5th September was a great success with over 140 organisations from all over the world taking part.
With International Vulture Awareness Day coming up on 5th September, Nibbles, one of our Black Vultures was on hand at Knowsley Safari Park
to pose for a publicity photo.
Not sure what he made of sitting on top of the huge vulture carving!
Gauntlet's flying displays have being drawing big crowds and great praise this month, with upto 14 of our kites and vultures taking to the skies at once!
In July we launched our new fund raising initiative, SAVE THE VULTURE wristbands,
with all proceeds going to our vulture conservation projects in Pakistan and South Africa.
They have proved to be an instant success, selling nearly 800 in the first month.
We would like to thank everyone who has bought one of the wristbands for making them a huge hit.
GAUNTLET AT THE CHESHIRE SHOW.
Gauntlet's birds and staff were at their best this month as one of the main attractions at the 2009 Cheshire Show.
With over 80,000 visitors it was a huge success. Over the two days there were 4 flying displays where a selection of birds
from the centre put on some wonderful demonstrations.
May has been a busy time for new arrivals at Gauntlet. Joining Black Kites, Black Vultures and African Spotted Eagle Owls
born here at the centre, are a Snowy Owl called Frosty and a Yellow Headed Caracara called Chocolate!
We were lucky to have wildlife photographer Alan Saunders in the audience on Easter Monday to record a truly amazing event.
During the flying display Syd, one of our Black Kites, who has been going upto several hundred feet recently, was joined by a wild red kite.
They flew contentedly together for several minutes until Syd decided it was time to come down for his dinner and the wild kite drifted off and out of sight.
Graham expects this won't be the last time we see it, so look out for news of further sightings.
Our thanks this month go to Alan Boothby, one of our volunteers, who has been hard at work over the past few weeks planting up Gauntlet in time for Easter.
Numerous plants and pots have added a real touch of colour and the feeling that spring has truly sprung!
This month brought great news for Gauntlet, when Graham and Lisa attended the Cheshire Positive Business Awards.
Not only did Gauntlet win in their category, but also took the top award for overall winner.
The arrival of a pair of Griffon Vultures in January made a big impact in more ways than one.
With their 8 foot wingspan they make an impressive couple.
As part of Gauntlet's growing conservation program, it's hoped that they (Weyhill and Basil!) will
breed in the future, as Griffon Vultures come under increasing pressure in the wild.
Since Graham went out to South Africa in October, we have been receiving data back from the four White Backed Vultures that were fitted with the GPS units.
From this month you can follow the birds from here on our website.
November saw chain-saw carver Tim Burgess return to weave his magic on an 8 foot tree stump.
The wonderful owl sculpture was kindly donated by Alan Boothby in memory of his late wife, Ann.
Graham returned to South Africa this month to continue work there tagging White Backed Vultures.
September saw the arrival of Gauntlet's smallest resident, Bumble the Scops Owl.
Weighing in at 140 grams, Bumble is a great little addition to our popular team of owls.
Many thanks to Peter Bailey for sending us this amazing picture of Wanda, our African Fish Eagle,
in full flight.
Peter, who specialises in photographing aircraft, attended one of our Photography Workshops and put his skills to great use.
Here's an update on our fast growing Black Kite chicks.
These are the three younger ones and at 5 weeks old they are well on their way to a full set of flight feathers.
A second clutch of Black Kite chicks have successfully hatched. They pose here for a family portrait at 10 days old,
along with their 4 week old sibling from last month.
FISH CALLED WANDA.
Joining Gauntlet's team of eagles is a beautiful, 10 year old, African Fish Eagle.
Her name? What else, Wanda!
Another member of the Gauntlet family arrived this month with the birth of a Black Kite, pictured here at 5 days old.
FULL OF THE JOYS OF SPRING.
Gauntlet's first youngsters of 2008 are two African Spotted Eagle Owls. At two weeks old they get their first
good look at the outside world and enjoy some spring sunshine.
A new arrival for spring is Gauntlet's latest resident 'Spikey' the Red-Legged Seriema.
With his striking looks and distinctive loud call he has been causing a bit of a stir around the centre.
Vulture Restaurant Opens for Business.
This month has seen Gauntlet's new phase two expansion open to the public.
One of the major attractions is the new vulture restaurant, a huge purpose built aviary for the centre's White Backed Vultures, from where Graham and the team give daily talks to the public.
This represents a new stage in Gauntlet's commitment to raising awareness of the plight of the Asian White Backed Vulture, in particular the project at Changa Manga in Pakistan.
Early in March Graham went over to Amsterdam to attend a meeting of The International Association of
Avian Trainers and Educators, of which Gauntlet has recently become a member.
While there he got to meet and talk to some world-renown names in the field of raptors and birds of prey.
Here's a 'sneek-preview' of the brand new phase two extension which is nearing completion.
Molly and puppy Kyle inspect one of the aviaries taking shape in Gauntlet's exciting new phase two development,
due to open later this year.
Look out for details over the next few months of this major expansion to the centre.
Graham, Lisa and everyone at Gauntlet would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
We look forward to seeing you in 2008.
GAUNTLET IS ON THE MAP.
In November several shiny new tourist signs appeared around the Knutsford area, making us easier to find than ever!
THE OWLS COME OUT FOR HALLOWEEN.
Gauntlet's Halloween party was a sell-out success this year, with guests enjoying a magical display of Owls by Torchlight.
'Plop' the Barn Owl, along with many of his friends, showed just what Gauntlet's birds can get upto when the sun goes down.
Tallulah, one of our Tawny Owls, even attracted some wild Tawny Owls who were calling to her during the display!
This month Graham spent 10 days in South Africa helping to ring White-Backed Vultures as part of a monitoring and conservation scheme.
DANNY LOSES HIS HAIR!
Congratulations to Danny for raising £500 for the Asian Vulture Appeal by having his head shaved in
front of the public on Sunday 7th October. And Smokey shows his appreciation!!
Assistant Falconer Danny has agreed to have his head shaved to raise funds for the Asian Vulture Appeal!
He will be losing his hair during the flying display on Sunday 7th October.
All sponsorship funds raised will go directly to the Vulture Restoration Project.
Two new arrivals have joined Gauntlet this month.
First is 'Mr Lucky' a young Striated Caracara.
Native to the Falkland Islands, Striated Caracaras are highly intelligent birds and in the coming months
'Mr Lucky' will be showing how clever he is with some amazing displays in Gauntlet's flying demonstrations.
Second is a female African White Backed Vulture who is to join Smokey, our other African White Backed Vulture,
initially as a flying partner and in the long term to enter a breeding scheme.
SMOKEY MEETS HIS MATCH.
Smokey the African White-Backed Vulture sizes up a bronze sculpture of himself by artist Christine Grime.
Growing up fast!
Here again are the Black Vultures that were born back in may.
Showing the last of their down feathers, they are almost fully fledged and ready for the big wide world.
Temperatures soared at Knowsley Safari Park over the weekend of the 9th and 10th of June.
But Eddie the Bateleur Eagle took the opportunity to do a spot of sun-bathing, proudly showing
off her 5 feet wingspan!
Wood sculptor Tim Burgess puts the finishing touches to a huge sculpture of a White-Backed Vulture at Knowsley Safari Park.
The piece is part of Gauntlet's promotion for the Asian Vulture Appeal.
New arrivals at Gauntlet were two Black Vultures.
Bred at the centre, the larger one on the right hatched two days before the smaller one.
They are pictured here at 7 and 9 days respectively.
Three harris hawks born at the centre.
Pictured here at around 4 weeks old.