30th July 2014 – the New Forest Show   Leave a comment

Margaret and I visited the New Forest show at Brockenhurst yesterday. As it is always held mid-week and I and/or my partner have always been working, it has been over thirty years since I last went.

It was a beautiful sunny day with the temperature hovering around 27c which made it pretty hot inside the marquees. Of course there were the traditional exhibiting and judging of prize livestock but most of our time was spent looking at various merchandise and produce for sale, fortunately we didn’t yield too much to temptation and came away reasonably (financially) unscathed.

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There were plenty of horse related activities being judged.

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Horses of all sizes. I must admit I know nothing about horse shows so I can add no further details …..

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.. but some are beautiful indeed

 

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There were prize bulls ….

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and prize sheep as well as prize pigs, rabbits and poultry …..

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all patiently waiting to be judged.

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There were demonstrations of traditional rural activities such as thatching …

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and displays of old farm machinery like this threshing machine …

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.. and even an exhibition of ferret racing.

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Naturally I was interested in the display of falconry although no birds were being flown whilst we were there. I have never seen this Brown Wood Owl in captivity before, by a strange coincidence it is the last new bird I saw in the wild, in Borneo in early July.

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I do not object to falconry when it is performed by reputable organisations. Birds kept and flown in Britain are captive bred and well looked after. What I do object to is the capture of wild falcons (predominately of Sakers and mainly in Central Asia)  This has a  a marked effect in Kazakhstan and Mongolia where populations are in free fall due to trapping for Middle East falconry . In the foreground is a Saker, I couldn’t get an angle to photograph it from the side, behind is a Lanner, its distribution is mainly African and it seems to be less affected by illegal trade.

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I also had a look at the cage birds on show, most were the many varieties of Canary and Budgerigar and estrildid finches. As with falconry, I have no objection in principle to the cage bird trade, as long as it deals only in captive bred birds. However I do have certain reservations. Trapping of Red Siskins in the Guianas to introduce red genes into captive Canary populations had led to them becoming critically endangered. The same can be said of the Bali Starling (above) which was almost driven to extinction in the wild by the cage bird trade. When I saw the species in Bali in 1995 the wild population was 29, excessive poaching later saw this drop to 6. Aviaries holding captive reared birds for release in the wild have been broken into and the birds stolen. Recently a safe sanctuary for the species has been established on an offshore island and the free flying population has risen to over 100. I want to make it clear that I am not saying that the bird above was captured in the wild (it is close ringed so must have been raised in captivity) nor am I saying that its owners were involved in any impropriety whatsover, but the act of keeping birds for show can lead in some parts of the world to a massive toll on wild bird populations.

Posted August 1, 2014 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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