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Rockcliffe Raptors

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Sadly Terry passed away in 2011, a charecter and a dear freind never to be forgotten.

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Fund raising for Raptor Rescue at Port Sunlight 2005

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Hi, I'm Steve Dewsnap, Wallasey lad born in 1952. Trained initially as a chef but spent most of my working life in storekeeping and logistics. Lived in Wallasey for most of that time apart from a few brief spells including working as assistant chef to Lord Derby at Knowsley in the early 70's. I worked at Octel, Ellesmere Port, from 1984 to 2004 originally in the catering department and later in production/logistics. Having decided to take voluntary redundancy Marg and I started to look for a new place to live and emigrated to Flintshire in August 2007.

I spent over 30 years involved with motorcycle racing, mainly as organising secretary for the Wirral Hundred Motor Club. Organising sand racing, grass tracks and road race meetings including New Brighton Promenade races and was heavily involved with the instigation of the new race circuit at Ty-Croes on Anglesey, now known as Anglesey Race Circuit. In 2001 I decided I needed a change and started to hand over my responsibility's, eventually attending my last meeting at Anglesey in October of that year.

I needed a new challenge or interest. While involved in motorcycling I met many characters and some became close friends, one in particular was a gentleman called Terry Lewis. Terry and I met when his son Ian started racing on Wallasey beach and later began road racing eventually competing in the British Championships. Terry and Ian had left the racing scene some years before I did but we still remained in close contact with each other.

Terry had also diversified in his interests and had started a small collection of birds of prey. It was while on a visit to him and on seeing and handling his birds, in particular owls, I decided this is what I wanted to do.

 With Terry's help in June 2002 I purchased my first bird, Raj, a Bengal Eagle owl. Although Terry gave me lots of advice and guidance I soon realised that apart from one book by Jemima Parry-Jones, there was very little information available on how to keep owls. It was in the September that I heard that Reasheath Collage, Nantwich, were running an Open Collage Network course in Raptor Management. This wasn't a Falconry course but was aimed at the husbandry methods of keeping birds of prey which included modules on housing, nutrition, handling, first aid and the law.

 The course was originated by Jane and Dean Hemingway and it was the forerunner to the Raptor Husbandry course offered by LANTRA. Dean and Jane were also trustees of the charity Raptor Rescue and very experienced in the bird of prey world, it was at this time that I became a member of Raptor Rescue. After 13 weekly visits to Reasheath I gained an NVQ 3 in Raptor Management and also met new friends who remain so to this day.

In June 2003 having decided to accept a redundancy package from Octel, I decided to treat myself to a five day Falconry course at what was then known as The National Bird of Prey Centre, Newent, Gloucestershire. The director, Jemima Parry-Jones, M.B.E. was planning to move her collection to America later that year so I took the opportunity to attend one of her courses. Little did anyone know at that time but she didn't leave until the following year and later returned to Newent re-opening as the International Centre for Birds of Prey.

Those five days will, I hope remain as one of the best experiences of my life, learning more and having the experience of handling and flying a large variety of birds. One of the other candidates on the course was actually the Assistant Curator of the Dominican Republic Zoo!


By the summer of 2004 we had purchased and reared two more owl chicks, Maple, a Canadian Great Horned Owl and Ko'Ko a Barn Owl. It was at this time I became more involved with Raptor Rescue and started attending local fetes and carnivals, fund-raising on their behalf. While attending an event at Royden Park, Wirral, I was approached by a teacher who asked if I could take my birds to her school to talk to her pupils. I had to explain that I wasn't insured outside events for the charity and didn't have the required C.R.B. disclosure so I recommended someone who might be able to attend her school. She politely refused my recommendation insisting that she only wanted me to give a presentation and to contact her if I got my C.R.B. and public liability insurance sorted out. So since the beginning of 2007 having obtained the required cover and checks I started attending local schools giving educational talks about Birds of Prey.

After spending 3 or 4 years looking for a smaller house with a larger garden, Marg and I were lucky enough to find an almost perfect property in Flintshire, North Wales, and we moved from Wallasey with 4 birds in the August of 2007. The move has transformed both of our lives, a completely different life style in our semi-rural location. A chance to live the "Good Life" and expand our collection of birds.

We were now known as Rockcliffe Raptors, and while still keeping my connection with Raptor Rescue, (until March 2016) we started to get more and more opportunities to attend schools and fetes. I have also been lucky enough to make new friends whilst still maintaining contact with some from our "previous life". Our collection has now increased to 13 birds (2013) and I have been able to gain even more experience by having many more different species lodging with us. With some new ventures on the horizon we look forward to continuing our new way of life and sharing our knowledge with others. 

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