“gamehawks for the modern Falconer”

Gulf Trip 09

At the beginning of October 2009, Bryn and I travelled to the Gulf for a 10 day trip to visit some of our friends in the region and see some of our falcons.
We spent 4 days in Abu Dhabi then went on to Dubai and Qatar for the remainder of the visit, we also took time to look round the huge Hunting & Equestrian Exhibition that is held in Abu Dhabi every year.

We spent some time with a group of falconers training their birds for the hunting season ahead, when you see these guys handle and fly a falcon that has only been out of the hack pen for 4 or 5 days, it is a real eye opener. To see the steadiness of the falcon and watch it flown free after such a short time, emphasises the innate skill that comes with generations of falconry in their heritage.

We moved on to Dubai having hardly had enough time to see all we needed to in Abu Dhabi, an ultra-modern city that is still rich in it’s traditional heritage.
In Dubai we were lucky to stay with a great bunch of falconers who live eat and breathe falconry.

Early morning found us out in the desert as the sun was rising, training falcons before the day heated up to its normal high temperature. With only about an hour or so before the sun got too high, there was not much time to fly the 12 or so falcons in hand.

Each bird was dealt with quickly and efficiently, no sooner did one falcon land on the lure than the next was on the wing. The falcons ranged from pure gyr’s to gyr x peregrines, from a couple of weeks in to training to just a few days.
The training ranged from long luring over ½ a kilometer to slipping at wild caught ducks, all were handled in an expert manner and no sign of stress in either falcons or falconers.

From Dubai we flew in to Doha, Qatar, the temp was starting to cool a little now reaching 32c in the afternoon instead of the 42c we had experienced in Abu Dhabi.
Once more we were staying with falconers from Sheiks to ordinary guys, all without exception were skilled practitioners.
We sent 4 days in Qatar and saw some beautiful falcons, palatial hack pens and stunning scenery, the time went too fast and we were on our way home too soon.

All in all we had a fantastic time and the memories will stay with us for the rest of our lives, I hope to return in the not too distant future to see more of what this amazing region has to offer.

The most outstanding thing about our visit was the incredible hospitality shown by everyone we met, where ever we went the people were warm, friendly and welcoming.
It was not possible to visit anyone without being offered huge amounts of food and drink, it is the custom of people in the UAE to be generous hosts and they go to any length to ensure you enjoy your visit.

We returned home with a feeling of regret at leaving, I can recommend anyone visit this region if you can, you will be welcomed as a fellow falconer and the experience will leave you with a great respect for the people and the culture.

Posted on November 26th, 2009 by Chris