I noticed that Brian has a keen interest in photography and, since my goal of this trip was Brian Sweeting is probably my favorite breeder that we traveled to on our England Aviary tour. He made me feel welcome and I felt as though I connected with him in a small way. The quality of Brians birds are outstanding. I had the pleasure of sitting at the same table as Brian at the Budgerigar Society banquet in Doncaster and got a feel for his personality. It was a long drive down to the Sweeting aviary. As we walked in the front door I noticed the pictures on the walls. All of his successes were posted there. Then walking through his dining room through to the back door I saw his trophy case. It was filled with many trophies a sign of his success; needless to say I was impressed. to document as much as I could using my photography skills I was eager to capture as much as possible.
|Sweeting Son with Mannas Fat|
As we walked into his 1st birdroom and he began to put birds into show cages it was apparent that these birds were in another class. My first thought was the length was consistent across the stud but equally as good was the head quality. I've never seen anything like it. Brian put spangles into the show cages and I began to snap away. Then I walked into the back room of the 1st aviary looking into the breeding cages. The birds were just amazing to see.
When I got over the shock of seeing this quality I was able to put things into perspective. Consistently balanced birds yet well matched. For example size, width, length and mask, and spots. I have a picture here of a flecked hen which under normal circumstances would be a fault, however Brian uses the flecking to help with spot size, but notice that he pairs the flecking to a clean headed bird and notes in the records for future pairing. There was a time where breeders didn't want anything to do with flecking but it has been noted that flecking can actually help you in your breeding program.
As I was taking pictures Brian asked me if I would like to take pictures using his photo cage. It was a simple rectangular cage with a perch along the length of the cage but not too close to the background. Then a hole was in the side that you could open where you could shoot your pictures. This way the bird is relaxed and will only run from side to side. If you raise your hand to the one side your bird will run over to the center where you can get a clear shot. It was a simple idea and as I thought about it made sense. So when I got home I decided to design a similar cage that I now use to document all of my birds.
As we walked into the 2n part of Brian's aviary I noticed pieds and yellows amongst the normals. Brian has been known for his outstanding quality pieds. Again he started showing us birds by putting them into show cages for us to talk about. Brian a good friend of Joe Mannas has been working with a Mannas Spangle to carry that particular feather into his birds. The interesting point here is that Joe Mannas has managed to get more feather per square inch into his birds. The feather is more compact and it even appeared softer. I remember reading how Joe tries to put a different type of feather on different areas of his birds. Clearly Joe is thinking beyond the box and I would say ahead of his time. Brian demonstrated how he used the spangle to carry that feather. See the picture.
I noted looking at the aviary that Brian uses a wheel type perching for his birds yet another feature I have not seen but a good use of space. After our visit we went outside for a group shot and looked at the Koi fish that Brian has. We had an outstanding experience