Thursday, 16 March 2017

Adders have emerged

The warmer weather has brought some of our hibernators out from their winter slumber. Some of our dormice have begun to stir, our hedgehogs have been up and about for a few nights, our bats have begun to flutter and feed during the day and perhaps most noticeable are our adders.

Last week we saw the two males up for the first time, and over the weekend they made an appearance along with one of the females.

Having just emerged, they are not looking their best. Some sand around their eyes and a dull skin. But it won't be long till they have had a swim and cleaned themselves up, a shedding of skin will make them glisten and then of course it will be soon time for them to do their yearly "dance".

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Filming Dormice

Last week we welcomed a film crew to do a little bit of filming with some of our animals. I can't say too much at the moment, but they are working on a piece that will be aired at the end of this year at prime time on a major channel. All exciting stuff!

As and when we can let more information out, I will of course let you know, and reminders nearer the time. But for now, one of the things on the list to film were hibernating dormice. 

We are very successful with our breeding dormice, and have three litters lined up for a release later this year, but what some of you may not realise is we also have some "educational" dormice. These are dormice that can not be released for one reason or another, as deemed by the studbook, and so need a permanent home.

It is these dormice which we can use for filming. We very rarely allow this, as we want to keep any disturbance to them to a minimum, but have on occasion gone ahead. So for this little chap above, we delicately took him out of his nest box whilst he was hibernating, placed him in a set for a bit of filming, and then placed him back in is nest box again... none the wiser.

He was a star, even though he didn't know it, and we will make sure he gets a few more hazel nuts when he awakes later in the Spring!

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Photo of the Month: February 2017

"Otter Cub" by Bob Howell

Trying to keep things seasonal, and relevant to the yearly activities, we had our eyes open for some lovely photos of our otter cubs... and we weren't disappointed. We have had a lot of them sent in to us and shared over the internet. Our two new foxes seem to still be drawing a lot of attention too, and believe it or not we had a very... VERY small snow flurry at the beginning of the month, which a few of you managed to enjoy.

Of all the fantastic otter cub photos we saw, we decided to chose this one above taken by Bob Howell. We loved the way she still had some grass on her head as she left the water. As always, check the links in names to see more of the photographers pictures.

"Otter Cub" by Zena Saunders

Lot's of playful photos of our cubs, they have been seen often playing with sticks and roots in and out of the water. 

"Otters Playing" by Natasha Jefferies

Elwood is being a great dad as always, and is always up for a bit of playtime with the youngsters.

"Red Fox" by Sean Weekly
We have seen some great portraits of our new foxes, like this one of Basil who is settling in to his new home really well.

"Roe Deer in Snow" by Bob Howell 

And remember that snow flurry I mentioned?.. Well, Bob was one of the photographers who happened to be here, and took this lovely photo of  one of our roe deer with the snow still falling.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Otter Cub Update

Half term is half way through, and the stars of the week have been our two young otter cubs! Despite the somewhat dismal weather, they have both been out and about frequently and made an appearance at most of our otter keeper talks... and all our otter main feeds.

They are both doing really well, and growing in confidence daily. Both already hand feeding by the keeper, and showing their own individual personalities and traits. They have all been showing off their playful sides too... when we had the short snow flurry last Saturday, they were rolling around and playing with a snowball. And as with his cubs in the past... shortly after most of their feeds, Dad, Elwood, has been seen playing with them in the water, tumbling in and out and cartwheeling in the water.

We are still open for the rest of the week if you wish to come and see them, and then of course still open for the weekends after this week. Hope to see some of you here.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Photo of the Month: January 2017

"Ermine Stoat" by Jonathon Hicks

It is time to share our first photo of the month for 2017. We choose our favourites from the ones we see shared over the internet, or sent in to us via email. The main places we look are flickr and instagram, so if you post your pics in one of these places, there is a good chance one of us will see it... but if you have a photograph you are particularly pleased with... why not email it in to us!

We have decided to share photographs that have been uploaded within the month in question, but will always show a preference to those taken that month too... it is nice to keep it seasonal... especially since the 12 chosen images make up our coffee shop gallery for the following year. The overall winner, chosen from the 12 by a professional photographer, then wins a photographic day here at the Centre. 

So on to January 2017! Lots of seasonal pics on view, otters on ice, animals in the snow but we have picked this lovely shot of Susie the stoat, having turned ermine for the winter, taken by Jonathon Hicks. A nice closeup, which shows the full white coat and black tip to the tail in the background. 

As always, click on the link in the photographers name to see more of their work. Below are some other pictures that caught our eye this past month. 

A black and white otter on ice by Zena.
"Otter on Ice" by Gary K Mann

Gary has some great otter on ice pictures on his flickr stream, but we particularly liked this one... just how we feel on some of the colder mornings.

"What is this white stuff?" by Natasha Jefferies

You can see we didn't have much snow, but that we did have caused some great reactions form the animals.

"Eagle Owl" by Daniel Hannington

And an older picture, but a great one. Ethel flying straight towards the camera during our owl display. Great eye contact!