Saturday, 9 February 2019

Otter Cubs

A quick update on our otter cubs. Both Ottermus and Beatrix are doing really well, as you can see from the photo above of the pair of them with mum Emmy. The two cubs seem to be growing in confidence daily, they are often out and about and are beginning to learn the talk times. The past couple of weekends now we have had an appearance or two while doing our keeper talk.

If not seen out during the day, then they are nearly always out for feed time... currently around 4pm while we are open to the public.

They really are great fun to watch, so if you get the time do spend a bit of it waiting at the otter ponds. They are very playful at this age, and you can see them chasing each other on banks, diving in and out of the water and a bit of rough and tumble while they are in the water too.

A little picture heavy this post, but thought you would like to see some photos of the two of them from this week.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Photo of the Month: January 2019

"Floki the Barn owl" by Brett Watson

We have had a few people ask about how to "enter" photo of the month. There is no official way to do this, and we just look at photographs shared on social media and sent in to us via email. Then pick a few we like to share each month. Flickr tends to be were a lot of photographers share photos, as we have our own British Wildlife Centre group page there to add your photos to. Instagram is very popular, and most of the keepers see/use instagram. Tag your photo #britishwildlifecentre to make sure we can see it. But of course to ensure we see a photo you may be particularly proud of the best way would be to email it in to us! We are always pleased to see photos of the animals we care for.

From the photos we share, we then pick a photo of the month to go in our coffee shop gallery the following year. From the twelve pictures throughout the year, an outside professional judge will pick their overall favourite to win a photogrpahic day here at the Centre. 

So, on to 2019, and January's photo of the month. This month we went for this lovely photo of Floki the barn owl in his aviary, taken by Brett Watson. To see more of Brett's photos follow the link in his name. 

Below are some more photos from the last month, and again, follow the link in the names of the photographers to see more of their images. 
A great close up of one of our grey squirrels.

"Emmy reflection" by Paul Stuart

Emmy, one of our female otters, having a quick drink in the pond with a beautiful reflection. 

"Shy otter cub" by John Gribble

Like mother like daughter. Bea, our young otter cub, at the waters edge with a shy eye on the photographer.

"Stoat" by John Gribble

Susie the stoat beginning to pale and turn ermine. Not as white as she went last year, but a token gesture to the winter.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Photo of the Year: 2018

"Weasel" by Dave Burden

I've seen some lovely photos taken here over the first few cold weeks of 2019, but before we share any of those, here is the photo of the year for 2018 chosen by our professional judge Sean Weekly. I'll hand over to him to explain his choice...

"Thanks so much for asking me to be this years Judge for the British Wildlife Centre annual Photography competition. It is most certainly a privilege to have been asked. Before my wildlife photography took off into a professional career, I first started my photography with many many visits to the BWC enjoying the endless amounts of wildlife, friendly staff and photography opportunities. It became near on weekly visits for me and without a doubt taught me so much about our native wildlife. 

Not only did it teach me about these animals, but the Centre certainly helped shape my photography into what it is today. Practicing for hours in getting photos of the fast moving stoats, patiently waiting for the appearance of the rather timid water voles and honing my compositional skills whist photographing the red foxes. Life changes has resulted me moving to mid Wales, so unfortunately I have not visited for a while now but the BWC will always have a special place in my heart. 

Enough rambling from me, let’s get to the judging of the competition! Matt sent me the final 12 photos of the month, and I must admit they are all lovely photos, it always makes judging difficult when there are some great photos. However there can only be one winner. My choice for the photo of the year is the weasel! 

This particular image stood out for me, one reason why is that I know myself that weasels are extremely challenging subjects to photograph, they move so quickly testing any cameras autofocus system and a photographers skill level to the limits. The fast subject therefore makes composition a really tough factor!  As you literally have seconds to lock focus and compose your image before the weasel moves out of frame. 

The second thing about this image that stood out for me was the composition itself. The photographer had obviously thought about his composition for a while and carefully placed the focus points to the top right of the image to ensure there was going to be some nice open space to the left of the subject. This composition works so well for an image like this, where the subject itself is looking into space, giving the subject room to move in the photo. Compositions like this are great in wildlife photography and certainly makes photos stand out from the crowd when they are composed as nicely as this. 

The last thing for me about this image is the nice shallow depth of field that the photographer has used. The aperture is enough to have a nice sharp subject and log whilst retaining a nice clean and out of focus background. 

Thanks again for asking me to judge this competition and I hopefully will visit the Centre soon and catch up with some old and new faces." - Sean Weekly

So, many congratulations to Dave for his photo of Molly the weasel! Dave will win a photographic day voucher here at the Centre to be used on one of our mammal or owl days later this year. To see more of Dave's photos, have a look at the link in his name under the photo above.

Once again many thanks to Sean for being our professional judge this year. To see some of his absolutely stunning images of wildlife, have a look at the link below.