Saturday, 7 September 2019

Owl Update

Do you remember our three owl chicks we reared earlier this year? Well these ugly little balls of fluff have now grown and matured in to these beautiful owls! This past week they all took part in their first photo shoots, and all did exceptionally well, so will be rotated with the rest of our educational team on future owl photographic days.

They are also all now fully graduated members of our flying team, and will be taking their turns in our afternoon displays when open to the public. Well done owls!

And well done keepers for doing such a great job rearing them. Clare reared the owl with no name (Arya) the tawny owl above. Izzy reared (Owl) Pacino the little owl below, and Millie reared Kate (Wingslet) the long eared owl at the bottom of the post. Don't worry, it will be the last time we let Millie name anything :-)

You can catch our owl display as the last talk at the end of each open day, and occasionally they can be seen out and about during the day with one of our keepers.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Photo of the month: August 2019

"Water Vole" by Steve Heggie

After the summer of the water voles, it had to be a water vole photograph we chose for photo of the month. Now back on in their main display, they are having a whale of a time, in and out of their tunnels, running over the bank and spending more time in the water than any of our previous groups out there! Best times to see them are shortly after opening, and in the afternoon around the owl display time.

So, for photo of the month, we chose this lovely picture above taken by Steve Heggie of one of our voles poking his head out of the tunnel. Steve has a lovely little set of the voles on his flickr, so click on the link in his name to see some of the other he took. The photo above will be in our coffee shop gallery next year, and of course in with the chance to win the photographic day here next year too. 

More photos below, and links in all the names to see more pictures by the photographers. 

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Water voles back home

After a long staycation in the grass snake enclosure, our water voles are back where they belong on their island display.

The water vole island display has recently been renovated, and while this was happening we placed 5 youngsters in to our grass snake enclosure (after taking them out) so they could be visible over the summer opening.

The voles settled down well, and many visitors enjoyed seeing them, but it was never a long term solution with the enclosure not being ideal for a permanent home for water voles. Now that their real home is ready, we have caught them up and put them back where they belong.

It is lovely to see them back home, and I have spent the last few evenings watching them explore and run around. Our water vole enclosure is one of our most well known displays, and it is easy to see why... A large area with plenty of natural burrowing areas and food to supplement what we give them, surrounded by water deep enough for them to swim and dive, multi species with the sticklebacks, pond life and common frogs which we have added back in too and all raised to make it easier for you keen photographers and anyone interested to see them.

As always with our voles, mornings and later in the afternoons are when they are more active. So for the best chance to see them head along shortly after we open, or around the owl talk time when it is a little quieter.

As for our grass snakes?.. they will be back on display in a couple of weeks after we have tidied up the mess the water voles have left behind!.. This will give them plenty of time to settle before brumation.

Here is a little video clip of one of them enjoying being able to swim again properly! Taken by keeper Meg.