Thursday, 27 May 2010
Babies at the Centre
So it seems that Spring is finally here, and all the babies are starting to come out. We have been very successful this year, with most of our mammals producing young. Full updates on each of the animals will be posted over the coming days/weeks, but for now here is a summary...
Red Squirrel kittens are now out and about, and I have quite a few ready to make their graduation to our walk-through enclosure during the week after half-term. Some of the mothers are even pregnant with their second litter already!
Wildcat kittens are going from strength to strength. They have not been seen out yet, but on checking them a couple of days a go I can confrim that Iona has had one kitten, while Kendra gave birth to three. They are now almost 4 weeks old so I would expect them to start to emerge at the end of next week.
Yesterday our first red deer calf of the year was born, a little early this year, but seems to be looking good and healthy. Expect many more to be born over the following week.
Willow has indeed had just the one fawn, but she is a stunning youngster. Mum is doing very well and seems quite at ease to feed her while the public are about, much to the delight of our photographic groups this week.
Of course as well as these we have Flo's cubs, badger cubs, our weasel is expecting, possibly stoat youngsters to come, polecat kits, hedgehog hoglets, all the usual mice, rats and voles. In fact it seems we have it all except otters, which could still happen this year as they can breed all year round, and pine martens which it seems now I will have to wait at least one more year for.
As well as the mammals the owl chicks are doing extremely well, and Katie has been doing a fantastic job in rearing them. I hope to have them on the flying team by the Summer. A new kestrel chick will be arriving in a few weeks to add to the afternoon bird display. And for the scaley animals... I am confident that one of our female adders will have a litter of neonates at the end of the Summer.
Check back for updates on all these new arrivals over the coming weeks.
As well as our animals, we also have the usual "wild" wildlife breeding around the Centre. Foxes, waterfowl, birds, deer. But none as close as this nest of pied wagtails below...
If you look closely you may see 3 chicks in the nest, and if you look at the picture below zoomed out a bit you will notice they have decided to rear them on the top of an old gas cylinder. Surprisingly this bottle is right alongside an area with much hustle and bustle going on everyday, yet the parents seem very happy with the site and are becoming very friendly themselves.
If you like, I can keep you updated on their progress... Springwatch style : )
Oh, by the way... great names suggestions for the short-eared owl, but I have gone with "Fawkes" Name of the phoenix in Harry Potter, and a reference to the Latin name of the owl, flammeus, "in flame."