Saturday, 31 July 2021

July Update

 



The last month has seen us lead up to our summer opening, we have had the last few schools and photography groups for the season, and are now open every day for the summer holidays. You can now turn up on the day without pre booking, but the booking system is still in place... and it is a little cheaper to pre book your tickets so if you are thinking of visiting us, best to pre book online if you can.



Gerald, our grass snake, is always one of our more elusive animals. A lot of times I hear people saying they haven't seen him, and/or don't believe he is in there. Many frequent visiting members have even not seen him! 

We have always said he is more active around the summer, and almost on schedule the last couple of weeks we have seen him a little more often. 



Keep an eye open for him next time you are here. 




Our most popular babies this season have been our stoat babies, who have been on top form and playing. Here are two of them with mum, who we have now moved off display to give her some respite from the little ones antics. 






Of course our wildcats, trying not to be outshined, have been great and trying to one up the stoats with their playing and games. 










Two big releases this month too. Our second water vole release of the season, bringing the total up to around 100 voles released so far this year, and a joint project with some other Centres to release harvest mice. As well as our usual reserve releases we have supplied some mice for an external release. 

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

June Update

 


I mentioned some stoat babies at the end of last month. Here are the two that Keeper Izzy is currently hand rearing. Denzel and Ermine, brother and sister, both doing extremely well and currently living at home with Iz. 

These two were abandoned by their mother, Shakira, who had 8 in kits in her litter in total. She obviously felt this was too many for her, especially being a first time mum, but she is doing and amazing job with the remaining kits and they are now beginning to come out and play with each other providing much enjoyment for those lucky enough to see it.

A few other new arrivals this past month. One of our loaned long eared owls has come back to the roost, and will hopefully be joining our flying team in time for the summer. Some new bats for our nocturnal house too... 3 brown long eared bats and 4 pipistrelles to join up with the ones we already have. Fingers crossed for lifted restrictions in time to allow entry back in there to see them and our dormice. 

Monday, 31 May 2021

May Update


The weather is getting warmer, the Centre feels alive again with all the visitors and we have lots of new life! A good start to the year. We are open everyday this week due to half term, pre booked only still due to restrictions, but it hopefully won't be too long until we can lift this and take that next step back to a bit more normality.  

 


Our biggest draw at the moment is arguably our wildcat kittens. Two litters, a few weeks apart, which shows nicely how they grow and the different behaviours at different stages. Above are two of Agnes's kittens, and the top photo is Hilda with one of hers. 



Lot's of other new life too. Little owl chicks which have begun to come out of their next box, our badgers are doing well and have been named "Chess", "Checkers", "Dominoe", "Tux" and "Barcode". Really exciting is that we have a litter of stoat babies!.. Shakira gave birth about 5 weeks a go to a large litter of kits. It will be over the next week that they will likely start to emerge from their nest box, and start to try and find their feet. 




Our photographic days are always popular, but our owl photographic days in particular have been of high demand over the last week. Setting them up on our nature reserve give them a natural background.

 


Possibly the bluebells has been the big draw for them... we managed to put on a few of the days while our woodland was in full blue!




Every year we breed water voles for release, and this year they have got off to a flying start. We have several pairs off display that form the basis of our breeding programme, and include some of the less common black water voles. We then release the majority of these on to our nature reserve to booster the wild population we have established out there. Approximately 40 new voles have been released this year already, so keep your eyes... and ears open for that distinctive "plop" noise they make when disturbed and jumping in to the water.