Thursday, 30 September 2021

September Update


This month has been our first month after our Summer opening, and are quickly getting back in to our routine of school groups and photographic days. Despite being closed to the public during the week, we are still open every day to private booked groups be that educational tours for school children or college students, or photographic days for keen photographers. 

I often get asked "you must be looking forward to being closed during the week after the summer holidays when it will be a bit quieter for you?" during the summer, but it is actually the other way around. We have groups booked in every day when we are closed, and have to look after them as well as all the usual animal routines you see us do when we are open... so although still busy, our days when we are open to the public are a little more relaxed for us. 

Anyway... enough of that, what new animals news from this month... well, just the one big news story I guess, and that is our new badger Blossom!

Blossom came to us from a rescue centre where she had been reared from a cub after being hit by a car. This accident has given her a very distinctive feature of a bent nose, but otherwise she seems fine. Despite being reared alongside other badgers, and with every intent for her to go back to the wild, she became too friendly and we were asked if we would be able to offer her a permanent home here. 

She really is a special badger... not only does she seem friendly, but seems to crave human interaction. She keeps herself to herself, but when we are doing routine in her enclosure she always comes over to say hello without prompting. Then again in the evening comes to say hello, have a cuddle and usually ends up falling asleep on your lap. 

She will slowly be introduced to the rest of our clan in the lead up tot he end of the year, and hopefully we will be able to offer badger talks again next year. In the meantime our whole clan are still easily seen in our observation badger sett. 

Sunday, 29 August 2021

August Update


The summer is nearly over, well, the summer holidays that is... and what a busy summer it has been. Even with a limit on numbers we have seen very busy days here with lots of visitors, many regulars, and lots of new faces too which had been great. 

Of course the baby animals have perhaps been the stars for mot people, but our other animals have been on great form too. I think they are keen of the attention again after the lockdown of earlier this year. Our red squirrels have been particularly good. 

We have about a dozen squirrels in the copse, and do the one squirrel talk on them at 10.30am shortly after we open. This is when they are most active, but a tip for you all... if you can't make it in time for the squirrel talk, then after a quiet spell during the middle of the day, they are usually a little more active again nearer the end after our owl display. 

As always, the keeper talks really are the best way to get close to and see our animals. With a talk every half hour, it means you are never too far away from the next one. 

One more full week of being open and then back to weekends only, with private groups, schools and photographers visiting during the week. 

This last month has seen some new baby arrivals. After our successful first litters of hoglets, both our pairs have now had a second litter each. Hopefully these will grow well and be able to be released before hibernation, but in case we need to keep them over winter we have already begun to adapt an area in our hedgerow to give us more space for more hogs... almost like a hoglet nursery!

After 16 weeks of growth, give or take, our red stags (and fallow buck today) have shed their velvet ready for rutting season. This is an older photo of one of our old stags, but give you an idea of the process. 

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.