Saturday, 27 February 2010

Otter cubs moving on

Today's the day I have to try and catch up our three otter cubs Stirling and Thistle successfully reared last year. They have been a huge success with our visitors and members but unfortunately limited space meant we had to find them a new home. This does of course mean though that there is now space for our breeding pair to have another litter this year, which i am sure they will.

The 2 female otters are going down to a centre in Cornwall where they will be housed on a large lake similar to what they are used to here.

The male cub is going to an otter sanctuary in Cornwall to help with their breeding programme. In exchange for him we will be bringing back an older male which will be paired up with Lilly in our middle pond.

All in the same journey we are also saying goodbye to our fox cub Luna and wildcat Heather (pictured above.) They are both going to the same Centre as the two female otter cubs where they will be doing what they do best. Being photographic subjects for workshops, very much like they did here.

Luna did not mix in well with our original fox family, and Heather has been moved on to create space for our new kittens which we hope will breed next, if not this year.

While in Cornwall we are collecting a pair of Long-Eared Owls. Not many Centres display this British owl, and I will bring you more news of them during the middle of next week.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Slow worm relocation

A couple of summers ago our Weltalands Nature Reserve was selected as a relocation site for reptiles, including slow worms. Over the Summer of 2008 over 100 of these legless lizards were refered to us for re-homing on our reserve. They seem to be doing well, and occasionally over the end of last Summer we saw one or two out basking in the sun.
Today a few more were bought to us to be released so keep your eyes open for these, and the slightly larger older ones, around our boardwalk next time you are here.
As a side note...
Jack the Peregrine took his first flight today, 2m to the lure, may not sound much but is a great start.
Foxes Frodo and Flo were found tied two mornings ago, and Lex and Kendra have been mating for the last few days. Watch out for FOx cubs and Wildcat kittens later in the year!

Rain, rain, go away

Heavy rain at the Centre the last few days has made things that little bit trickier to deal with. Some schools and photographers have braved the weather to visit us but the animals seem to be coping far better than us. Believe it or not some of our animals are probably more active in the wet weather.

The rain seems set in for a couple more days yet as well, hopefully some drier weather will arrive soon.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

BWC Keepers blog... Success!

So far this week has been great at the Centre, very busy, and many of you have said hello and given very good feedback on this blog. With that in mind a few subtle "extras" have been added.

Just below the header above we now have tabs. One for this homepage of the blog and another for a keeper page. Here you will be able to see who helps me look after all the animals at the BWC a little bit about them.
Keep an eye out over the next few weeks for extra tabs to be added, in particular one for the photographic competition.

To the right hand side under the picture of me you will find a list of links. These will take you to our official website, facebook fanpage and youtube page.

The BWC website has all the information you need to know about the centre, the facebook page is an easy way for facebook followers to keep up to date with the centre and also has a few photo galleries of the animals here and the youtube site is an archive of all the videos I intend to post on this blog. Of course you can still link to our Flickr group too from the sidebar on the right too.

Any other ideas you may have let me know and we can see if we can implement them. For those that asked for more frequent updates... its great you are so keen to know what is going on, but time is the issue. I will update as and when I can.

Another good idea was species information. When low on Centre news some have asked just for an animal profile either on an individual here at the Centre or a species itself. If this is popular I will consider it.

As always, let me know your thoughts in one of the usual ways?....

Friday, 19 February 2010

Peregrine Falcon

Recently joining our team of raptors is "Jack" a Peregrine Falcon. He is currently on loan to the Centre until we acquire our own Peregrine later in the Summer. I am currently training him to fly with the help of an experienced falconer and hope to have him flying over the Centre within a few weeks. In the mean time look out for him around the grounds while he is getting used to being out and about on the glove in front of the public.

Peregrines are the fastest record animal reaching speeds of over 150mph in its stoop. In fact the tiecel (male), which is the faster of the two, has been claimed to of reached 224mph in its display dive!

However it is still possible that a faster animal is out there, and although not a true native species it is a regular non-breeding visitor to Britain.... the Gyrfalcon.

The gyrfalcon is the fastest falcon in level flight and is believed by many to be the fastest in a stoop due to it being the largest and heaviest of the falcon family. Currently the peregrine still holds the record though, as all high speed tests have so far only been done on these.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Open for February half-term

Just a reminder that we are open for February half term from tomorrow, Saturday the 13th until a week Sunday the 21st of February. After that we have a weekend break before being open every weekend from March the 6th.
Look forward to seeing many of you this coming week and over the rest of the year.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Winter roadshow success

Our "Winter Roadshow" school visit scheme was another new venture we started at the end of last year. It is a way that we can get more schools involed in the quiter months here at the Centre by taking some of our animals to see them. We offer two presentations. British Owls and Small Mammals.
Visits have usually lasted an hour with a keeper taking a few animals to show while talking about them. Today was our last booking of a successful run and it was the owls turn to be in the limelight.
Now we are just all preparing ourselves for the busy Spring and Summer months to start. We only have a handful of free days for schools left with the rest being taken up already by large school groups of up to 100 children as well as the oidd photographic day of course.
Just a reminder that we are open for February half term for one week from this Saturday 13th Feb 2010.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Do you want to see some videos?

Our keepers blog seems to be going from strength to strength. I know many of you have now started looking at and sharing photos taken here on our Flickr group page, but would you also like to see some videos?

Let me know your thoughts...

As a taster, check out the video below

This is "Clyde" one of our male Pine Martens being hand fed by our Head Keeper.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Red Kite over BWC.

Red Kite (c) Andy Critchfield

Yesterday one of our Keepers, Louise, spotted a large bird of prey circling quite low over the Centre. We all rushed out to see it and it was a Red Kite!

We have had Red Kites visit us on a couple of occasions before but only during the Summer, and never as close as this one was.

The Kite was circling on the edge of our deer paddock and nature reserve literally only 100ft above the ground. She then dropped lower making us think it was going to land in the paddock before soaring up again in the air.
She continued to circle for a couple of minutes before heading of southwards.

Red Kite (c) Andy Critchfield

Unfortunately I still prefer to see things like this with my own eyes and so was in no rush to get my camera. The photographs above are courtesy of member and regular visitor to the Centre Andy Critchfield.

It is not the only unusual visitor we have to the Centre. Our nature reserve has attracted kites before in the past, snipe, last Summer an Osprey was spotted and for the past couple of weeks a pair of ravens have been regularly seen!

Friday, 5 February 2010

Water Shrews on display

A little later than scheduled but our Water Shrews are now out on display.

We have converted the corner pond in our "Hedgerow" section to make it escape proof for Water Shrews. They are not very good jumpers, but are very adept at climbing. Use of perspex stirps on the wall and strategically placed overhangs means that these fascinating creatures should remain in their new pen.

Unlike other shrews, Water Shrews are tolerant living together or in small groups. We have obtained 1 male and 1 female so who knows, they may even breed out there.

In time and when they have settled down I will look to put a feed platform out in the water similar to how we feed our Water Voles. If it works as well for the shrews as it did of the voles then we hope they will be seen swimming out and happily sitting in view if only for brief moments of time.

Water Shrews are the largest of the Shrew family in this country. They have very dark coloured fur on the top half of their body and white fur underneath. They even have little white eyebrows!!

We feed our shrews on a diet of cat food mixed with fly larvee, mealworms and oats. Of course there is plenty of larvee and bugs in the rotting wood in the enclosure which they are sure to tuck into too.