Friday, 28 January 2011

Youngsters moving on for the New Year

It's that time of year again when our animals are going to begin thinking about pairing up. Already I have seen some courtship chasing in our Red Squirrels, and you all know that we are very hopeful for Pine Marten kitts this year. Of course we hope to have more wildcat kittens, fox cubs and possible otter cubs too. Therefore we have to move on our litters from last year to have more room.

Our wildcat kittens, 1 male 1 female, will be moved off-site with in the next month. The young female has been given the name "Isla" and will be kept at the Centre. She will eventually pair up with Dougal when Una has sadly passed on. The male kitten has a home lined up by the studbook holder, and should leave the Centre during the Spring of this year.

The remaining otter cubs are strong and healthy, and again it seems we have 1 male and 1 female. The female cub will be held back and has been given the name "Emmy". She will eventually pair up with our elderly otter Oscar for his remaining months/years before finding a nice young mate for her. The male cub will be swapped with an otter sanctuary for a new female to pair up with Stirling.

Finally, our 4 fox cubs are to find a home on the Isle of Wight. Here the I.O.W zoo is looking to create a few British attractions. As well as taking on our cubs, they will also be collecting some of our harvest mice and have been having a close look at our walk-through red squirrel enclosure with the idea of imitating it on the island.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Winters Members Day

Thank you to all our members who attended our Winters Members day this past weekend. The day proved to be very successful, and despite the very cold weather we had over 80 brave members turn out.

We started the day with a welcome talk by owner David Mills, highlighting our plans for the coming year. This was shortly followed by a Harvest Mouse talk down in the Dell followed by photographic opportunities. Once again this proved to be a very popular talk, and maybe we can look at featuring it more often.

As usual, regular feeding times were scheduled with keepers on hand to answer any questions, and then a Pine Marten talk told of our high hopes for 2011 and our new enclosure.

The day ended with a special owl display, extending our usual daily talk to show off all 7 of the owls found living in Britain today, including watching 7 owls fly!

Thanks again to all who came and made it as fun and enjoyable day for the staff as well as members. Look forward to seeing you all over the coming year, and of course we will have something special lined up for a members evening in the Summer.

Thank you

Thursday, 20 January 2011

2010 Photographic Competition, Overall Winner!

2010 Overall Winner

Scottish Wildcat - Nigel Picknell,

"As Portraits go this is a classic. I really like the moody feel that Nigel has created by shooting in Low light and by using the dark background this draws all your attention to this beautiful Cat. The real draw for me though is how Nigel has decided on getting really close to his subject and by doing so, as a viewer you are attracted straight to those wonderful piecing eyes, Great Stuff." - Danny Green

Last years photographic competition was a huge success, seeing over a hundred entries per competition. It is therefore no surprise that the individual winners were hard to pick out. Therefore I called upon the services of the experts, asking a different professional wildlife photographer, to select the winner of each season. From these three winners, the keeping team chose their overall favourite. The Scottish Wildcat portrait taken by Nigel Picknell, winner of the Autumn/Winter competition. Nigel wins a free photographic day here at the British Wildlife Centre.

Below you can see the winners of the other 2 seasons.

 Red Squirrel - Mark Coventry                                          Roe Deer Fawn - Karen Jones
Chosen by Andy Rouse                                                        Chosen by Heather Angel
Spring 2010 Winner                                                                Summer 2010 Winner

A new competition for 2011 will be announced and launched here the first week of February 2011. Keep your eyes peeled for this exciting new format including a fantastic prize!

Autumn/Winter Photographic Competition Winner!

Congratulations to Nigel Picknell for his winning photograph of a Scottish Wildcat. As always the competition was of a great standard, and our professorial wildlife photographer had a hard choice picking his favourite but eventually decided on the above.

For our Autumn/Winter competition I asked renowned wildlife photographer Danny Green to choose his favourite from the 12 shortlisted. This is what he said about this photograph taken by Nigel, and why he chose it as his winner.

"As Portraits go this is a classic. I really like the moody feel that Nigel has created by shooting in Low light and by using the dark background this draws all your attention to this beautiful Cat. The real draw for me though is how Nigel has decided on getting really close to his subject and by doing so, as a viewer you are attracted straight to those wonderful piecing eyes, Great Stuff." - Danny Green,

Congratulations again to Nigel. To see more of his work check out his website

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

New Keeper Vacancy: Temporary/Full-time (maternity cover)

All our congratulations go to Louise, one of our Senior Keepers, who early December last year gave birth to a baby boy, Archie. Mother and baby are well, and I am sure Dad and brother Harvey are helping out mum as much as they can.

This of course leaves a temporary gap in our keeping team, and so we are offering a temporary/full-time keeping position from March through till September as maternity cover whilst Louise is away.

If interested in joining our team this Spring/Summer then head over to our website and check out the details on our vacancy page.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Winters Members Day, Saturday 22nd January

Just a reminder that this years "Winters Members Day" is on Saturday the 22nd of January. A week this Saturday. For more details have a look on our main website, linked in the sidebar on the right, and please let us know if you are planning on coming.

Last years members day was our first for this time of year, and was a huge success, following on form the ever popular members evenings we hold every Summer. This year plans to be just as good. I already have some ideas lined up for talks, and will have in place back up plans in case of poor weather.

It will be a great chance to see our animals at this time of year when you normally do not get the chance to visit. There will be regular feeding sessions and talks throughout the day as well as a chance to talk to the keepers about their work and the animals.

Hope to see all you regulars here, and many new faces too.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Round up continued...

Another photograph taken on one of our photograph days, this time of a Hedgehog taken by "Cathy Roberts"

A photograph taken on one of our normal open days in the walkthrough red squirrel enclosure. This great capture was taken by "Peter Trimming" on flickr

Photographs from our raptor days seemed popular enteries this time, the above of a peeping tawny was taken by "Mbridger68" on flickr

And nice to see not all the enteries were of our furry friends. Many snakes were entered into this competition, the above being one of our favourites of an adder. Taken by "Felt_tip_felon" - Strike a pose. Seen on flickr

Thank you for all your fantastic enteries. The keepers have selected a finalists list of 12 photographs, a couple from the ones seen in these posts, and from these the overall winner will be selected by a professional photographer over the next couple of weeks. Then a years winner from the three competition winners will be selected to win the prize of a photographic day here at the Centre.

Look out for these posts soon, as well as news of our new photographic competition for 2011!
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Autumn/Winter Photo Comp, round up

Once again the competition exceeded expectations, and the number of enteries increased from our Summer comp early this year. The standard was high and here are just a few examples of some of the photos entered.

Above is a photo of Ethel's eye, withthe reflection of the woods and the photographer in it. Taken by "Artography" on flickr

Photograph of our little owl, Robin, peeping out from our stone wall on one of our raptor photo days. Taken by "The Otter King" seen on flickr

We really liked the photo above taken by "Claire Forster" - Let me tell you something. Showing the interaction between keeper and aniaml.

And a particular favourite of mine was this photo above taken by "Julie Redford" - What's he up to now. A great capture to have all of our otter family in one photo with mum, dad and two cubs looking on at the third one!
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Thursday, 6 January 2011

Photographic Competition

Just a reminder to all you budding photographers out there, you only have till the end of tomorrow (midnight Friday the 7th of January, 2011) to enter our Autumn/Winter photographic competition.

I was expecting this competition to have fewer entries due to us being open to the public less often, however it seems to have had the most photographs submitted of all the competitions so far! As usual the standard is very good and I look forward to looking through them all with the other keepers.

The winner will be announced before the end of the month, along with details of our brand new 2011 British Wildlife Centre Photographic Competition.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year

The Keepers and all the other staff at the BWC would just like to wish you all a very happy new year and all the best for 2011. Thank you for all your support over the last year, it is always appreciated.

We are currently open to the general public for another 3 days (until the end of Monday 3rd January), and then start the new year with a busy week of photographers, school road trip and a birthday party.

2010 was a great year for us all here, and I think 2011 will shape up to continue this success. Lots of plans for the Centre are in the backs of our minds, some which we have already started on as many of you would have noticed visiting us over the last week. Most noticeably for this year we hope to really establish our breeding loan populations of Red Squirrels around the South. We already have 3 locations, and a further 4 who are interested in working with us this year. As well as this we would like to take our flying displays one step further and just fine tune them with our new arrivals, and.... well we can't give all our plans away but maybe there is a clue on this page for another of our big ventures!

Look forward to seeing many of you at the BWC throughout 2011. Don't forget... Members Day is coming up soon, on Saturday the 22nd of January 2011. And the closing date for the Winter Photographic competition is this coming Friday, the 7th of January, with news shortly after about our brand new photographic competition for 2011!

Best wishes to you all for 2011.