Tuesday, 24 January 2012

BWC 2012 Photo Competition

This years British Wildlife Centre Photographic Competition is now open for entries. For all the details check out the page tab above, or visit our website.

Following on from last years success, we have once again split the competition into 6 categories. 2 entries per category are allowed, to be submitted by Friday the 14th of November 2012.

Photographs will be judged by our judging panel. Winners and runners up will be displayed in our gallery through out 2013. Winners will also receive an annual membership to the centre.

The overall winner will win an exclusive photographic day here at the BWC. They will be accompanied for the day by Head Keeper Matt Bintead, giving unrivalled access to the animals including opportunities to photograph some animals not seen on our normal photographic days.

Below are this years categories, including the new "Fauna Fun", for funny moments captured on camera including a caption.

Animal Portrait
Capturing the character of the animal

Animals in their Habitat
Showing the animal within it's home

Animals in Motion
Showing the animal in action

Animals and their Keepers
Showing the connection between the animals and their keepers

Fauna Fun
Humorous images caught on camera with an accompanying caption

For those young photographers aged 16 years or under

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Members Day

Thanks to all who came to our Winter's Members Day today and made it such a success! Luckily the weather held out for us, and although the wind got a bot too much for some of our smaller feathery friends, everything went according to plan.

We look forward to seeing you all again over the coming year when we open up for the March weekends onwards. In the meantime, keep an eye on the blog for more upcomming events at the BWC... Including the launch of out 2012 Photographic Competition!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

BWC Photo Competition 2011: Overall Winner

Congratulations to Jamie Holme for his image of the Water Vole winning the overall photographic competition for 2011.

Jaime was only 11 years old when he took this fantastic photo of the water vole. It caught the eye of all the judges on the first sort through of all the entries, and was eventually selected as the winner of the "Junior" category with all the judges agreeing "it is one my favourites from the whole competition."

After looking back over the 6 winning images again, it was very difficult to chose just the one from 6 very different photos, all extremely good in their own right. But the judges eyes kept turning back to the water vole thinking it had a certain something to it.

"We saw many entries of the water vole this year, but when we first saw this one it leaped out to us as a contender. It was different to all the others, but still displayed all it needed to be a classic portrait photograph. The close crop works really well to add a different look at this adorable British mammal, with his paw holding the rush whilst eating really making it for us. An iconic, but sadly declining, British mammal "Ratty" the water vole shown off to great affection."

Many congratulations to Jamie again, who will be spending a day at the British Wildlife Centre later this year with multi award winning professional wildlife photographer, Andy Rouse.

Monday, 9 January 2012

BWC Photo Competition; 2011 Category Winners

Today sees the announcement of the 6 category winners and runners-up for our 2011 photographic competition. They were chosen by our judging panel made up by Head Keeper, Matt Binstead. Centre owner, David Mills and Internationally renowned wildlife photographer Andy Rouse.

Overall the standard was very good, and it made the decisions hard, but below are the chosen winners and runners-up.


"Focused" by Philip Petrou - submitted via email

"Sweet Dreams" by Madmike - submitted via flickr


"Stargazing" by Peter Hale - submitted via email

"Field Mouse" by John Harding - submitted via email


"Snowy Owl" by Realise Photography - submitted via flickr

"Frog" by Wendy Goodbody  -submitted via email


"Devotion" by Chris Sweet - submitted via flickr

"Fox Cub" by Fless2 - submitted via flickr


"Deer" by Moira (GML Images) - submitted via flickr

"Badger Blur" by Jason Steel - submitted via flickr


"Water Vole" by Pardus99 - submitted via flickr

"Squirrel" by Sid the Photographer - submitted via flickr

Congratulations to all the photographers mentioned above. You will be contacted over the coming week to be asked to submit a higher res version of your photo. This will enable us to print them ready for the "Competition Gallery", which will be displayed in our coffee shop throughout 2012.

Many congratulations to the category winners! Each receiving a complimentary family ticket. From the 6 winners an overall winner has been selected, and will be announced on this blog next Monday (the 16th of January.) They will win the grand prize of a 1-on-1 day here at the BWC with Professional Photographer Andy Rouse.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Nocturnal House

Winter has seen the arrival of a new keeper talk for the Centre on Common Dormice, and it has proved to be very popular with many people saying it is the first time they have ever seen one before! This is great news for us, as it was a little teaser for what is to come later in the year.

As those of you who have been to one of our dormice talks will know, our new planed exhibit for 2012 is a "Nocturnal House" where we propose to switch day and night around to display our more strictly nocturnal animals to you during our day.

By using special lighting we propose to make our night their day, and our day their night... hopefully encouraging them to explore their enclosures while you are here to see them. Since the 3 types of animals we hope to show you are our only hibernaters, this may prove the best way for you to see them as for most of the year they are asleep and they are arguably our most nocturnal animals even during the warmer months when they are a bit more active.

As well as both types of dormice (the Common, or Hazel, and the Edible), we will also have a nocturnal enclosure for our hedgehogs. Our hedgehogs in the hedgerow are very happy, and used to being used for educational talks, but are very difficult to see outside of their Summer keeper talk. Therefore we have decided to create a second hedgehog home within our nocturnal house for you to see them "out and about" at night.

Finally, we are hopeful of being able to house some of our native bats for you to see. This could be very difficult as a lot of legislation covers our British bats, and they are a difficult mammal to keep in an enclosure, but our British bats do make up a quarter of all the mammals we have living in this country and so it is a shame that we do not currently recognise them here.

More details of this new exhibit will come throughout the next few months, and we hope to have it opened in time for our Easter holiday opening. But for now here are a couple of bat facts to wet your appetite...

- There are currently 18 recognised bat species living in Great Britain, 17 of which are known to be breeding
- Bats are not blind, but use echolocation to find their way around
- Bats can live up to 30 years
- Even the smallest bat, the pipistrelle, can eat up to 3,000 insects in a night
- Bats are more closely related to humans than mice

For those who have missed it, the Common Dormouse keeper talk will continue 1:00pm everyday during our February half term opening. After which we will have to stop it, apart from the occasional meet and greet, due to crowd size and the dormice habits.

Monday, 2 January 2012

BWC Photo Comp; "Animal Portrait"

Happy New Year to you all, and welcome to the eagerly anticipated final short-list for our 2011 Photographic Competition. I'm sure it will come as no surprise that the Animal Portrait category received the most entries with nearly 250 photos submitted.

Below are the 20 short-listed entries as selected by the staff at the BWC, and as with all the categories the winner and runner-up will be chosen by our judging panel headed by Professional Wildlife Photographer and friend of the Centre, Andy Rouse.

 "Flo at feeding time" - ASB Images

 "Fairwell to Lex" - David Miles

 "Barn Owl" - Dolts 007

 "Foxy Flo" - Flwersnow

 "Hedgehog" - Green Dreams Photography

 "Yawning Fox" - Green Dreams Photography

 "Water Vole" - Ian Rentoul

 "Red Squirrel" - Janet Howard

 "Vole" - Jenny Hibbert

 "Sweet Dreams" - Madmike

 "Quick blow dry and I'm all yours" - Mandy Swanwick

 "Polecat" - Mjvallely

 "Over the Grass Horizon" - Old Man George

 "Focused" - Philip Petrou

 "Super Red" - Portiaphotos

 "Peeking Polecat" - Pui Hang

 "Stalking Kendra" - Pui Hang

 "We're all here!" - Sally Moloney

 "Frodo" - Steve Sinton

"Moment of Relaxation" - Sue Edwards

Many congratulations to all of the short-listed entries over all of the categories. Winners will be announced next week with the overall winner of the grand prize the following week. Good Luck!