Thursday, 20 November 2014

Update and Harvest Mice

In the past the winter months have seen a lack of "exciting" animal news. We slow down with bookings, and spend the time tidying enclosures and managing the reserve. It means this blog is dominated by the photographic competition, and shortlist announcements, but this year things are different. We have a few bits and pieces of news to bring over the nest couple of weeks, and so will be posted alongside the competition shortlists.

Departures, new arrivals, release footage and updates all happening over the next month. Oh... and of course we will keep you up on how little ol' Buster is doing in the otter pond!

With the weather being milder than usual for this time of year, it means our smaller mammals breeding season has been extend. This is most noticeable with our breeding harvest mice, who although many have stopped breeding, a few pairs have had recent litters.

It is not the best time of year for releases, and so our programmes go on hold. But this year has seen a demand in these little mice for display at other collections and colleges. They are such an easy display to set up, and manage, but have a huge impact with most people falling in love with them. This means our youngsters will likely be moving on to new homes in the coming weeks to local colleges and collections. This will give us the space to continue to breed next year for more exciting release programmes, on and off site!

The photographic competition has now closed, and we have had over 600 photos submitted! An amazing turn out, and many thanks to all who have entered. Shortlisting is taking place now and the photographs to be judged by Professional Wildlife Photographer David Llyod!

David Lloyd will be selecting the winning photograph from each category (each winning a years membership to the BWC, and a place in our gallery in the coffee shop) and I will be choosing my favourite as runner-up (also gaining a place in our gallery). The overall winner will win an exclusive day of photography here next year, where being on their own I will be able to tailor the day a bit more to what they may like. The last couple of years have seen us choose the bluebell season to get some owls in bluebells!

The shortlisted photos will be up on the blog from next week. One category per week, hopefully every Monday, starting this coming Monday with the "Junior" category. The winners will then be announced at the beginning of next year, by the end of January/early February.

Good Luck to all who have entered!

After setting up the photographic competition five years ago, it has progressed and gone from strength to strength, even gaining nationwide recognition earlier this year in the national news papers... therefore it is a shame that I am saying to you now that it will be taking a hiatus next year.

However, personally I am still very keen to recognise the amazing photographs that are taken here every year, and so I have a plan up my sleeve to still be able to so this. It won't be the same, but will hopefully still be something you look forward to and will mean we can keep our gallery in the coffee shop going for the following year! I will also try and get the office on board with a few prizes. It will be more laid back, but then hopefully a bit more accessible too.

More on that next year, for now get ready to see some great photographs from this years competition over the coming weeks!

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