Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Members Evening: 4th of July

A reminder for all the members of the British Wildlife Centre, we are hosting our annual "Members Evening" this coming Saturday... the 4th of July.

As with previous years this means we will remain open, for members only, after our usually closing time of 5pm for an extra few hours through till 8pm.

If you are not a member, but planning on coming to the Centre this Saturday, fear not as we are open though out the day as usual... and if you enjoy yourself why not sign up on the day. You will get your entrance fee refunded and be able to stay around for the extra hours.

As per normal, we will of course have a few extra talks for you to go to if you so wish, and a couple of extra feed sessions to check in with your favourite animals.

These will start with a "Welcome" from owner David Mills at 5.30pm, and then a couple of talks focused on the animals by myself at 6pm and 7pm with additional feeds in-between.

So what will I be talking about?.. Lets leave it as a surprise... for you and me, ahem.... No, I'm sure it will be a great evening and hopefully as successful as all our previous ones.

Hopefully see many of you here next week!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Pine Martens and Polecats

It is that time of year, once again, when we look at introducing our pine martens together... and then hold our breaths before eventually being disappointed next Spring. Sound pessimistic?.. Well maybe, but we've tried everything else, I am now trying reverse psychology and it is up to Bonnie and Clyde to prove me wrong!

Introducing pine martens is normally a very difficult task, our run systems make it easier to do it in a more softly way, and Bonnie and Clyde always seem to get on well. And maybe that is the problem, they get on too well!

We have two new young pine martens at the Centre now to help shake things up a bit, but they will not be mature until at least next year, so for this year we may as well try Bonnie, photo at the top, and Clyde, above, again. They mate every year, so hopefully his time it will be successful. But if not, at least hey have had the enrichment of running together for a few months. Something they both seem to enjoy.

Keeping on a weasely theme... Some of you may notice that our male polecat, Whitstable, is no longer on display with Oriel and their kits. He has been no trouble at all to the babies or mum, but he has got in to a habit of stealing all their food. Oriel only has to leave for a second, and he is in there taking it away. So just to make things easier for Oriel we have moved Whitstable off display while the kits are being reared. Once the kits have been released, we will then introduce them back again.

Monday, 15 June 2015

More Babies!

I mentioned at the end of the last post that a couple of other new arrivals are here at the Centre. Perhaps most excitingly is our new little owl chick, pictured above. 

We have only had a breeding pair of little owls here at the Centre for a couple of years, and after building their purpose built enclosures last year, it is fantastic news that they have bred in the first full year in their new home.

This little one has been removed to be hand reared and join our flying time. It will be nice to eventually have two of each flying owl in the team, so this little one will join up with Scrappy as our little owl members. 

This little owl chick will be hand reared by Lucy, but it will be a good week or so until he starts coming out to meet our visitors... so don't expect to see him this weekend!

Another new arrival is this young stoat. He came in as a rescue, and has needed quite a bit of care. He is doing well now though and fingers crossed he will continue to thrive and grow.

And although not a baby, we have also recently been looking after a rescued bat. This pipistrelle has a badly damaged wing, but our new Bat Lady, Daisy, has done a great job in looking after him and healing his wounds. Unable to return to the wild he is now making the transition to live in our nocturnal house, hence the temporary mesh cage in their you may have seen.

As with the others, we will keep you updated on how they are settling in.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

BWC Baby Boom

Lots of youngsters currently around the Centre. Perhaps the most fun, and what many people have been camping out to see, are our red squirrels!

We have had two litters of kittens, both of which have been born in our nest boxes this year. One litter in each of the holding pens. The ones in the left are at the age where they are just poking their heads out of the boxes, but the ones int he right are now up and about and exploring the whole of the Copse. Here is one above who has found some food on a feeding platform.

A little earlier than usual, our red deer have started to calf. As of yesterday we currently have two, but expect a few more will drop before the end of the month.

 Rabbit kittens in our hedgerow are providing much excitement for our schools groups who visit, and they are really bold this year. Often sitting out, and one who normally runs out and sits in the feed tray as soon as they are fed in the afternoon.

And another really exciting litter. Our new pair of polecats, Whitstable and Oriel, have had a litter of 5 kitts. This is the first time they have been paired up, so nice to see them breed in their first year.

Updates on all of these over the coming weeks of course, and later this week the announcement of a couple of other new baby arrivals which are very exciting!

Saturday, 6 June 2015

May's Photo of the Month

"Marsh Frog Calling" by Dave McCulley

What a busy month it has been, lots of nest building, fledgling heron chicks, and the first few youngsters showing their faces with our red squirrels in the walk through enclosure beginning to make an appearance. So what was most popular with the photographers out there?.. Well, it was a nice mix of animals this month and even some of our "wild" wildlife from around the Wetland Boardwalk kept cropping up, which was lovely to see.

So, what did I choose for our May's photo of the month? A couple of weeks ago we had quite a spell of our marsh frogs blowing out their air sacs, it must have been a good weekend to see this behaviour, and of these this one above taken by Dave McCulley stood out, and is my photograph for May!

Dave has taken a beautiful photograph showing off this fun behaviour. The composition is spot on and the lighting is good. He has managed to get a lovely low angle, and the eyes are stunningly sharp. But what really made this photo stand out, and why I chose this over the others, is how Dave has managed to catch the water droplets bouncing off the air sacs as this frog inflates them... Amazing! I keep saying it, but it is these little difference that make a photograph stand out, and what kept me going back to this one. Well done Dave!

To see more of Dave McCulley's photos, take a look at his flickr photostream linked in his name.

Dave McCulley's photo will be on display in our coffee shop gallery throughout next year, and will be in with a chance to be selected by a professional wildlife photographer to win a photographic day here at the Centre.