Thursday, 28 January 2016

2015: Photo of the Year!

Congratulations to Ashley Buttle who wins last years photo of the year competition, being selected out of the 12 photos of the month to be our overall winner and win a photographic voucher to be used on one of our photo days here!

Ashley's charming photograph was selected from the 12 by professional wildlife photographer Heather Angel. Heather is a renowned wildlife photographer, having won many awards in Britain and abroad. She selected Ashley's photograph stating:

"The photographer has not only captured a touching moment but also one rarely seen between two different sized mammals. Unique is often miss-used, but in this case it may well be an unique capture of a red squirrel happily continuing to feed whilst a muntjac nuzzles it. Congratulations to Ashley Buttle."

Congratulations indeed to Ashley! Chosen as our February image, it has always stood out as being something a bit special. We look forward to welcoming Ashley here in the future on one of our dedicated photographic days.

Many thanks again to Heather Angel for choosing her favourite from the final 12. To see some of Heather's work take a look at her website by following this link: Heather Angel Photographer You will get to see some stunning images taken from around the world, and a great blog offering tips for your own photography. Check out Heather's 'Shooting Silhouettes' in particular for some stunning shots! If you like what you see there, why not follow her on twitter. Heather posts regular updates under @angelantics

Monday, 25 January 2016

Daisy Leaving

You may remember that 2 years a go the keeper team had a bit of a shake up with three new young keepers entering the fold. One of these was Daisy, and after 2 years of experience she has now decided the time is right for her to move on and further her career in conservation.

Daisy arrived bright eyed, bushy tailed and with a smile on her face and left... well, exactly the same! Always approachable by visitors, always giving the up most care to the animals and always with her bubbly (if slightly crazy) personality.

Daisy was an asset to my team, displaying the rare qualities of being able to both care for our animals to our high standard and engage with the public on all levels and experience. She is moving on to work in environmental conservation, and returning to college part time for some additional training.

Daisy's last day here was last Friday. She will be missed by the team and all the animals here, as well as many of the members who regularly visit us. We all wish Daisy the very best in her new job and career, and hope she doesn't forget to come and see us in the future and let us know how she is doing.

Thursday, 21 January 2016


Rumours abound that the BWC had some snow at the weekend! Did we?.. Well, kinda...

We woke up Sunday morning to a small flurry of snow covering, and I use the term "covering" loosely, the Centre. Less than an inch had fallen overnight, barely concealing the grass and paths,  and by lunch time most of it had melted.

I know the photo above makes it look like there was more than I am saying, but I spent time with the squirrels early before we opened and, uh, did a bit of set building freezing my hands off while piling the snow up in a small area for the squirrels to sit on.

A lot of photographers turned up to enjoy the weather, many expecting more as areas not far from us had a good inch or more, but I think still left pleased having seen our animals enjoy the snow.

Three photos from Sunday morning, to show the snow off, and to test the new widths on the blog. Hope you like the larger photos, and remember as always to see them even larger you can click on one of them to bring all in the post up in a slideshow.

Friday, 8 January 2016

December's Photo of the Month

"Macavity Snarling" by Duncan Jennings

So here it is, our last photo of the month from 2015! Duncan Jennings photo of one of our wildcats, Macavity, snarling.

December was a quiet month for photo sharing, unsurprising with the unpredictable weather and festive holidays, and saw our red squirrels as being most popular popping up over various websites. We also found a lot of photos shared that had been taken earlier in the year, including some beautiful ones of our foxes, but it was this one above taken in December which I chose.

It is difficult to take a photograph of one of out wildcats and make it look "wild", but Duncan has done a great job here. He has timed it well to capture the snarl beautifully, really showing off the cat's character. The close crop intensifies the emotion and the detail within the whiskers and fur is stunning. What makes this even better is that it would have been taken from outside the enclosure, showing that with the right technique you can still take cracking images on one of our open days.

Well done Duncan! Your photo will be on display later this year in our coffee shop gallery, and be in with a chance to win a photographic day here at the Centre if selected out of the final 12 images by our professional judge.

To see more of Duncan's photos, click on the link in his name to go to his flickr photostream.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you all!

The weather is beginning to get a little colder... OK, still not cold enough for our otters to enjoy the ice and snow again, but it is chillier that it has been. A cold snap is forecast for a few weeks soon, and although no snow is expected, it will hopefully settle our animals many of which seem to be out of season with the mild winter we have had so far.

So what is set for 2016?.. The general tidying of the Centre will continue, hopefully many of you have noticed the smarter looking car park, well this has continued in to the Reception area and will spread to continue around the Centre where the squirrel enclosure has started. New arrivals, and animals moving on are set for this year and of course news will be shared here as and when this occurs.

As for this blog... possibly a slightly new look will emerge later this month. Nothing drastic, don't worry, but I have had many people ask if the pictures could be displayed bigger. I will remind you, you can click on them to make them appear bigger, but I understand that a lot of you view this on large monitors and so could afford for the blog scaling to be altered. I will try this at some point, and if it works great, if not... well we can change it back again.

So, 2016, later this week we will share our final photo of the month for 2015 and then it will be up to our judge to chose their favourite out of the 12 to be shared later this month.

All the best for 2016, hope it's a good year for you all!