Sunday, 22 July 2018

Ravens on Display

Our pair of ravens are now on display in their new aviary, and just in time for the summer opening period as we are now open every day for the summer until the 3rd of September. They are in the new aviary on the left hand side as you head towards the wetland boardwalk. A lovely large aviary, with extra height, which gives them some great roosting areas to overlook the whole Centre and much of the reserve too. 

Our two are still young, and although pretty much fully grown, will still take a while to fully mature, bulk out and develop into adult plumage and look. Ravens are the largest members of the crow family, differing from the others not only in size but also with their heavier built and larger black beak, their more wedge like shaped tail when flying and ruffled shaggy feathers around the throat and above the beak.

Huginn and Muninn, as we have called them, came to us as very young chicks from a corvid rescuer and raven breeder local to us. Hand reared from this young age, they are very friendly, and enjoy human interaction.

Ravens are fascinating birds, and it will be great for visitors to see and hear about them over the coming weeks. I think for me the most interesting things about them are the folklore, myths and history through different cultures. Their names for example, Huginn and Muninn, come from the names of the Norse god Odin's two ravens. Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory) would fly over the world, and report back to Odin.

And of course, perhaps most famous, Edgar Allen Poe's poem "The Raven"

You will see our ravens long before you get to their avairy. They love to perch up high, which gives them a view of the Centre and a chance for you to see them above the owl aviaries as you wander down towards them.

Don't forget that we are now open for the summer holildays, everyday until the 3rd of September. Hope to see many of you here over the next few weeks.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Photo of the Month: June 2018

"European Adder" by Fay Saunders

As always, some lovely photos shared over the past month, but how could we resist this beautiful face of one of our adders for June's photo of the month.

This photo of one of our male adders was taken by Fay Saunders, while the adder was sunbathing in the gorse bush. The photo will be on display in our gallery next year, and be in with a chance to win a photographic day here if selected by our professional judge at the end of the year.

Below are a few more pictures from last month. Click on the names of the photographers to see more of their photos.

"Yellow Neck Mice" by Danny Simpson

"Harvest Mouse" by Celia Mulhearn

"Fox" by Catherine Lawrence

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Members Evening: 2018

Thank you to all the members who came along to our annual "Members Evening" last night. As with previous years we stayed open for an extra few hours after we usually close, for members of the Centre to enjoy the place to themselves and in the slightly cooler evening weather.

This is a great time to be at the Centre, and the animals are often a little more active with it being slightly quieter and certainly with yesterdays weather a little cooler too. A couple of extra talks were done, not usually on our schedule, and a few extra feeds for the animals too.

Our harvest mice are always popular, and as has become a bit of a staple for this event now, after the owners welcome we went down to the Dell to talk about harvest mice and provide a few photo opportunities to the keen photographer too.

Our second talk was held at the other side of the Centre, with an update on our badgers, dormice, snakes and smaller mustelids... but with a focus on weasels and stoats.

Throughout the evening we had keepers out and about with our new owlets, and generally on hand to answer any questions. A few extra feeds were added too, including the otters, foxes, wildcats and pine martens.

Thank you again to all who came, and for all your support as members. The evening was a huge success, and a great way to end a great day... Not sure if you heard... but it's coming home!

Monday, 2 July 2018

Reserve Releases

Our reserve releases continue this year, with us breeding and releasing both harvest mice and water voles out on to our nature reserve.

Having established some harvest mice further down in to our reserve, we have come back closer to the boardwalk this year to boost numbers there. So far they are settling in well in the reeds, including this little one above exploring his new home.

The harvest mice are very shy and elusive, and will be difficult to spot, but keep your eyes open while walking around the wetland walk as you never know!

Our water voles will be a little easier to spot, or at least hear, as you hear a little "plop" in to the water as you walk nearby and one jumps off the bank. We have had a couple spotted in recent weeks, and last week we set up our soft release pens with new families of water voles ready for release later this summer.

You may well see them scurrying about in some of these pens which are visible from the boardwalk, and we have several other further in to the reserve too.

If you spot either any of our wild harvest mice or water voles while down there, do let us know... it is always nice to hear.