Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Dancing Adders

Yes, yes, yes!.. Our adders have put on a good display both yesterday, and so far today. All three males have been involved with the dancing, although only two at one time. Unfortunately I have been unable to see any of it today, and have only been told by the keepers, but yesterday the above two dance for about twenty minutes in the morning before the silvery one slipped off and the other sandy one joined in.

After much rest, the two sandy ones had another go at the end of the day, but only for about ten minutes. Fingers crossed we may still get some dancing over the next few days... I have even been told that some people saw them mate again today. As I said in the last post, a very rare thing to see, so we really have been spoilt this year.

Anyway... here is a short video of them dancing yesterday. For more dancing and information on how, why etc they do it have a look at last years video at the bottom of this post. In-between the two videos are some pictures of them in action yesterday, more will eventually go up on a sister blog I am working on.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Adder Action

The weekend provided visitors with some great adder action, or at least some rare glimpses of behaviour not often seen.

Firstly, on Saturday, two of our adders were seen mating. This is rarely observed with snakes, and probably more so with adders... In the ten years I have been here I have never seen it before, so I was extremely grateful when member Peter Trimming came to find me and let me know it was happening.

You can see from the photo above how they actually couple while mating. They were not on view for long, before slipping off in to the grass, but to see some more and quite frankly, better photos of this follow the link on the right to go to our flickr page!

Then on Sunday we saw two of our adders dancing... For those of you that have followed the blog for at least a year or more, you will know how much I look forward to this every year. They were only at it for about a minute before giving up, but both were interested in our second female so hopefully the next few days will see some more dancing.

It can't be guaranteed of course, so don't visit just to try and see this beautiful ritual, but if you do want to try and see it this following week may be a good time to try.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Fox Cubs

No, we don't have fox cubs at the Centre... I just want to make that clear before people come just to see them and get disappointed, but we did welcome four young cubs for one morning last week for a new project the owner is working on.

A couple of days a go now, Wildlife A&E kindly brought in four of their orphaned cubs that they were rearing for us to film for an upcoming project (which you will hear more about later this year). As many of you know, we took the decision to stop breeding our foxes a few years a go, so it was lovely to see fox cubs at the centre once again, if just for a brief spell.

Have a look at this video to see them having a bit of fun in out inside area for the foxes in the barn...

Thanks once again to Louise and Wildlife A&E. To see all the good work they do follow the links below to their website and Facebook page.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Malta Massacre

Not a pleasant post, but if you get ten minutes over a tea break today please do read the home page on Chris Packham's website linked above and below.

For years hunters in  Malta have been illegally killing birds migrating over the island, many of them considered rare species, and little has been done to stop this appalling behaviour. Having spoken to many of our visitors over the past week, it is clear to me that not many people are even aware of this happening, so please do spread this message far and wide among those you know.

You may think why is this important for British wildlife?.. Many of these birds being shot are British species, and birds that visit our country. I'll be honest and say I don't know a huge amount about this myself, so please take a look at the email below that Chris sent to his mailing list and follow the link to his website to learn more.

Dear All,

Pasted below is a link to the home page of my website which currently displays information about an important project which I will be working on shortly . I'd like to ask you to forward this link by e-mail , Facebook and Twitter to as many people as possible , it really doesn't matter if they are 'into wildlife' or not , I'd like everyone to learn about this issue . Or if you have your own website then please copy the details onto it and encourage as many visits as you can.

'Malta – Massacre on Migration' will be my first 'as live' nightly YouTube diary from the frontline of this Mediterranean slaughter ground . Each evening at 9.00 PM UK time we will upload a short report of the days activities to increase awareness of the impact of the mass killing of birds and to ask viewers to help us end this vile travesty .
So please click on the link for more information and then please share it widely . We can make a difference - but only if we act .

Thank you
Best Wishes
Chris Packham

Thanks for looking.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Red Squirrel Kittens

It is that time of year again, and so far we have seen one litter of red squirrel kittens out in our breeding pens... and signs of another couple of litters out there too!

In our walkthrough enclosure there seems to be signs of nest building which could mean litter or two on the way. One female in there in particular is being quite a nuisance and has found a good source of nesting material in one of our double doors. Over the weekend she managed to slip past a few people to gather up some wood peelings from the timber frame. Luckily we were able to guide her back in safely, but keep your eyes open if you head in there and try not to let her through. Easier said than done I know.

We have also had news from some of our holders that hey have litters of kittens too. So it seems like this is going to be another good year for red squirrel breeding.

This year we are taken a slight step back from a big release. Tresco is still going very well, and we have more plans for the long term future, but we need to create more pairs to ensure that our squirrels do continue to breed in future years.

As well as this we have interest in a couple of more places to join our breeding group, one in particular is very exciting and you will here more about that over the summer. And we have been asked to help with 3 more potential release projects across the country. Still very early days on these, and will probably not see any direct action until next year at the earliest, but one may be ready for a small scale pilot release this autumn. Again more information on this as the time draws nearer.

Just to say again, the kittens we currently have are in our off-display breeding pens so can not be seen if you come to visit. I will let you know as soon as we have any out and about in our display walk-through enclosure.