Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Wildlife Pond

As you come in to the Centre, just on the right hand side past our giant hedgehog, we have a small area which we plant up as wildflower every year. Not only does this give this area a bit of colour, and welcome you all to the Centre, it also provides vital habitat to much of our wildlife.

I will post photos when it is in full bloom, but for some that were not aware... behind these wildflowers we have a small wildlife pond. It is only the size of approximately four dustbin lids, but just goes to show what you may be able to do even in your own back garden to help wildlife. We have recently given this pond a little bit of a tidy, ready for the new spring to arrive.

While tidying the pond we realised our bird feeders were a bit beaten from the years of use, so have replaced these with new ones for the birds to enjoy. Hopefully we can get the camera working on these again and have the feeding birds shown on the screen in the coffee shop like we did many years a go. Our DVD has proved popular, but is a little out of date now :-)

What with the wildflower, bird feeders, wildlife pond and areas of this section left unmanaged and untamed... it just goes to show that even on a small scale you can create a wildlife haven for wildlife, you don't have to go to the extremism of our 26 acre nature reserve. Just leave a corner of your garden un tidy and see what turns up!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Red Squirrel Ropes

Just a few photos to show you that our red squirrels love the new rope we put up for them last week!

Some of you may remember the ropes we had up when we first opened the walkthrough enclosure... They worked well, but due to funds were not of the best quality, and due to time were perhaps not put high enough to make a real visual effect.

A couple of years a go now the old rope had deteriorated enough that it had to be removed, and we have wanted to replace it ever since... but to do it on a better scale.

This year we were in a position to do this. 220 metres off rope was ordered in one large coil, and a team of four off us struggled to unwind and thread this through the trees of the Copse. We wanted to get it done in one length, and wanted to put it up higher, and hopefully you agree the effort was worth it. It really does look amazing in there.

It didn't take long for the squirrels to start using it. I was in there yesterday morning for half an hour and had about 12 squirrels buzzing around and darting back and forth along their new aerial runways!

Come and have a look at some point if you get the chance, and don't forget we are open every day this week for half term.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

1st Adder Sighting of 2015

You know how much I like our adders, and so I just had to nip back post this photo to share with you of our first adder sighting of 2015! Taken about midday today.

I was walking out of our red squirrel enclosure, after failing to get a photo of one of our squirrels on the new ropes we have put up, and saw a photographer photographing something in our adder pen... I thought he can't possibly be photographing nothing, and sure enough when I had a look in he pointed out one of our male adders happily basking in the sun!

So there you go, the milder weather of the past two days has brought one of our adders out today... if this weather continues we may well see the other two males make an appearance too. Keep your eyes peeled.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Feb Half Term, Opening

Don't forget.. next week we are open every day of the week, as well as the usual weekend, due to half term!

The last few weeks and months have seen us make the most of the quieter time, in terms of bookings, to get on top of some of the tidying of the enclosures. Throughout the year we keep on top of it all, but are limited in time, so over the winter days we can make use of the extra time to really give it all a fresh start for the new year.

Trees have been trimmed back in all the enclosures, the nature reserve has been tidied and the water vole island has had a bit of a sorting too.

While the snakes are hibernating, it allows us to give their enclosures a spring clean too without disturbing them. The adders above is now ready for their dancing in a couple of months...

...and hopefully the grass snakes is a little clearer. Still providing them with plenty of cover, but making it a little easier for you to see them too.

I've just realised the choices of photos were possibly not the best... the water voles and snakes may not be active enough to reliably see them for a good few more weeks :-)

But our Highland cows are... they have settled in really well, and are now out on our nature reserve. The best place to view them from is wetland board walk. But if they are too far off in the distance, then a quick trip to our second car park offers another place to see them from.

And our red squirrels are as busy as usual, especially around the morning feed at 10.30am. This past week we have introduced a huge network of ropeways, over 200m worth, for them to explore and enjoy another way of traversing their walkthrough enclosure.

Maybe see you over half term.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

New Polecats

We have had a few new polecat arrivals over the last few weeks. I am sure you all remember Mags and her kits, well her kits have now been successfully released in to the wild and Mags is going in to retirement. Our other pair... the male Storm sadly passed away a little while a go, Velvet being an old girl now, we decided to let her retire too. So this has given us space for two new pairs of polecats.

So we have welcomed Whitstable and Oriel, who are currently off display. They have yet to be paired up, but we will do so over the coming weeks, and then hopefully they will become our new young breeding pair.

Our second pair is Billy and Roxie, you can see Billy above in the photo. They are happily living together but are not a proven breeding pair... Fingers crossed they may too have a litter this year. But either way Billy has been great in coming out for people to see him.

Keep your eyes open for them next time you are here.