Just a quick reminder... After our very busy Bank Holiday weekend, we are open everyday for the rest of this week for the schools half-term. Hope to see some of you here, I am sure our animals will be happy to see you...
I have just got back from a trip to Wildwood Trust, near Herne Bay, to drop off a kestrel and collect two new pairs of dormice.
As most of you will already be aware, we are part of the national breeding programme which keeps, breeds and re-introduces dormice back in to the wild. After some very successful years, we have had a quiet spell for the past two years... our pairs have got old... so time to freshen up the group, and bring some new ones in.
These new dormice will be housed in our breeding enclosures opposite our badgers and snakes. To be completely honest, the chances of you seeing them are slim... very slim! They are very nocturnal, and hibernate for half the year! But then this is why we have our lovely nocturnal house.
In our nocturnal house we have swapped the day and night around, meaning these highly nocturnal animals such as our dormice, hedgehogs and bats, can be seen out during the day. So, if you really want to see a hazel dormouse, that will be the best place to look.
Firstly, bear with me as these are old photos, but I just wanted to bring you the exciting news that we have squirrel kittens at the Centre!
We have had a slow start to the season, especially where our red squirrels are concerned, but this past week have noticed that five of our females have a litter of kittens, including some in our walk through enclosure.
As mentioned above, these are old photos, the kittens are not yet out and about for people to see... still very much tucked up in their nest boxes, but just wanted to bring you the good news. Of course we will update you as soon as they have emerged, and you can then come and try and get a glimpse of these beautiful animals!
Following on from my post at the end of last week, our nature reserve is really beginning to green up for the Spring, and over the last couple of weeks, the bluebells have been on good form.
Luckily for a couple of our owl photographic days... meaning we could set up many of the owls on natural perches in the beautiful violet colour!
Have a look on our photographic social sites to see many visitors photos of our owls in the bluebells, even including a couple of Hedwig the snowy owl in the bluebells!..
Make a note in your diary for next year if you are keen to photograph our owls in the bluebells... our owl days around the end of April, early May seem to offer the best chances. Of course though, it depends on the seasons at the time.
Remember our visiting kingfisher from earlier this year?.. Well we have a new visitor, and although maybe not as striking and iconic, she's is a real beauty and a rarity to see!
Above is a photo of a lesser spotted woodpecker, a rare sight around here, and the first one I have ever seen in the wild! This is a female, she lacks the red "crown" that the males wear, and has been seen in our otter ponds pretty much everyday now for the past couple of weeks.
Two weeks ago Izzy was feeding the otters, and heard a "pecking"noise. When looking she saw this little bird drilling away on one of the bullrushes, looking for grubs. She is a lovely little thing, and has been happily posing in front of cameras the past weekend and is not too bothered by the otters at all. If you are lucky enough to see here yourself this weekend, just be quiet and patient. Don't go rushing up to see her as she will likely spook, but take it easy and she should stay and let you watch her at work.
Our season seems to be a little later this year, a lot of activity is delayed and the bluebells are only just at their peak now... luckily for our owl photographic day yesterday! I think many off our litters will be later this year, but the greenery on the reserve is really beginning to come through now.
This is especially great for our owl photographic days, and really allows us to find some natural perches for them to offer you a "wild" looking photograph of all seven British owls!
Hopefully see some of you over the weekend, and if you do visit, don't forget to keep an eye on the otter ponds for our rare visitor!