Monday, 24 November 2014

BWC Photo Comp 2014 "JUNIOR" Shortlist

It is that time already when we start to announce the shortlisted entries for our photographic competition. This year has seen our most popular competition with over 600 photographs submitted over the past 9 months. This year Professional Wildlife Photographer David Llyod will be selecting his favourites to win each category. Check out his website, linked in his name, to see some amazing wildlife photography, David runs workshops here at the BWC, but is perhaps better known for his African wildlife photographs and inspiring black and whites. He currently has a book out "As long as there are animals" and I can highly recommend it!

So, let's get straight to it... First off is our "Junior" category for young photographers 16 years old or under. This year we had over 40 entries, and as always it was a difficult decision to narrow the field down to the shortlisted ten...

BWC Photo Comp "JUNIOR" Shortlist

Eagle Owl - Amy Stanwell

Intense stare of a hungry fox - Ben Duursma

Stoat - Emma Coates

Fox - Grace Redington

Rabbit's stare - Lauren Smewing

Hello Mr Hedgehog - Mike Jordan

Long eared owl - Mya Bambrick

Wildcat - Rio Surendran

Roly poly - Ross Madagan

Red Squirrel - Thomas Ivory-Bray

Winners and runner-ups will be announced over the early part of next year. Good luck to all the photographers above!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Update and Harvest Mice

In the past the winter months have seen a lack of "exciting" animal news. We slow down with bookings, and spend the time tidying enclosures and managing the reserve. It means this blog is dominated by the photographic competition, and shortlist announcements, but this year things are different. We have a few bits and pieces of news to bring over the nest couple of weeks, and so will be posted alongside the competition shortlists.

Departures, new arrivals, release footage and updates all happening over the next month. Oh... and of course we will keep you up on how little ol' Buster is doing in the otter pond!

With the weather being milder than usual for this time of year, it means our smaller mammals breeding season has been extend. This is most noticeable with our breeding harvest mice, who although many have stopped breeding, a few pairs have had recent litters.

It is not the best time of year for releases, and so our programmes go on hold. But this year has seen a demand in these little mice for display at other collections and colleges. They are such an easy display to set up, and manage, but have a huge impact with most people falling in love with them. This means our youngsters will likely be moving on to new homes in the coming weeks to local colleges and collections. This will give us the space to continue to breed next year for more exciting release programmes, on and off site!

The photographic competition has now closed, and we have had over 600 photos submitted! An amazing turn out, and many thanks to all who have entered. Shortlisting is taking place now and the photographs to be judged by Professional Wildlife Photographer David Llyod!

David Lloyd will be selecting the winning photograph from each category (each winning a years membership to the BWC, and a place in our gallery in the coffee shop) and I will be choosing my favourite as runner-up (also gaining a place in our gallery). The overall winner will win an exclusive day of photography here next year, where being on their own I will be able to tailor the day a bit more to what they may like. The last couple of years have seen us choose the bluebell season to get some owls in bluebells!

The shortlisted photos will be up on the blog from next week. One category per week, hopefully every Monday, starting this coming Monday with the "Junior" category. The winners will then be announced at the beginning of next year, by the end of January/early February.

Good Luck to all who have entered!

After setting up the photographic competition five years ago, it has progressed and gone from strength to strength, even gaining nationwide recognition earlier this year in the national news papers... therefore it is a shame that I am saying to you now that it will be taking a hiatus next year.

However, personally I am still very keen to recognise the amazing photographs that are taken here every year, and so I have a plan up my sleeve to still be able to so this. It won't be the same, but will hopefully still be something you look forward to and will mean we can keep our gallery in the coffee shop going for the following year! I will also try and get the office on board with a few prizes. It will be more laid back, but then hopefully a bit more accessible too.

More on that next year, for now get ready to see some great photographs from this years competition over the coming weeks!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

BWC Photo Competition Closed

This years photographic competition has now closed, thank you to all who entered and good luck!

After a late surge this has been one of our most popular competitions in terms of number of entries submitted. I have only quickly skimmed over the numbers, but it is very close to 600!

As with previous years, the shortlisted photos for each category will be shown here on the blog over the coming weeks with the winners and runner ups announced over the early part of next year. This year's main judge is professional wildlife photographer David Lloyd who will be selecting the winners of each category.

Good luck to all who entered!

Monday, 10 November 2014

BWC Photo Competition

Just a reminder that this is the last week that have to enter out BWC Photographic Competition for 2014. The closing date is this Friday the 14th of November. For more details on the competition and how to enter either click on the tab above for "Photo Comp" or go to our main website.

This year has shown some complications in entering via flickr, and I think it is due to them changing their website a lot and having different betas running etc. Therefore we have been recommending to people that it may be easier to enter this year by email.

Over the last few weeks we have had a number of entries submitted, after the deadline these will all be shortlisted down for David Lloyd, Professional wildlife photographer, to select the winning images.

We are still a little disappointed with the number of photos entered in to our "Junior" category, so if you are under 16 years of age... or know a budding photographer who is a Junior, then please do encourage them to submit a couple of photos for this years competition.

Good luck to all who enter!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Buster Makes and Appearance

OK... Firstly, I brought you news of our new otter cub Buster yesterday, so if you haven't seen that post yet scroll down to read a bit more.

Secondly... I said he was 6 weeks old, but checkin this record card it is actually 7 weeks ago yesterday that he was born.

Thirdly... Isn't he so cute!

After saying it would probably be a couple of weeks till he emerged, he was out this morning for the first time! Usually I would estimate that eight weeks is when we may start to see the cubs, so he is a week early, but not too much of a surprise being the only cub... he will develop a little quicker with all the attention from mum.

First job of the day was to move his older brother Franklin to the middle pond. This went smoothly and we thought nothing of it, but on the way back past the main pond we heard a high pitched scream. I really wish I had my video camera with me then to record it for you, as it really is a terrifying sound if you don't know what it is, and I knew straight away it was Buster.

Experience told me not to worry, he is probably being dragged around by mum in the water, but it still gets me every time so I had to go and check he was alright... Of course he was, and it was just his first swimming lesson. Fair to say he didn't enjoy it!

As soon as Emmy saw me, she dragged him out on to the bank and he soon settled. I left it a bit then went down later with my camera and managed to get a couple of photos, including throne above of him trig to run away from mum before she grabs him by the scruff of the neck and hauls him back in to the rushed.

And Elwood's role in all this... he seemed pretty oblivious. Showing no signs of missing Franklin, and not much interest in Buster. I am sure this will change as the days move on though as I remember him being such a good dad to Franklin, even helping Emmy with taking food back and teaching him to swim.

No guarantees of course if you try to come and see Buster, but I promised to let you know when we see him out, and today was the first morning he has been spotted out and about. I would imagine another few weeks would make it more likely to see him, but then of course he will be bigger. They grow fast.