Thursday, 15 September 2016

Long-eared Owls

Earlier this week I went out on the reserve with our two new long eared owls, and keepers Meg and Tom. I haven't picked up my camera in a while, due mainly to time... and admittedly possibly a little lack in motivation too... but the glorious evening called, and I had yet to take some nice photos of these two owls since they had fully grown.

Above is Leo, hand reared by Meg. A beautiful long eared owl who has already been on a few of our owl days.

Despite the weather being lovely, we had surprisingly little light. So when it did break for a few moments I took advantage to take a head shot of Leo to show off his facial disc.

Here are all four of them, you can see how dim it was despite the weather, surprising really but we made the most of it. Took a while to get all four of them to look at the camera at the same time :-)

And here is Percy, reared by Tom. Still a little maturing to do, but practically there. Despite being siblings they are different in both looks and personality. Amazing how the same animals are still very individual, have their own characteristics, even when from the same litter parents.

We set them up in a few different places, but didn't spend too long. We hoped to go in to the woods... but unfortunately it was too dark for that.

Tom and Percy chilling in the grass, all in all it was a good sessions.

Then right before we all left, Meg flew Leo in the Dell. He is a little star already in our displays, and I will get some nice photos for you of him flying out on the reserve when I have time, but just for a record shot this will do.

Thanks for looking :-)

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Owl Growth

Long-eared owl in the snow

It has been a busy couple of months at the Centre, so busy in fact that I have rarely picked up my camera! People have often said to me, "It must be lovely working there, being able to take photographs whenever you want"... but that's the thing, I'm working here!.. rarely get the time to photograph, it's just when I do get the time I have a few advantages of course.

So what's been happening? Well, them owls been growing... What's it take to make a long eared owl like Archimedes above? About 8 weeks growth from the chick below...

This is Leo at around 3 weeks old. It always amazes me every time we rear an owl how quickly they change, but they have too grow their adult feathers quick to help survive in the wild. You can see he can't reliably stand on his legs yet, often sitting on his haunches.

Another week or so, and now a confident stander... almost strutting you might say. Head is beginning to take shape, and the feathers beginning to push through on his wings.

A bit older, and a bit more feather showing. More coming through too on the tail and wings, and the face continuing to take shape. Beginning to look like an owl.

Not far off the finished article. Wings and tail are complete, facial disc looking good, just some down to lose on the chest and back. The back of the head is nearly always the last to mature, and then his little ear tufts will begging to emerge.

I have lots of photos of all British owls developing, but won't bore you here and now. But just to finish see these three stages of a barn owl growing and maturing.

Thanks for looking :-)

Friday, 24 June 2016

Recent Pics

"Wildcat Kitten" 

The kittens have been great fun over the past few weeks, bringing many people in to see them. I haven't actually had that much time to photograph them myself, but have got a few nice ones of them that I like. I will share a few later when they are older, a few of them growing and playing etc, but here are a couple in the mean time.

Leo, our long eared owl chick, is really growing fast. Nearly there in these two photos, and practically there in real life now. Only his ear tufts to fully come through. Like with the kittens, I will share a series of him growing on this blog soon. Just need to take him out for a photo shoot now he has his tufts :-)

And one of our new roe deer, Willow. She is really friendly, and has made our other doe, Chestnut, bolder too.

Thanks for looking :-)

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Recent Pictures

"Leo" our long-eared owl

A few new births over the recent months, and lots of interest for visitors. One of the new stars is Leo, a long eared owl we hatched out here at the Centre.

You can see he is growing very fast, and is even more 'adult' looking than this now!

Perhaps our biggest draw at the moment are our wildcat kittens. After a hiatus, we decided to breed them again this year.

Kendra had three kittens, all currently healthy and doing very well.

Just a quick post to share a couple of pics, but I will do a longer one on both the kittens and the long eared owl showing them growing etc later in the year.

And a quick phone picture to end with. 5 day old polecat kitts! Rarely see these, but we had to move them off display with their um as she was not settling. Pleased to say they are all doing well now, and she is much happy with them off view.

Thanks for looking :-)

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Dance of the Adders, 2016

"Dance of the Adders" - 2016

Our adders finally started dancing just over a week a go. A little later than usual, but then they emerged from hibernation earlier as well. They put on a brief display on the Friday, and then followed this up with some good action on the Saturday and Sunday, much to the enjoyment of many of our visitors!

During the past week I have not seen any "dancing" at all, and now the temperatures have dropped again that could be it for the year. Brief, but beautiful! That being said, I do remember about three years a go something similar happening with temperature drops just after they started, and they continued where they left off a couple of weeks later when it warmed up again... so who knows.

Anyway, here are a few pics from last weekend...

And I will end with a portrait... you can't beat a good portrait!

Thanks for looking :-)