Friday, 1 June 2018

Owlets


Lot's of owlets this year for us at the Centre. Just a few pics for you here. Above are two tawny owls on the right, and a little owl on the left.



Our long eared owls have been very successful for a number of years. Three more chicks so far this year in their first clutch, including this one above who had a quick photo shoot before heading off to Nescot College.



Our tawny owls bred for the first time this year, but unfortunately it was soon apparent that the mother wasn't sure what she was doing. We had to take them a lot earlier than we normally would to hand rear them, but they are now looking really good.



Another successful year for our little owls too. We have bred them a few times before, but this is the first time in back to back years they have hatched out a clutch of chicks. 4 this time, two of which will stay at the Centre.



Our owlets are being reared by the keepers, who get to take them home at night to make sure they have company and stay friendly. 



And one little chick that didn't hatch out here, but was donated to us to rear for our flying team. A Barn owl being hand reared by keeper Tom.

Thanks for looking :-)

Friday, 25 May 2018

Adders


While photographing the adders dancing, I managed to take a few pictures of them on their own too. Above is my favourite, and one I have been after for a long time. You have to be very lucky, right place right time, and this year I was. 

While dancing, one of the adders stopped and went under the tile shelter. He came out the other end, and was moving his mouth in a way that I though he would open it up wide. They often do this after eating, to realign their jaw, so maybe during the tussle with another male he knocked it slightly and wasn't comfortable. 

I ha put my camera down at this point, and was talking to my brother watching on the outside, but saw the above out the corner of my eye. Luckily, I was in there with them and laying down. Lucky I had my macro lens on as I was quite close. Lucky he faced me at a nice angle while he "yawned" Very lucky that on this photo nothing was in the way... I have several others in the sequence, but each one has a blade of grass in front of his head!



A few others I quite liked, above and below of one of our males... actually I think that is one each of both our males. Then further down the darker female curled up in the logs. 






Side on female.



Facing the camera.



And again, but wit a male writhing over her. Shows nicely the contrast difference between the males and females.

Thanks for looking :-)

Friday, 18 May 2018

Dancing Adders


A couple of weeks a go now our adders 'danced'. This is such an amazing thing to see, and I have been lucky enough to see it here a the Centre for several years now. It is always one of the signs of Spring for me, something I always look forward to observing, and an experience I enjoy immersing myself in by just laying in the enclosure with them... watching, photographing and being absorbed by the beauty of it.

This 'dance of the adders' is a ritual battle between rival males, competing over a nearby female for a mate. If you want to know more about it, have a look at our BWC blog where I go in to a bit more detail and even have a short video showing some of it in action.



These are just a few photos from this years experience. Despite photographing this for many years now, you always see new things and end up with different photos. Above is my favourite from this season... two of our males dancing almost on top of one of our females, with her not looking too impressed at all.



As well as them dancing, I took the chance to get a few portraits of them while they were busy being distracted with other things! I will share a couple of these next week, including one I am particularly pleased with.



The dance is over for this year now, a lot of lucky visitors managed to see it over the bank holiday weekend, and a very lucky photography group who were here on perhaps the best day for them dancing.



They have since mated, and so possibly some young adders later in the year. Time will tell.



Thanks for looking :-)