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 :-)

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Yellow Neck Mice

The Centre continues to be busy, and we have new keepers training up and new animals arriving and being born too. I have a few odds and ends photos to share later this month, and also a little post about our new arrivals when they go out on display. For now though, here are a few photos of our yellow neck mice that I took last week.

Our mice and voles are doing very well at the moment, breeding and displaying well, and our yellow necks in particular always seem to be out and active. The slightly greyer ones in these pictures are of the youngsters or adolescents... as they mature they will get the more 'ginger/golden' hue in their fur.

This one is my favourite in the beautifully shaped bit of wood, and a few others I was pleased with below. I still haven't got one with the tail nicely in the photo too... so keep trying I guess :-)

Thanks for looking :-)

Monday, 5 March 2018

Photos from February

The end of February brought us some snow, and although we didn't get as much as surrounding areas, we still did get a little covering here at the Centre. Around getting jobs done so that keepers could get home early, and avoiding my fingers dropping off in the bitterly cold wind, I managed to get a few pictures of our animals in the dusting of snow. The one above of Susie in her ermine coat being my favourite.

A few more snow photos are at the end of the post, but I wanted to share a couple of others first. This one above is of one of our male otters, Jake. I took this during the early part of the month, having been taking photos of the cubs and buster... and remembering that I don't actually have too many pictures of him.

It was very late one evening, and little light... you can see hardly any colour in the image at all, but still he looks as handsome as ever. It is probably my favourite portrait of him I have at the moment. 

At the beginning of the month I wanted to try and get a photo of Susie in her ermine coat. Something else I have wanted for a while is a photo of her whole body, including her tail... most of my pictures of her are just head and shoulders out of a hole.

I was happy with these two for record shots, but still not what I really had in mind.

When the snow came, it helped with the poor light by reflecting it around the enclosure making things a bit easier. I quite liked the one above, and so now just need to take one in her summer coat complete with tail.

In the past, when we have had snow, the snowy owl has always been my first port of call. But this year I had to make it Susie... an ermine stoat in the snow!

Tuesday afternoon, the keepers went home early to avoid the traffic and icy roads, and I went and spent half an hour with Susie before heading off myself.

We had a little bit of light for a few minutes, but even with out it wasn't too bad as the snow made everything brighter.

Feeling left out, Nina the weasel wanted her photograph taken too!

Now these pictures of the otters were actually taken on the 1st of March, but thought I would include them here since they are a bit snowy.

I have several photos of our two otter cubs running on the snowy ice, but these are a couple of my favourites.

It took them a while to get used to the ice, unlike Buster above, who has seen it all before. Here he is just standing in the middle of the pond on the ice, wondering what all the fuss is about.

Thanks for looking :-)