Thursday, 15 December 2016


It has been a slow second half of the year in terms of me taking photographs. Lack of time due to work being so busy was definitely a factor, and a little slack of motivation too if truth be told when I did have a bit of time. I didn't help that my main lens broke too! All fixed now thankfully.

Here is a quick catch up of things, a bit photo heavy and nothing special, but worth hanging in there till the end if you want to see a photo of some cute otter cubs!

So to start off, you may be wondering what the photo above is... why did I just take a photo of some grass?.. Well, if you look close enough, you may see some of the grass is neatly woven in to a ball. This is a harvest mouse nest out on our nature reserve.

I have always known our mice do well out there, as I often see signs and on occasion the mice them selves, but this is the first time we have found one of their nests. This is important as it means we can record this to show our releases are a success (don't ask me why, but just seeing them is never enough to some people).

Lucy, being our resident craz... uh, enthusiast of harvest mice :-) is spending time to record and monitor all these nests this winter for our records at work. All good stuff.

I was asked for a particular type of photo of our polecats for work. You know the deal, blank space and backgrounds etc... not looking at the camera. Very difficult as the time of year was when they had kits. These were the best I could do in the twenty minutes I had one afternoon.

And I couldn't ignore the males, so here is one of the boys.

Before the rut I always check on the deer, while out in the paddock I took this close up of their fur as an experiment for something I'm currently working on. Hopefully more on that next year.

A simple portrait of one of our red squirrels.

While in there I realised I don't have a photo of them drinking, something I have seen many others share before. So I took a quick one when I saw this squirrel grab a drink. I was a bit close unfortunately so the tail got a bit cropped off, but you get the idea.

The last work thing I did was our deer rutting, above is the one we used for publicity, and one of the last photos I took before my lens packed in.

So I was limited to a wide angle or a large zoom. Above a nice portrait of Albus during the rut in the morning sun.

Then most recent, a couple of weeks a go, I did a little session with our long eared owl Percy. I'm not a huge fan of silhouettes but the conditions lended them selves to it... and if you're going to do it, I think you need an animal with an obvious outline if that makes sense. Another owl would just not of worked as well.

So a series of portraits, all in landscape as they were needed for a calendar.

This was the one I ended up going for.

This was possibly my favourite, a little more obscure.

And I just had to take this portrait while he was posing in this beautiful shape against the tree.

"Me and some Otter Cubs" by Alan K Jones

As promised, here are some baby otters! Adorable aren't they?..

They are now 7 weeks old, and recently we health checked them and micro chipped them etc. They will probably start too come out over the next week or two, and thankfully my main lens is now fixed and back in my possession ready to try and catch them having their swimming lessons.

Thanks for looking :-)

Friday, 2 December 2016

Houdini the Weasel

"Houdini" the Weasel

For those that follow our "British Wildlife Centre" Facebook page, you may have seen our new cover star for our 2017 leaflet. "Houdini" the weasel. The office selected the above photo to grace the front of the leaflet for next year, and I was particularly pleased to see on elf our less known animals make the call!

Weasels are such amazing animals, our smallest carnivore in this country... it is said that a female weasel could fit through a wedding ring, and this is probably true... but I would have to say it would need to be a small weasel and a big wedding ring.

One thing I always use to try and explain to people the size of a weasel, is a comparison to a pack of Polos. A female weasel is about the same size. I must try and get a photograph of one of our weasels next to a pack at some pout to illustrate this.

Our cover star, and indeed the weasel in all these photographs, is Houdini. She is a real beauty, but sadly no longer with us having passed away earlier this year to old age. She was a rescue who came to us with out a tail. Having been rescued, she was too tame to release, and so I sent a dear friend of mine "Robin" to collect her from the midlands where she was found. This is the beginning of where her name came from...

You see, I was often asked "is she called Houdini because she escapes a lot?" And the truth is she never escaped once while she was here. Robin however did have an interesting car journey home.

When he arrived back to the Centre, we checked the cage she Houdini was supposed to be in, and she was no where to be found. Bemused, we kept searching, and then from the corner of my eye I saw some movement out of a small hole in another box that was in the back of the car. Keeping a close watch, a few seconds later, Houdini popped her head out of the hole again. During her trip down south, she had managed to get out of her cage, and find a much more suitable box to travel in :-)

I don't have too many photographs of our weasels, they are extremely quick and fast, but you can see a couple of different poses in this post. My favourite is the second picture in this post, a classic portrait which you all know I like, and in the grass which really shows her scale and how small weasels really are.

Thanks for looking :-)