Friday, 15 December 2017

Mice and Voles

Our mice and voles are often overlooked for photography, and you can understand why. They are not as reliable as many of our other animals in terms of when they come out and are active. They are a lot shyer, and will run for cover quicker if disturbed. The conditions, photography wise, are difficult.

We avoided the local snow last week, but had a couple of days of heavy rain instead. We used this time to re set the mice and vole enclosures, and while they were settling I managed to take a few pictures.

Nothing special, but some nice record shots for the files. It was dark, very dark, and the mice and voles rarely stay still... this led to a lot of blurry pictures to sort through. But I was quite happy with these ones.

And while photographing, I had a visitor come and watch... when I finished, she flew off again.

Thanks for looking :-)

Sunday, 19 November 2017


A few more hedgehog photos from a couple of weeks a go in the autumn leaves. Hugo, above and below, is an absolute pro at this modelling lark. He knows the angles and looks that people go for :-) Above was used by Springwatch's instagram last week.

This hedgehog above is a little darker, and a little littler... He is a youngster that came to us after being hand reared. Mr T is a real character, and loves a nice bite... takes after our old Gnasher. Another great one for photography though, as you can see. Not shy of the camera at all.

This is my favourite from him, but unfortunately it is out of focus. It works well enough for small size and thumbnails, but that is all. Shame as I like the composition and the leaf that fell on him while we were photographing.

Thanks for looking :-)

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Wildcat Kittens

Our wildcat kittens have grown up fast, and it won't be long until they are moved on to their new homes to aid with the breeding and conservation efforts going on to help try and save our remaining native cat.

Here are a few photos from a few weeks a go of all three of them, all now becoming quite bold and "wildcatty"

Braveheart, above and below, is becoming a favourite. It will be a real shame to see him go... Such a character already, and really trying to be the 'Big vicious" wildcat, just like his dad. He is practising his scowl and hiss as you can see.

And here is his dad, Macavity, above and below... just to show that little Braveheart  has a little way to go yet to perfect both :-)

Thanks for looking :-)

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Hugo the Hedgehog

"Hugo" the Hedgehog

Autumn is here, the leaves are falling and beautiful in colour, so as with most years I found some time to take full advantage and take some photos. I have quite a few pictures of our hedgehogs completely surrounded by leaves, and in amongst dried leaves, so this year used some freshly dropped yellow leaves.

We found a spot just next to our fox enclosure with a patch of grass and some lovely coloured leaves. Not too many, but enough to show a hint. The spot was perfect for a bit of back light too. "Hugo" the hedgehog was the model for the afternoon, and he was a star as always!

After a few autumnal photos, we took Hugo to a clean bit of grass for some very simple portraits... all for the office stock library.

Thanks for looking :-)

Friday, 29 September 2017


It's been a while... several months in fact... since I got my new camera, a Nikon D500. Work has been so busy though this year with various comings and goings that I have only really had time to start playing around properly with it the last few days. Still a lot to learn, and although it is still Nikon like my other camera, I am finding it hard to get the settings right for what I am after, but still it is a learning curve. Hopefully with time I will get there :-)

Although I have more time, we are still very busy at work, so I have had to do short bursts. Twenty minutes here and there. My first couple of goes were with our weasels, see below, but I have a few of the kittens and our hedgehog Hugo too that I want to share at some point.

Thanks for looking :-)

Friday, 7 July 2017


Over the past month, we have had several new arrivals at the Centre... many of them being young orphaned weasels which we have had to rear. A couple have become extremely friendly, meaning we could not release them back to the wild and so we offered them a permanent home here. It also allowed me to try a get a couple of photos I have been trying to take for some time now.

But!.. I hear you cry, those aren't weasels above... and yes, you are right. These are two long-eared owl chicks that we bred at the Centre, from a second clutch this year, which we are currently hand rearing. Well, only one of them now, as the other went down to the West Country Wildlife Photography Centre a couple of weeks a go now. A twee photo, but nice for a bit of publicity for the Centre. 

Aha, some of the more eagled eyed of you may still be saying... But Matt, this isn't a weasel either! And again, you would be right. These pictures above and below are of one of our friendly stoats, Columbus. Hand reared at a local rescue centre by one of our members, Margaret Kidd, and then donated to us to help educate our many school groups.

Columbus is an absolute star, and is often seen out in his hedgerow enclosure, very friendly still and seem to enjoy the attention he gets.

So, finally, below are a couple of photos of two of our new weasels...

This is Ginny (Weasley), who for those who don't follow my Centre's blog, miraculously survived a road accident where her mother was hit by a car while carrying Ginny across the road. The mother died, but somehow Ginny survived. She was bought to us to care for, and has become one of the tamest weasels I have ever known.

I have often explained to people that female weasels are not much larger than a pack of Polo mints, and have been requested for this photo many times, but never been able to take something. But with Ginny as good as she is, was able to finally set something up to show the comparison.

I am very pleased with this photo, but hope to take something better later in the year in some natural light. This was indoors and very dark.

Another new arrival allowed me to get another shot I have been after for some time. Above is Wilfred the weasel, now out in his outside photography enclosure opposite our polecats.

For some time I have been trying to take a full body shot of a stoat and weasel to show of the main visual difference between the two. Difficult due to our enclosures, the size of the animals, and how quick they move, but am quite happy with this one below.

Still a lot of room for improvement, but at least I have a stop gap I can use in the mean time. I will do a post on stoats and weasels in the future when I have the comparison pictures I am after for the pari of them.

Thanks for looking :-)

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Spring Catch Up

Life at the Wildlife Centre has been pretty hectic so far this year, for many a reason. We seem to be getting busier year by year, all good of course, plus this year we seem to have had a boom in babies being born and unusual rescues in need of our help. Staff changes too, with two new ladies joining the office team, and one of our keepers leaving and a new one arriving soon... plus as well as all our usual jobs, the keeping team have been busy adding new things to dead spaces around the Centre for all to enjoy and learn from.

This has all led to my little time for photography continuing, and a distinct lack in a "theme" or obvious order in what I am about to share with you, but I thought you may like to see some pictures of why I have not posted for a while.

A new camera arrived earlier this year, and I have still yet to take it out properly, but I did take the photo of "Leo" above earlier this year with it. 

Wildcat kittens are one of many an animal born here so far this year, and perhaps the most popular with the visitors. Three kittens from Kendra.

One of the youngsters had a problem with the grass seeds and her eye, but mum has sorted it out for her now.

They were born in one of our boxes, very unusual, but within days Kendra had moved them to the den at the back of her enclosure where she usually has them. They are a good age now, where they come out regularly and play along the back of the enclosure.

Not only mammals we have been successful with this year, but also our owls. Including 5 little owls, all of which have homes lined up already... in fact we currently only have 3 waiting to be collected, although we are keeping one of those... Little Dave. You can easily tell which one he is in the photo above... he is the cutest :-)

As well as animals born here, we have had a few rescues arrive that have needed a bit of attention. 2 badger cubs ended up here that were on death's door... stone cold, no sign of life and covered in fleas and ticks. No time to pass on to a rescue centre, we did what we could with little hope, but they survived the first night. Now, a couple of months on, they are both doing really well and look pretty healthy. Hopefully they will continue to go from strength to strength. 

Another rescue, a little weasel found up near Oxford. She arrived a few weeks ago after her mother had been hit by a car, whilst carrying her across the road! Magically this little one survived, and came to us for the extra care she needs while growing an weaning. We have named her Ginny (Weasley), and she will be joined by another weasel shortly who was rescued at a local Centre but is now too tame to release.

Lot's of other new arrivals and births, but you can keep up with all of those stories on our "Keeper's Blog"

Most of my photos this year have probably been taken on my phone, and after 3 years of working with Meg a couple of lapses led to a couple of selfies... still a way to go to match Meg's selfie skills though :-)

And perhaps my favourite photo of the year so far, and taken on my phone, this one of Albus's antlers...

This shows a red deer stag's antlers that have been cast over 5 years, and how they grow larger each year. 

Thanks for looking :-)