Tuesday 7th October 2014
There’s been a dramatic change in the weather this week. I’m not complaining. I believe in the ‘right’ weather at the ‘right’ time. If it’s autumn, let’s have some autumn weather. If nothing else, it gets rid of all the Wasps which are still buzzing round the feed tables. I’m hoping we may have some proper frost this year. It’s a good thing from the animal husbandry perspective, as a good frost helps to reduce the worm, (nematode), burden in the soil. You get a build up in pastures as they are grazed over the summer months. A good frost wipes the slate clean. Last winter was very wild and stormy, but also very mild. Here’s hoping this winter will help reduce next year’s parasite burden.
We had to say a sad ‘goodbye’ to one of our characters this week. We had a male Oriental Bay Owl in the Owl Garden. He always used to sit out come rain or shine. Often, he would be completely soaked, refusing to go under cover. For his own good, we erected a Perspex cover over his favourite perch. He used that particular spot to the end of his days. It was this particular spot he liked rather than his perch, as he would always go back to it, even when the perch had been replaced.
I found him dead on Saturday morning. He hadn’t been dead long. Physically, he was in good condition. David the Collection Manager took him for a post-mortem, which revealed that he had suffered from internal bleeding due to a burst artery/blood vessel. He was also 19 years old, which is a good age for an Oriental Bay Owl.
On my travels to Barrow in Furness a couple of days ago, I was very fortunate to come across a flock of Eider Ducks swimming just off shore near Rampside. I mention this, because it was a spectacle to behold! There seemed to be hundreds of them; males and females very distinct. Apparently this flock, which reside on Walney, are geographically the most southern flock in the world.
Lastly, despite working here for the best part of 20 years, (on & off); there are still the odd surprises to be found here at Muncaster. I have included a few photos, taken by Terry Evison of something I have only just discovered, despite driving past them on a daily basis.
See you next week.
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The World Owl Trust is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA). The Trust relies on a dedicated membership, visitors, donations and legacies.