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Friday 19th December, 2014

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Wulf’s Blog


Tuesday December 18th 2012

We’ve had quite an eventful week on several fronts. We caught up all the birds in the Laybourne aviary. This is the big multi species exhibit in the Main Display. This particular aviary houses all the ‘undisputed’ indigenous species of owls that live in the British Isles; White-breasted Barn Owls, Long-eared Owls, Short-eared Owls, Little Owls, and one Tawny Owl. We used to have a breeding pair of Tawny Owls in there, but we had to split this pair up, as they were getting very territorial and started to attack our Long-eared Owls. The end result was that the Laybourne has now become something of a Long-eared Owl ‘factory’, a veritable Long-eared Owl production line. It’s always quite hard to keep tabs on what is happening in there, making it necessary to catch them up once yearly, to give each individual a health check, and do a head count of the new youngsters. I’m happy to say that this year we managed to breed 6 Long-eared Owls. They have been moved to the quarantine unit, where they will be feather-sexed and micro chipped.

We’ve had a few other bird ‘movements’ as well, albeit not any of our owls. We’ve had a small flock of Waxwings in the grounds of Muncaster. I have included some photos of them, all taken by Barbara Powell. Waxwings are very distinctive, with their head crest, and once seen, never forgotten. They aren’t shy birds either, allowing you to get a close look at them. They are winter visitors in this part of the world, having flown over from Scandinavia. We’ve been seeing them all week, stripping the Yew tree near the dairy of its berries. It was only a small flock; four in total.

Last but not least, weather-wise we’ve had just about everything the British winter can throw at us. We’ve had hard frosts, storm force winds, as well as heavy rain, which was convenient for our ‘semi permanent’ water features which are dotted around the grounds, as they were in danger of drying up. Needless to say, they are now nicely topped up!

All being well, I will be sending the next update on or after the 27th of December. In the meantime, I wish you all Yuletide Greetings.


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A Waxwing in the grounds at Muncaster a Winter visitor from Scandanavia
A Waxwing in the grounds at Muncaster a Winter visitor from Scandanavia Picture courtesy Barbara Powell
A Waxwing in a Yew tree in the grounds at Muncaster
A Waxwing in a Yew tree in the grounds at Muncaster Picture courtesy Barbara Powell
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