Saturday 20th November 2010
Another eventful week weather wise, again a sense of déjà vu. For the third time in as many weeks Muncaster was flooded due to heavy rain. It had happened the previous week on the Monday, and on the Thursday the week previous to that. This last flood appeared to be the worst of the lot. Not only was the main drive a river, but the wildlife pond overflowed, and burst it’s banks on to the neighbouring stretch of grass next to the play ground. The overflow drain, which is a pipe of around 2 feet in diameter wasn’t able to disperse the water quick enough. It was even overflowing next to the castle where it created another torrential cascade running down the side of the castle towards the cannon bank where the Herons get fed, where it undermined the low wall on the side of the Ghyll before crashing down the bank to the beck in the bottom. It would appear that this kind of weather is going to be a regular occurrence. The owls weathered the rain in that stoical way, typical of owls, and I’m happy to say there were no casualties.
On the owl side of things, a potential breeding pair of African Wood Owl who were resident in the Breeding Ground were moved up to the Quarantine, ready to be picked by keepers from Kirkleatham Owl Centre on Sunday. They are moving to pastures new. A move like that might possibly stimulate them to breed, something they haven’t managed to do while resident here.
We have a Northern Hawk Owl, also down the Breeding Ground which has a recurring eye problem, something which has just flared up again. It looks like spot of conjunctivitis, and may need treatment. We will monitor the situation for the next few days.
Both Andy and myself, accompanied by Sparky the Barn owl and Chocolate the Eagle Owl went to Ulverston Victoria High secondary school yesterday. We went at the behest of our trustee Graham Smith, who teaches there, amongst other things. Ulverston High were raising funds for worthy causes, and our appearance raised around £250 - for the World Owl Trust. Graham had also fetched his very own ‘Owl Ambassador’ in the form of ‘Orinoco’ the Barn Owl, who lives with Graham. Orinoco, being used to her own company, had never seen an Eagle Owl before, and used every opportunity to make her displeasure known by doing a threat display in Chocolate’s direction. The sixth form pupils at Ulverston High were very receptive to what we had to say, and made the day fly past, no doubt in part due to Graham’s long term influence, but overall, a credit to their school.
I will leave you with a few pictures of the castle front lawn, where in summer MTBs takes place, but where owls and birds of prey might at present prefer to ‘snorkel’.
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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.