Saturday 21st May 2011
The owl collection continues to show hopeful signs of new life. Species such as the Mackinder’s Eagle Owls in the Breeding Ground are taking morning feeds; by this I mean both our potential breeding pairs, namely ‘Bruce and Nyala’ and ‘Bert and Betty’. They are both taking their morning feeds immediately as well as taking significant extra food during their afternoon feed. Yet another female Long-eared Owl in the Laybourne aviary in the Main Display has ‘gone down’, that is to say, has started incubating eggs.
I will be surprised if we have as many owlets as in previous years, as most clutches appear to be small. I do think we might match the amount of species we normally get. This may in part be due to the harsh cold winter we have just emerged from. Whatever the reasons, life goes on.
If you read this blog to catch up on Muncaster news as well as what may be happening at the Owl Centre, in contrast with the owls’ breeding season, the Lady of the Castle; Phyllida Gordon Duff Pennington passed away recently, and the funeral took place with a funeral cortege around Muncaster on Friday the 20th of May. The Castle and grounds had to be closed until 10am and had to close by 4pm in time for the memorial service. This meant we didn’t have time to do a proper clean, as we lined the road side on what is known as ‘Lowther Street’ by 9.15am so we could pay our due respect as Phyllida made her last rounds of her beloved Muncaster. One could almost believe the owls had sensed this solemn occasion, as the aviaries were spotless, and needed no cleaning at all. The grounds had been spruced up for the occasion. If Phyllida could see the estate, I’m sure she would have been very proud. Phyllida will be missed; she has been part of the fixtures and fittings for so long, it will be hard to imagine life at Muncaster without her.
An ‘honoury’ member of the keeping team passed away this week as well. If you have been a regular visitor to Muncaster in the past 10 years, you may remember a Border collie who was my faithful companion during that time. He passed away quite suddenly on Monday the 16th of May after a sudden illness. At least he didn’t suffer. He has now joined the many animals that have ended their days here at Muncaster in the pet cemetery.
Lastly I must mention the World Owl Trust charity concert which takes place on the 30th of May on the Bank Holiday. We still have some tickets left. If you don't already know, it will be headlining ex Lindisfarne frontman Billy Mitchell and his band comprising some of his friends from his Lindisfarne days, as well as a fine act from Carlisle; the Olly Alcock Band. The crack from both bands will be top notch. For further details click here and to order tickets online click here
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|World Owl Trust
Registered Charity Number: 1107529
Limited Company Number: 5296745
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.