Saturday 22nd October 2011
It’s the day before the Halloween week here at Muncaster. This will be the last week of the 2011 tourist season, and possibly one of the biggest events of the Muncaster year. This way we finish with a bang. Halloween has got bigger as the years have gone by, and now the Owls have become part of the fixture as well. We, (both Andy and myself), will be conducting ‘spooky owl tours’ at the centre every night from Sunday the 23rd of October up to and including Halloween. The centre has been rigged up with some suitably spooky lighting; both Andy and I have been issued with our ‘undertaker top hats’ which are part of our costumes. I’ve got to say it; I can’t resist it. It's going to be a hoot!’ This is only one of the happenings at Muncaster during that week. Darkest Muncaster will be happening, with the castle and the woods clad in atmospheric lights, as well as the always entertaining light display on the front of the castle. The Meadow Vole Maze is a must see event as well, but not for the faint hearted, as it is a genuinely scary experience. All in all, if you have not been to Muncaster before, this is the week I would recommend if you are planning a visit.
On the owl side of things, a few more youngsters have gone on to other collections this week. The Dark-breasted Barn Owl which went to the vet last week, alas didn’t make it back. It was an old bird, and had liver cancer with lots of secondary tumours. This is a condition birds are more susceptible to than mammals. It may be down to the fact that avian metabolisms are a lot faster than those of mammals.
I was feeding down the Breeding Ground this morning. I noticed lots of Red Admiral Butterflies sunning themselves on the ground. Each time I went near they flew up, only to settle back down again. They were all immaculate, no doubt this year’s youngsters getting prepared to overwinter in sheltered spots, and which, all being well, should be destined to become next summer’s ‘care worn’ adults. Life goes on.
I will leave you with a few pictures from last year’s Halloween, to give you an idea of what to expect should you wish to visit.
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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.