The British Wildlife Centre
have started a members’ lunch club this winter while they’ve been closed to the general public so I went along today for the last event before Christmas. I arrived at midday, along with twelve other members, for a tasty lunch, after which we were given free rein to explore the centre until 3pm. It was so lovely having the place to ourselves and the animals certainly seemed to appreciate the fact that there were no noisy children to disturb them.
I spent a long time in the walk-through red squirrel enclosure. There are around twenty squirrels in the large enclosure, including some kittens born there this year. Usually they’re quite hard to keep track of as they mount hit and run raids on the feeding stations and dash back up into the trees to eat. However, today they were much more confident and they were only too pleased to come and say hello. I lost count of the number of times I found a squirrel climbing up my legs and onto my shoulders and I ended up with quite a collection of squirrel pawprints on my camera’s lens hood. A couple of them even made a very close inspection of my camera bag in case it contained any food! As ever they were super speedy so it was a big challenge catching them on camera. However, my persistence paid off and (mostly thanks to my camera’s ability to shoot at stupidly high ISOs) and I caught two portraits that I was pretty pleased with.
Just as I was about to leave I spotted one of the foxes sitting quietly under the trees and I couldn’t resist capturing his intense stare on camera.... followed by the most enormous yawn! This handsome fellow is one of this year’s cubs and he’s been christened Kreacher by the centre’s keepers. I suspect one of the keepers has a thing about Harry Potter as one of his siblings has been named Dobby!
As for today’s ‘holiday colours’ theme I thought I might just be able to slip these photos in under the wire as all of these gorgeous animals are wearing festive red coats – I know I’m stretching the theme a bit but that’s not going to stop me!!