This weeks blog is all about catching you all up on the past 3 weeks events at the park. It has has been quite a hectic few weeks and winter definitely feels like it is starting to arrive, with dark drives into work, the winds starting to pick up and blow leafs off the trees and I’m even considering starting to wear trousers!
First off is news of some hatchings.
On the 27th of September a Bartlett’s Dove chick was discovered in the nest. The chick was already quite large and probably a few days old before discovery. The chick is the 2nd this year and has recently fledged the nest and is under close supervision from mum. The family can be seen in the glass house that was formerly the Toucan/Temperate House.
We have also hatched a second Northern Helmeted Curassow on the 30th of September. As with the first chick earlier this year this chick was artificially incubated and is being hand reared as the parents have a track record of smashing eggs, as they did with another egg at the end of September. The youngster is currently in residence in our hospital room under heat.
Also in our hospital room are 2 Quail hatchlings. These emerged from a clutch of eggs donated a few weeks ago and are a domestic breed, possibly Italian or Japanese (or a cross of the two). These may end up in our Finch Aviary as we currently have nothing on the floor in there.
We are still getting a few eggs as well. Both pairs of Roul Roul Partridge are currently laying with the pair in the Glass House near the Snowy Owls currently sitting on 5 eggs, whilst the Discovery Zone pair have 3 eggs in the incubator (they keep breaking their eggs). Incubation is 18 days.
We also still have some species showing signs of nesting and displaying. Most notably is our pair of Humboldt Penguins Chloe & Milly. They have been excavating their previous nest box and a lot of twigs have been taken in. There is also a lot of aggression around the nest site. Chloe is the male who feature on Easter Eggs Live earlier this year and he (despite the girls name) is pairing with Milly after losing mate Myrtle earlier this year. It is late for the Humboldts to nest but the incubators are on ready.
The Grey Peacock Pheasant male continues to display and the Greater Flamingos are still vocal and look in prime breeding plumage. Of course this will all change as the weather starts to get colder.
In other news the Marabou Storks appear to be spending more time together, with the female following the male instead of running away.
The Western Plantain Eater has been moved in with the Northern Helmeted Curassow
The ‘female’ Siamese Fireback Pheasant has completed her morph into male plumage and is now a smaller replica of our male, complete with crest. We will be feather sexing her along with some of this years chicks in the next few weeks
Our male Madagascan Teal was found dead at the start of October. We await to hear the results of a PM before trying to source a new male for this endangered species.
We are now starting to shut some of the birds in at night. The Pelicans are going in as from tonight as the wind is a bit strong. So strong in fact that a part of our quarantine shed roof was blown off today but no damage done.
Wildlife wise migration is very much in action. The Swallows, Swifts and House Martins have now all departed and we have regular movement of Geese (mainly Canadian) passing over every day. I recorded my first ever Red Legged Partridge on site this week and 4 Buzzards were active over the park yesterday afternoon. Kingfisher continue to be active along the river.
This week I have spent time with both ends of the age scale. On Wednesday I spent the afternoon with Guiting Power Cheery Club, talking about Birdland, it’s history and what we do as keepers. Then yesterday we have had a Mother & Toddler group in with the aim to find out what we can do to attract more mums (& dads) with children. Both ranges of the age scale make up large amounts of our annual visitors so it is very important to find out what they expect and require when visiting us.
And finally, speaking of Dads, Madeleine Mary Keen hatched safely on September the 19th weighing in at 7lb 5 oz. Mum and baby are doing well and Maddy will be meeting some real Penguins very soon.
Thanks as always for reading