Week 13 – Egg-citing Times

Evening everyone
Just a quick update this week as we approach Easter, one of our busiest times of year both in terms of work and the number of guests.  If it is dry/sunny (!) then hopefully lots of people will come in to see the birds.
For the Keepers it means making sure everything is clean and tidy so we have been putting in fresh perching and substrates, scrubbing ponds and cleaning the labels and aviary frames.  We will also be doing lots of extra talks, so not only will we be talking about the penguins, but also about Flamingos & Pelicans, as well as Meet a Keeper every day for the next couple of weeks.  Chris, having recently attended a presenter training course, will be on hand around the Encounter Zone to show off eggs, feathers and skulls as well as a variety of animals including Owls, Snakes, Lizards, Guinea Pigs & Snails.
We also have an Easter Egg quiz trail around the park.  12 Easter Eggs have been placed around the park and where you find an egg, you will find the answer to the assigned question.  This years theme is eggs and nests with varying difficulty.  The quizzes are always fun to come up with and usually involve a bit of homework on our part!
The big news this week follows on from last weeks blog.  Having covered media coverage last Tuesday, Channel 4 contacted us on Wednesday about the possibility of installing a camera in our Humboldt Penguin nest box for a programme called Easter Eggs Live.  This series covers the hatching of eggs of many species.  Yesterday they came down and with help from Rob rigged up a camera with infra-red light so as not to disturb the birds.  This camera streams live to the programmes website and will hopefully be show on 2, hour long species over the weekend.  Fingers crossed that Chloe & Myrtles eggs hatch.
The Bartlett’s Bleeding Heart Pigeon egg has hatched with Mum sitting tightly on her fluffy yellow chick.
The Blacksmith Plovers are now up to 5 eggs
The Emerald Doves have abandoned their nest with one egg disappearing and the other egg being clear (infertile)
The remaining Black Necked Swan eggs were removed as mum had left the nest after the cygnet hatched.  The remaining 2 eggs had both been fertile but died during hatching.  The single Cygnet is doing well.
The female Yellow Shouldered Amazon has been seen in the nest box regularly
The Greater Flamingos are starting to come into breeding condition with lots of calls, display and colouring up around the face and neck
King Penguin Colin decided today to incubate thin air.  Hopes were raised briefly that he had an egg based on his stance and temperament but nothing doing.  Maclean & Lily  were seen mating on Friday
We have installed a new fountain in the Trout Pond. With Chris and Rob willing me to capsize I had to position the pump from our boat which is not the sturdiest of vessels!
The paving outside the cafe is nearly complete
The fish tank in the Discovery Zone is undergoing a renovation and should be up and running for the Bank Holiday with some new fish
A large male Bearded Dragon named Gizmo will be joining the Encounter Zone team this week
Have a great Easter folks, eat lots of chocolate and stay warm

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