Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Harvest Mouse and Sleeping Otters

On Sunday, the day after Jo and Ian's wedding, several of us decided to visit Slimbridge Wetlands Centre. The naturalist Sir Peter Scott (son of Scott of the Antarctic!), who founded Slimbridge, was a childhood hero of mine and when I belonged to the Panda Club of the World Wildlife Fund, he came to speak to us once and I was very starstruck. He was wearing bright red socks, which was a bit of a surprise in the formal early Sixties!

Slimbridge is a wonderful place, with zillions of different birds, and you can buy corn and feed some of them. This pleased me as I love feeding birds - - and animals - - and people - - well, anything that eats, really! Here is Stephen feeding a duck:

But an unexpected delight was a poolfull of otters. Their den had a glass window so you could see in, but they didn't know! (I appreciate that there may be an issue of Otter Rights here). I've never seen an otter before, except on the television, and it was wonderful to be so close to them. I also liked the sign:

Perhaps most unusual of all, there was this: (and thanks to Stephen who took the photo)

It's a harvest mouse - Britain's smallest rodent - they had a big vivarium full of them, all climbing on corn and eating berries and generally doing harvest-mousy things. I've never seen a harvest mouse before and couldn't believe how tiny they were - the blackberries in the photo weren't particularly large ones and the mouse really is as small as it looks!

It was a Grand Day Out to make a Grand Weekend of it and many thanks to Gareth and Jo's parents Val and Les for inviting us for lunch afterwards, too.


Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

Were otter and harvest mouse on the lunch menu by any chance?...Peter Scott's dad was one of my heroes. Reading his diaries at the age of twelve was an enormous thrill for me - adventure, courage, the harshness of the elements, fraternity, British stoicism. My imagination was truly stirred.

11:37 pm  
Anonymous David said...

Earlier today, on a packet of strong tea bags, I was reading Scott of the Antarctic's letter to a firm offering to supply his expedition with their tea. It ended "Thanking you for your patriotic support, I am Yours Faithfully R.Scott, Captain R.N." If the tea in the teabags are indeed a recreation of the original tea, Scott certainly needed the British stoicism you you so admired, Master Pudding.

12:29 am  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

David - I didn't think ALDI existed in those days.

1:31 am  
Blogger Katherine said...

Lovely post... I don't know what it is, but that dry sense of humour (the Shhhh sign) is something that delights me in England, but is hardly to be seen in NZ.
I remember at the wonderful Cholderton Rare Breeds Farm there was a sign on the rabbit hutch that read 'Beware of the Rabbit'.
Must be time for another top-up trip.

2:07 am  
Blogger Silverback said...

Lovely photos and memories, Daphne.

I've not seen much wildlife so that harvest mouse would've delighted me too. It always amazes me how they can drive those big combine harvesters though as their little legs can't possibly reach the pedals !

Ahhhh the mysteries of the how cows can poop perfectly round pats ?

12:41 pm  

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