It’s counting week at Pensthorpe Wildlife and Gardens, which means wardens are totting up the exotic birds and native species who call the reserve their home.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

It’s counting week at Pensthorpe Wildlife and Gardens, which means wardens are totting up the exotic birds and native species who call the reserve their home.

Of more than 800 birds at the reserve, there were 50 bearded tits, 12 avocets, 22 cranes and 25 pink flamingos – their bright colours visible against the dark water.

But not all the species are as easy to spot as the cranes or flamingos, with the birds spread out in the reserve’s many enclosures and aviaries.

The goldeneye duck are notorious for diving under water when they’ve been counted, popping up somewhere else to be counted again, and the dull-coloured females will often hide in the bushes.

Their habitat on the big lake is home to more than 400 birds and is the trickiest to tally, with wardens with clipboards and binoculars forming a line and waiting for the birds to swim past.

The task is carried out as part of the reserve’s zoo licence, which requires them to count all the birds and mammals held in captivity.

And the wild creatures don’t wait to be counted – it can sometimes take an hour or two to find an elusive bird hidden away in the reeds or in the corner of one of the aviaries.

Chrissie Kelley, head of species management, has been working at the reserve for 20 years. She said: “This is one of the most difficult jobs that the team of wardens have to do but is also a very interesting and exciting one which we all look forward to.

“It gives us a chance to get out there and see the birds to check they are all healthy and in good condition.”

The wardens wait until after feeding time, when all the birds are spread out and swimming peacefully before they tackle the difficult job.

Easier to spot are the exotic African marabou pair. Ms Kelley said: “People love them – they look like grumpy old men.”

But it’s Britain’s native species that have proven most exciting for wardens at Pensthorpe.

Their three pairs of red squirrels will produce litters of kittens in the spring, and some of the 28 endangered corncrakes will soon be ready for their new lives in the wild.

Ms Kelley said: “There can’t be a better job than this. When you are at work you don’t get much time to sit and look, to take a little bit of time on a beautiful January morning to go and count birds.”

0 comments

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Norfolk Weather

Rain

Rain

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 4°C

Five-day forecast

loading...

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT