Shorelands, August 2016

Watching Birds Group August 2016

As August is not usually the best month for birdwatching we decided to try something else this month. We went to Shorelands near Dickleburgh. This is a small private zoo where Ben, the owner and his wife Sarah look after many birds and other animals that are either unwanted by large zoos or rescued in some way, such as the large flock of White Storks from Poland that have been injured by flying into telegraph wires. Many different species can be seen and many of them roam freely in the gardens. They are only caged when it is absolutely necessary.

Many of the rarer species at Shorelands are manged as part of European co‐ordinated breeding programmes. Native species are conserved in co‐operation with landowners and conservation charities.

We were disappointed that Ben was unable to give us his promised talk but Sarah made a very good job of standing in for him. She explained that they opened the gardens to the public and set up a tea room, gallery and shop to help to fund what they do for conservation. They earn no money from the animal and bird side of the business. Money never changes hands between the various organisations. Sarah explained that when they went to Poland to pick up the White Storks they had to fund the journey themselves and this is normal procedure.

It is interesting to know that zoos and wildlife centres do not buy and sell animals because this would affect what animals are rescued and it might be that only the more lucrative animals benefited.

In spite of it being a rather cold and dull morning we all enjoyed the visit and, hopefully, learned something too.

Ann Sear