Thursday, 28 October 2010

A hectic last week before the Park closes for the winter season!

Two in frayed rope

It’s been a busy, bustling, bonkers week – so much going on! We’re getting ready to close the Park to the public this coming Sunday 31st October but at the same time there’s lots happening.

As you know, we’re in the midst of the excitement of winning ‘Gold’ in the Beautiful South Awards for ‘Best Tourism Experience in the South East of England in 2010’; in amongst the resultant flurry of activity this week has brought other happenings:

Lorraine was invited to meet the MP for Tourism, Mr John Penrose; we have had evenings out with other Island Tourism and Wildlife businesses; one of our Crowned Cranes needed a trip to the vet which was quite a transportation challenge; I collected new deluxe glass tank accommodation for our Harvest Mice; and today Lorraine and I are off to visit Ashley, director of the Hawk Conservancy, for a long-overdue meeting! I’ll take my camera along and hopefully be able to snap an image or two whilst we’re there.

On Monday 1st November it’s the date for judging our ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition’ – we’ve had a record number of entries this year – and what incredible quality!! It’s going to be a tough call!

Early next week I hope to be able to Blog the results of our Breast Cancer and RSPCA fundraising, and hope to have photos and details of our last ‘Keeper for a Day’ for the Season – if Tara can snap some pics today!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Seaview Wildlife Encounter voted ' Best Tourism Experience of the Year 2010'

What a Year, What a night,
What an Award!!

Seaview Wildlife Encounter wins the highest accolade!
The Park has been awarded Gold in the category ' Best Tourism Experience of the Year 2010 ' at the Beautiful South Awards for Excellence held at Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey on Thursday 21st October, 2010.

The annual awards, organised by Tourism South East, are now in their 20th year and recognise exceptional levels of customer service and dedication to raising standards in the tourism industry. A record number of entries to the prestigious awards led to an impressive short list with winners announced by guest host Nicholas Owen and Tourism South East Chairman, John Williams.

' We offer our congratulations to all of the winners' said Mike Bedingfield, Chief Executive of Tourism South East. ' Our industry's commitment to providing the best possible customer service and exceeding customer expectations is outstanding. The Award Winners have shown that they are best-in-class and we look forward to seeing them on the national stage at the Enjoy England Awards for Excellence in April.

Park Director Lorraine Adams said ' We are so thrilled to have been short listed for a second year in a row and to win Gold is fantastic. This could not have been achieved without a strong cohesive team who have worked extremely hard in achieving and maintaining high standards across all sectors of the business. The Park is going from strength to strength and what a positive lead in to our 40th anniversary year in 2011 - this is the icing on the cake of a fantastic business year!'

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Quotes of the Week at Seaview Wildlife

" Came here in May and now back again - my son loves it and so do I!!! Alex, Marcus & Rhys. West Midlands

Sue, Bill, Maureen, Pete Ryde, IOW

" 10 out of 10 fantastic well designed and kept Park. To see all the birds and animals up close made the visit"
Smith Family, Southampton

" A little Paradise" Ireland " Best day yet"
John & Sue, Surrey

Wildlife Watch group visit the meadow

The Isle of Wight and Hampshire Wildlife Trust are responsible for the conservation of much of the Wildlife found in the South East. Therefore raising awareness of conservation issues and educating the public is essential in order for the Wildlife Trust to continue their valuable work.

Kathy Grogan, Education Officer for the Island’s Wildlife Trust has introduced a fun and interactive ‘Wildlife Watch Group’ for youngsters and their parents to explore some of natures hidden wonders on the Island.

As recent investors to the Wildlife Trust, Seaview Wildlife offered to host a Watch Group at no better location than in the ‘Meadow’ located on the grounds of the park. Education Officer, Tara, also joined Kathy and her keen Wildlife enthusiasts to explore just some of Wildlife that exists in this hidden wildlife haven.

Well the exploration began with a good start, spotting a Red Squirrel collecting acorns before we even stepped foot on the meadow, unfortunately he was a little too quick to capture a photo!


However I did manage to capture this Red Admiral, very well spotted by one of our young watch members, camouflaged against the autumn leaves.

In order to spot some of the more elusive creatures that may inhabit the meadow, Kathy and a colleague placed 10 humane mammal traps the evening before in various locations of the meadow, as we all know some creatures prefer to come out at night…


The traps are filled with straw and food to entice the little critters in. Although it looked like our Red Squirrel got there first and cunningly ate the food, luckily without getting caught itself! However we had better luck the next time and as Kathy carefully emptied the contents of the trap into a clear bag out popped a Wood Mouse….



And this wasn’t he only one, we found two more of these little fury creatures in two more locations of the meadow. After everyone had had a closer look, he was carefully released.


The last trap was placed on the banks of the salty lagoon located at the lower end of the meadow and this time it wasn’t a Wood Mouse that had found a cosy bed for the night , but a Bank Vole!


Now that all the traps had been checked it was time to try a different method for Wildlife spotting….tree bashing! This is a very simple method great for discovering all those creepy crawlies that may live in the trees in your garden, all you need is a white sheet!

Whilst Kathy shook the branches of the Oak tree, our Tyler and Martha used a white net to capture anything that fell….

P1060047 P1060049 P1060050

Just from one tree we identified lots of interesting creepy crawlies, including a Garden Spider, Hover fly, Seven Spotted Lady bird, a Shielded Bug and even a Millipede!

Another survey method commonly used is net sweeping. Just as the name suggests, Tyler ‘sweeps’ the net over the tall grass of the meadow. Lots more insects were discovered including beetles, spiders and a small caterpillar!

P1060066 P1060070 P1060058

Due to the time of year however, the vegetation dies down and is not so attractive to insects such as Crickets, which would most certainly be abundant here in the summer when the grass is tall and the Daisies are blooming…

A little birdy also told me that Grass Snakes have also been spotted here in the past, although I didn’t tell Tyler, Martha and Kieran that!!!


So now that we had collected and identified lots of different wildlife species it was time to release them back to where they belong! The methods used today to survey the wildlife in the meadow couldn’t be easier and you really don’t need lots of equipment ….

So why don’t you give it a try and see what you can find in your own back garden, you may be surprised! Alternatively if you would like to get involved with the ‘Watch Group’ then please visit the Isle of Wight and Hampshire Wildlife Trust website .

Until then we look forward to surveying the meadow in all it’s glory next spring to see what other mysterious creatures we can find!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010


RSPCA logo

Isle of Wight Branch Reg. Charity No. 205311

RSPCA image

Seaview Wildlife Encounter will be hoping to raise much-needed funds for the Isle of Wight’s RSPCA this coming half term week. Please visit the Park and support this worthwhile and needy cause – you could really make a real difference in the lives of rescued animals – no matter how much or how little you can spare!

Did you know that the RSPCA on the Isle of Wight is an independent Animal Charity that relies entirely on the generosity of the local community and is not funded by the bigger RSPCA offices on the mainland? All monies donated to the Island RSPCA are used solely for the benefit of Island animals – their care and support – including a diverse range of wildlife.


Visit Seaview Wildlife Encounter any day from Saturday 23rd – Sunday 31st October. We’ll be dedicating our ‘wishing well’ to RSPCA collections for the week as well as having extra RSPCA collection boxes located around the Park. You can enter our special fundraising raffle-ticket competition – “BE A KEEPER FOR A DAY” – the winning ticket will be drawn on Monday 1st November and the winner can choose a springtime date to enjoy this dream prize! On Friday and Saturday (29th & 30th October) we’ll have special face-painting fun for children. So come on down (we close on 31st October until 2nd April next year) - this is your chance to make a difference before we close for winter!


We discovered a Common/European Toad (Bufo bufo) in the Meerkat enclosure this morning and decided to rescue her in case the Meerkats decided she might make a tasty snack!

Toad outside Meerkat encl (resized)

We decided she must be a female because females are the larger of the sexes, growing to around 13cm (she was about that size) whereas adult males measure only about 8cm. Although an amphibian, Toads spend most of their time on land – which explains why she was away from water in the sandy Meerkat enclosure! This female Toad is likely to go looking for a pond or other still water to lay her eggs (toad-spawn) in the spring, when she is will attempt to return to the water in which she was born! ‘Toad-spawn’ can be distinguished from frog-spawn because it forms strings rather than a large mass of eggs. ‘Toadpoles’ have a larger, rounder, blacker head and shorter tail than frog tadpoles.

Toad found Meerkat encl (resized)

Toads generally hunt at night, and are most active in wet weather. As a defence against predators they secrete a toxic, foul tasting substance called bufagin; this deters most predators (although grass snakes and hedgehogs seem not to be affected by it).

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Our Robin at the Park’s Reception kiosk

Robin on wall at Reception (resized)

Robins (Erithacus rubecula) are one of the only UK birds that sing right throughout the winter. This is because they hold their territories all year round, defending against intruders with their song. Males often defend the same territory (such as a garden) throughout their lives, and they have been known to attack a bundle of red feathers or their own reflection – if they mistake it for another Robin! Their melodious voices, along with their perky little attitudes, have endeared them to the British public, and since 1960 they have been awarded the status of “The United Kingdom’s national bird”.

Robin with mealworm in beak (resized)

We have our own little character who has been visiting the Park’s reception kiosk throughout the summer. Julie at Reception has nurtured a friendship with ‘Rocking Robin’ and regularly feeds him biscuit crumbs. This morning he’d already had his biscuit breakfast so I tempted him back with a couple of mealworms so that we could share his beauty with you, our friends and regular followers of the Blog. I’m sure you won’t forget to feed the Robin and other birds in your garden – especially now that the temperatures are dropping and the nights are drawing in.

Robin blurred in flight (resized)

“Rocking Robin” pictured in flight just as he was landing on the wall outside our Reception Kiosk this morning

Friday, 15 October 2010

Seaview Wildlife named as a finalist in the Beautiful South Awards for Excellence 2010

For a second year running Seaview Wildlife has been named as a finalist in the Beautiful South Awards for Excellence 2010 in the category ' Best Visitor Experience'.

These prestigious awards are organised by Tourism South East and celebrate the outstanding tourism businesses and products on offer throughout the whole of Sussex, Kent, Surrey, Hampshire, Isle Of Wight, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire.

The winners will be announced at a gala dinner held at Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey on 21st October, hosted by Nicolas Owen and featuring entertainment from Tenors Limited - " The Rat Pack of Opera".

Park Director, Lorraine Adams commented " We are delighted to have reached the finalist stages of the awards for the second year in a row. Ours is an extremely competitive industry and it is a real honour that our business has been shortlisted by the judges as potentially the best in the South East of England. We are looking forward to celebrating the industry's achievements on the night and have our fingers firmly crossed that this time we will be bringing home the gold"

More than a dozens worth?


If you remember a few weeks ago we surprised Graham, our handsome Cockerel, by P1050944rescuing three retired battery Hens to enjoy freedom at last!

Well they certainly have been busy….One proud hen in particular has made herself a very cosy nest amongst our hay bales in pets corner and just keeps laying!!

Whilst the Hen is busy counting her precious eggs, the otters are counting the minutes it takes to indulge in these free range treats!


And its not only the Otters that love an egg every now and then but they also provide a very tasty treat for our Meerkats too!


And by the look of things these two greedy boys wasted no time in tucking in!

The only question our young female asks is... how do I get in???


Wootton Primary re-visited

P1050903 With half term week coming up, the pupils of Wootton Primary were given the opportunity to choose a special activity of their choice.

Having visited the Primary school at the beginning of the year we were given the privilege of being asked to re- visit a small class of pupils in Year 1.

Of course Colin and Cassandra, the Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches, jumped at the chance to go along with Tara, Education Officer and Animal Keeper Fern.

And no sooner had we got there the pupils were just as pleased to see them!


Priscilla, our female Bearded Dragon, also enjoyed lapping up the attention……


And Cornelius, Our Corn Snake, was very well behaved, despite the little present he had left for us in his tank!

If you would like more information about educational activities that we offer at Seaview Wildlife then please visit our educational page on our website or email Tara directly on

Ten Penguins are re-homed!

Today was the day that Adrian, Senior Keeper from Wingham Wildlife Park, collected ten Humboldt Penguins previously bred here at the park, to be re-homed at the wildlife park situated in Kent. P1050893


The Penguins chosen to be re-homed at Wingham Wildlife Park were carefully selected by Head Keeper Craig, with an equal ratio of male and females including a couple of newly paired up penguins in the hope that they will eventually breed.

Before the penguins could be boxed up however, it was important that we ensured that the correct penguins were chosen and that Adrian didn’t accidently slip our well loved Dippy in the back of the van! Luckily each Penguin has its very own micro-chip id which can be detected using a high tech micro-chip scanner making it a quick and effective method to identify individuals.

Once we said our goodbyes each penguin was placed in a spacious, comfy and secure box ready for the journey to their new home….

We will keep you posted on how they all settle in!


Saturday, 9 October 2010

Quotes of the week from our Visitors Book

" Wow! What a great time - we fed & stroked nearly everything we could. Brilliant!! Louise & Lee, Eastbourne.

" Beautiful place! Really relaxing, animals all look happy and healthy!" Kev & Beck, Bideford, N. Devon

" Great place second visit!" Julie, Andrew, Matthew, Leeds

" 2nd visit for all of us - just had to come back" Elizabeth & David, Newbury

" Great landscaping, friendly staff - the best Wildlife Park - especially feeding the animals! " Rosemary, Enfield."

" Back again - 26th year of visiting and still returning!" Catherine, IOW

Thursday, 7 October 2010


We are proud to be one of the most successful breeders of Humboldt Penguins in Europe. Since we introduced Humboldt Penguins to our Collection in 1997 we have been involved in an international breeding programme resulting in our supplying a number of European wildlife parks and zoos. Moving healthy stock though to other Collections ensures ongoing genetic diversity and strengthens captive bloodlines.

Next week we’re pleased to be re-homing ten of our Penguins to Wingham Wildlife Park, Kent. As Wingham haven’t had Humboldt Penguin’s in their Collection before (and apparently there are currently no others in the county of Kent), one of their senior Keepers is due to spend a day with us prior to the birds’ departure – to be ‘shown the ropes’ in terms of their husbandry and care. We look forward to welcoming the Wingham representative/s to Seaview Wildlife and trust that they will enjoy their new charges as much as we always have.

Here is a small collage with just a few of our special Humboldt Penguin moments over the last few months:

Barrow load of trouble P1020866 baby penguin in palm of hand Penguin chick with fat belly DSC_0215

dsc0213.JPGTara & penguin chick

Dippy on ice (resized)

Wednesday, 6 October 2010



We were very pleased to welcome Lee today from The Tourism Network – whose remit was to shoot a video of the Park ready to present at the Beautiful South award ceremony on 21st October – Gala dinner.  Last year we were proud to win the Silver Award in the category ‘Best Visitor Attraction in the south east of England’.  This year we’ve entered the same category and are extremely excited at having been shortlisted once again! 

We walked around the Park together and fortunately the weather brightened with every moment!  Lee had planned to spend an hour on the shoot but ended up spending nearly three and a half hours with us!  It was great fun!  Lee said he has taken videos at hundreds of wildlife parks and tourist attractions and, in his opinion rates Seaview Wildlife Encounter up there with the very best!  Thanks Lee – and we look forward to seeing you again at the gala awards dinner on the 21st!

I took a few photos as we went – as a memento of the day!


Lee with Penguin waterfall backdrop

Dippy, Jane & kids Oct 10

We started off at the Penguin Pool – the image on the right shows Lee with his video camera rolling ….

The image on the left is our Darling Dippy having a waddle around with two lovely youngsters who kindly obliged us with some photos this morning!  Left of the image is Lily, then Mum Jane, and on the right is Zach (Zach’s Mum, Melissa is just out of view!)  It goes without saying that Dippy enjoyed being the centre of attention and is seen here stretching his flippers out in a typical relaxed pose for the camera!

Zach & young Albino Wallaby (resized)



Dippy & the kids


On the left: Lily and Zach get even closer to Dippy.


On the right: young Zach took a real shine to one of the Albino Wallabies youngsters!





Fern & Zach feeding Wallabies 2 (resized)

Zach, Fern & Mr Fluffy 2 (resized)

Left: Fern, one of our Animal Care Team, was great with the kids and allowed Zach to really indulge his interest in the gentle Wallaby mob!


Right: Fern holds Mr Fluffy for the rather handsome Zach



Zach feeding Wallbies 4 (resized)




Lily feeding Wallabies

Zach (left) was completely enthralled by the Wallabies!



Lily (right) took the opportunity to skip and jump around with one of the larger Wallabies!



Mums & kids feeding at lower lake 2 (resized)




Below: Lee and Boris the Moluccan Cockatoo eyeing each other out !!

Lee first noticing Borris (resized)




Above: Mums and kids feeding the wildfowl down at the lower lake.


Damian being a videographer (resized)





Left: Damian is one of a pair of Green-Crested Touracos that free-fly in our Tropical House.  He’s inquisitive, cheeky and very forward!  Lee took some footage of Damian on my head and I captured a couple of shots of Damian checking out Lee’s video equipment!