THE Scottish wildcat lies in the shadows, hugging the ground and blending in with the dry grass and dead leaves.
A few feet away its prey emerges cautiously from a burrow; nose twitching, eyes adapting to the dawn light.
In a flash of striped green-grey fur the wildcat seizes the rabbit, sharp incisors piercing its carotid artery and stilling its struggles.
Keeping in the shadows, the wildcat effortlessly drags the carcass away to its den where five hungry kittens are waiting.
On Tuesday, January 20 you’ll be treated many more dramatic descriptions and images of the habits of the Scottish wildcat when Nick Shelley from the Berkshire College of Agriculture gives a talk at Great Missenden Memorial Centre.
A pair of captive Scottish wildcats is helping scientists at the college discover their secrets and find ways of saving these elusive creatures from extinction. Come and hear Nick talking about this project on Tuesday at 7.45pm.
We’ll be on more familiar ground for the meeting on 20 February, when Barry Oxley, who was closely involved in the creation of the RSPB wetland site at Otmoor in Oxfordshire, describes the reserve’s history, present role and the future for this very special site.
Wrap up warm for the meeting on March 20, when a display of Ross MacKenzie’s superb photographs of the Arctic and Antarctic will illustrate his talk about recent visits to these frozen wildernesses.
All the BBOWT Chilterns Group talks are open to the public, whether members of the Wildlife Trust or not. Talks start at 7.45pm, admission is £3 including refreshments.
If you’re looking for fresh air and exercise this month and would like to learn about birds, join volunteers on a Bird ID walk at Tring Reservoirs on Saturday, January 17 starting at 10.30am. Sign up to easy-going ‘taster days’ for people who are new to conservation work at BBOWT’s Aston Clinton Ragpits Reserve on Saturday, January 31 starting at 10am.
Details of these events and many others at College Lake, which has a visitor centre and café open every day, are on www. bbowt.org.uk/whats-on or phone 01442 826774.