Wild­cat ways

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - LIFE & LEISURE -

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.

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