A Barn Owl at the show (C) Jason Ball
Nature at the Newbury Show 2008
By Jason Ball
An array of glorious wildlife caught the imagination of thousands of visitors to the Royal County of Berkshire Show in 2008. Find out more from nature expert Jason Ball below.
From otters to monitor lizards, wildlife inspired thousands of people this year (2008) at the Royal County of Berkshire Show, aka the Newbury Show.
Great weather on both days brought out a record number of visitors, and the sun was perfect for pond dipping with the tireless staff from the Pang, Kennet and Lambourn Valleys Countryside Project.
Newt tadpoles were a favourite. These were rather small and still had their gills, and will have to wait until next year to make the transformation into adult Smooth Newt.
The Newbury and District Beekeepers Association
A Barn Owl attracted attention to local conservation work achieved with the help of volunteers in each valley, working with farmers to help this vulnerable bird.
Children gleefully peered into a microscope to examine the bones of small mammals as eaten by wild Barn Owls. (Regurgitated with the fur as pellets!)
On the other side of the pond, otters basked in the sunshine. And in a shady enclosure, Wild Boar from the Bucklebury Farm Park. I was allowed to go in with them for a while. They were friendly and curious, like all pigs!
Bees are perhaps the hot topic deserving a platform this year, with such a disastrous season suffered by insects with huge importance to food and farming.
Glass-sided hives shown by Rushall Farm and at Newbury and Vale & Downland Beekeepers’ Associations did a great job of revealing the life of the honeybee.
A miraculously tame monitor lizard, meanwhile, captivated everyone outside the reptile tent.
As people stroked this gentle giant it just lay there peacefully, with a proud majesty. I was amazed to see this and the effect was fantastic – breaking down people's emotional barriers to the less cuddly of the animal kingdom.
With such educational experiences it's clear that the Berkshire Show plays an important role in promoting understanding of the countryside and wildlife.
Visit the links to find out more about some of the organisations involved:
last updated: 26/09/2008 at 11:16
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