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Harvest mice arrive early in Gloucestershire

The mild winter has led to some early arrivals in Gloucestershire.

A litter of seven harvest mice was born at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust near Slimbridge earlier this month.

The mice, which are the smallest species of British rodent, are part of the Back From The Brink collection at WWT Slimbridge, which highlights wetland mammals that have been threatened with extinction in the wild.

As the winter has been quite a warm one, they have arrived earlier than expected - normally we wouldn't expect to see them until at least February.

They are growing quickly but even as a fully grown adult they are very small. Visitors enjoy spotting them in their exhibit at Back From The Brink.

They can use their tails to grab branches so they look very acrobatic when they move around.

– John Crooks, Mammal Manager at WWT Slimbridge

Little mouse facts:

  • At birth harvest mice are the size of a baked bean
  • At around a month old baby mice have grown to half their adult size
  • When fully gown Harvest mice are still only 7cm long and weight the same as a 2p coin

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Dramatic timelapse video of River Severn surge

Staff at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge say the water levels on the Severn Estuary has risen to the highest level any staff and volunteers can remember since 1982.

The unusually high tide expanded the width of the Severn Estuary considerably ,with waters reaching out an extra half-mile right up to the bank that defends WWT’s buildings and waterfowl gardens against extreme events.

The drama was captured in this timelapse video as the water approached.

Gull cull at Slimbridge

Around ten gulls a year can be shot at Slimbridge.

The Wildfowl and Wetland Trust has revealed it's to cull gulls at its centre in Gloucestershire.

English Nature has granted licences which allow the shooting of around ten gulls a year at Slimbridge to protect its rare birds.

It says it only does it as a last resort and other tactics usually work.

The flamingo that thinks he's a swan

The 52-year-old Andean flamingo began floating when temperatures first soared a few weeks ago. Credit: WWT Slimbridge

A flamingo in Gloucestershire has shunned standing on one leg for floating in water in an effort to cool down.

Experts at Slimbridge Wetland Centre say they have never witnessed the "unusual" behaviour before.

The 52-year-old Andean flamingo began floating when temperatures first soared a few weeks ago.

He now regularly indulges in a mid-afternoon float, with his legs outstretched behind him.

Paul Rose, a flamingo expert at WWT Slimbridge, said: "Lots of flamingos go for a quick paddle around but I've never seen anything like this.

“I first noticed the unusual behaviour as the weather warmed up a few weeks ago so I think it is his way of keeping cool in the heat of the day.

“He floats with his legs outstretched behind him for long periods of time.

“I think it is his way of relaxing, as he seems very content. It is presumably the equivalent to a human floating in a swimming pool on a lilo.”

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Kingfishers sparking interest at Slimbridge

A pair of kingfishers are generating plenty of interest at Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire. The birds have set up home in a manmade bank in full view of the hide.

It's been packed with birdwatchers and photographers hoping to get that perfect shot. David Lay, from the centre says it's a positive sign for a species that's suffered badly over the last few years.

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