Susan Shimeld's blog

Thursday, 19 January, 2023
Over the past 22 years at the cottage, we have converted our large garden into a wildlife haven. We have installed a number of bat and bird boxes. We have robin, blue tits, pied wagtails and rock doves, housemartins and wrens nesting with us each year.  Sadly we no longer see flycatchers and only one pair of swallows now return. The photo is of an eager chick waiting for his mum or dad to return with food.  I was concerned as he was so far out of his box he could easily have fallen or been predated.  Thankfully the cheeky chick did well and fledged along with his siblings...
Wednesday, 5 October, 2022
Barbastelles have beautiful long silky browny-black fur flecked with white tips.Iggy, is such a beautiful little thing! I never want any bat to suffer, but I love the opportunity I have been given today to finally see a Barbastelle, alive, and close up like this. I can't believe my luck. He is Adorable.He is doing really well and is a treasure to care for.  The photo is of Iggy fast asleep after having his lunch. 
Thursday, 15 September, 2022
I've been a voluntary Registered Bat Carer for the past 18yrs.  In the UK there are 18 species of bats, 17 of which breed here. Sadly all bat species have declined dramatically over the last 50yrs mainly due to habitat loss: trees, hedgerows, woodlands, cat attacks, destruction of roost sites, overuse of pesticides, and changes in agricultural practices.One of our rarer bats is the Barbastelle.  I've only ever seen them in books and had the surprise of my life when I opened a box containing a rescued bat and discovered I was meeting my first ever...
Saturday, 3 July, 2021
Since the beginning of May I have been busy with Brown long-eared and Pipistrelle bats.  Sadly in April/May when our bats were coming out of hibernation, the temperature each night was well below freezing.  Normally, emerging bats feed up on insects in preparation for their maternity roosts.  The continual freezing night-time temps. meant there were no insects - hence across the UK, our furry flying buddies have been found grounded, underweight, starving or injured (mainly cat attacked). So it's been a busy, and unfortunately, as some bats didn't make it, a ...
Saturday, 7 November, 2020
I have lived and worked at the Larmer Tree Gardens for 31 extremely happy years and feel privileged to have known, and been able to spend time with the late Michael Pitt Rivers: owner of the Larmer Tree Gardens and Rushmore Estate. During the 90's, both Michael and his partner, Mr. William Gronow Davis, very kindly commissioned me to produce a number of artworks.In 2005, I opened my Studio doors to folk visiting the gardens and it was lovely meeting so many different people from all walks of life, and from all corners of the world.Sadly though, Covid has taken its toll and this summer I...
Tuesday, 30 October, 2018
I did it.Just had an amazing evening meeting fellow artists.  The Dorset Art Prize organised by Bournemouth University attracted 100's of entrants from all aspects of the visual arts: sculptures, textiles, photography, digital, animation, ceramics, drawing, printmaking - with the presentation of awards at Poole Museum.  The final award of the evening, 1st Prize, £1,000 for the 19+ category winner.... and my name was called out..... I couldn't believe it.            
Wednesday, 17 October, 2018
It is looking good but, another late night tweaking text, uploading new artwork, transferring bits, so many photos .....do I keep or not keep? Hmmm.. dilemma. Thankfully am receiving help with it, but there is so much to learn when making a new website. Sure is a rigmarole but I'm almost there. 
Wednesday, 17 October, 2018
Great news.  I have been selected as a Finalist in an Arts Prize Award. 
Tuesday, 30 January, 2018
Making a stand against species extinctionSponsor an anti poaching dog plus other good wildlife causesIt's currently estimated that 55 elephants a day are killed for their ivory, that's one every 26 minutes. An average of three rhinos a day are killed for their horn. There are c. 23,000 lions left in the wild, down from 200,000 a century ago. There are c. 4,000 tigers left in the Indian sub-continent, down from 40,000 a half century ago.  Sketch for Survival is all about raising awareness of these shocking statistics, while also raising significant funds...
Tuesday, 30 January, 2018
It's almost that time of year again. Surveys and rescues.  Fingers crossed that our bats stay safe this year.  Please keep your cats indoors and if you see a bat in distress i.e outdoors during daylight hours, please contact a Bat Conservation Society.