This time last year I was looking forward to my first proper holiday in years, planning, ironing to do the packing and last-minute checks to make sure I had remembered everything I needed for my week away up in the Highlands of Scotland at the start of the April. Also this time last year, I was sort of making plans for this spring holiday, and thinking where I would like to go and spend a week or two.
Unfortunately, these plans are having to put on hold until some major concerns with my dads health are resolved and we can feel assured he is on the road to a proper recovery and back to better health.
What I have decided instead this year is to do a small selection of day trips with a local coach tours operator….an odd day here and there. Already in the pipeline from next month I am looking at a visit to Longleat House & Safari Park, then through May, June and July hopefully Scenic Snowdonia & Portmerion, Swanage, Newport RSPB Wetlands Nature Reserve, Lake District & Ullswater Cruise. These are just a few places at the top of my list where I want to see local beauty spots, experience local delights and of course use my camera. In addition to these day trips I am also hoping to visit a few local places of beauty and interest on my days off work and at the weekends
I started off by visiting my favourite zoo last Monday (10th March). My first proper day off this year so far. And I thought a trip to Dudley Zoo was the ideal place, the weather was warm and sunny. It was one of those days to enjoy being out in the fresh air, and I was eager to see the changes the zoo have been making over the past year or so since my last visit.
I know for many people zoo’s are not an ideal place to go, I expect this may be because many people think it is wrong to keep wild animals in captivity. But I must say over the last 30 or so years, a great deal has changed. There are numerous breeding programmes going on around the world shared between many zoo’s which in short enables continued population of breeds of animals that were on the verge of becoming extinct, ironically because of man hunting them in their wild habitat.
If anything, in this day and age, especially at Dudley Zoo, the animals are well cared for, and they have a proven breeding programme for many species. I was delighted to see this by the recent birth of a Rothschild Giraffe who was born on 25th February and I am pleased to say, is thriving. In addition to this the zoo boasts two recently born/hand reared Homboldt penguins (Peruvian penguins) which is another species that has come close to extinction because of man and climate changes. The zoo do their very best to managing that line between the animals remaining wild, and having at times to intervene in order to preserve life.
Dudley zoo also has some unusual monkeys and baboons, in addition to some incredible Tigers, Asiatic lions and my personal favourite a pair of snow leopards.
And of course I must not forget to mention those adorable Meerkats, doing what Meerkats do best.
If I had to say what my favourite part of the day was, it was when I was visiting the Otters (Asiatic short clawed otters) I stood there for ages with my camera just taking photo after photo of them. I felt so calm and relaxed watching them at play. In fact I noticed several of them where juggling stones, throwing it from claw to claw…..just like a human would continually throw a ball or any object from hand to hand. They really are the most amazingly funny creatures to watch, and they were very obliging in front of the camera.
In the Lemur Woods, which is a massive enclosure that you can walk through and get right up to the Lemurs, I felt very privileged to be only a couple of feet away from them throughout the entire walk, and similarly there was an enclosure where you could walk through and Wallaby’s wandered freely.
All in all it was a great day out, and although I took in the region of 1906 photos, obviously I can’t show them all. However, below are a selection of my favourites, which I do hope you enjoy. Lemurs sunbathing, Otters juggling, Wallaby’s showing off, Meerkats standing guard, and penguins being crafty with the bucket of fish when they think the keeper isn’t looking.
Many thanks for stopping by, please feel free to leave a comment.