Thursday, 24 September 2009

Wings and Things

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Sports Mama



When Harry and I recently went to stay with our daughter on the east coast, she took us for an outing to Colchester Zoo. This was a very big zoo and was divided into different sections for example Africa and Australia etc. There they had very big animals in very large compounds and they all seemed very happy and well cared for. In fact, some of the compounds were so big that we had a job to find the animals.
We really did enjoy that visit very much and would definitely recommend anyone going there.



Funnily enough, when we arrived back home, my son asked us a few days later if we'd like to go to Bristol Zoo with him and the girls.
When I was young, I can remember going to this zoo and finding large animals in small cages and it did seem quite cruel and I can remember that the polar bears had to be put down because they went mad in their tiny environment.



Anyway, I am pleased to report that there are now hardly any large animals in that zoo and the ones we saw were very happy in their environment. The zoo seems to now specialize in small animals, insects and fish. With some animals there are walkthrough compounds of fairly large and natural looking surroundings.
The highlight for me was walking through a forest of small parrots. The girls each clutched a small cup of food for the birds (bought from a stall as we were about to go in). This looked like some kind of nectar. Well when they saw the parrots racing over to get their meal, the girls chickened out and gave their cups to me and before I knew what was happening, I had an armful of small parrots waiting to take the nectar and several sitting on my shoulder. I was hoping none would poop on my light coloured jacket and I was lucky on that occasion as none did. However another lady was not so lucky and had her face and hair covered in bird's mess.

Equally enjoyable was the walk through the heated butterfly enclosure and I was able to snap some unusual species and watch them going onto the small tables of nectar and the colourful flowers that were provided for them.

I even walked through the compound where the bats were sunning themselves in the Autumn sunshine. ( Yes we are beginning Autumn now.) I didn't mind the thought of bats flying around me as they weren't vampires. They were quite large though, measuring around a foot in length and a couple of feet or more from one wing tip to another.
It is so much better to see these animals and insects in a small zoo rather than the larger caged animals of yesteryear. I was very impressed with both visits to very different zoos on the east and the west coasts.






Photostory Friday is hosted by Cecily. For more stories with photos, why not click the link.

36 comments:

The Things We Carried said...

I must admit when I visit a zoo and see all the large animals caged, confined, stuck, it makes me sad too. I am glad zoos are getting better about the treatment of animals.

The birds are lovely! How fun this sounds.

Bats scare me to death! Irrational, I know!

Eddie Bluelights said...

Great and interesting day at the zoo - brings back memories for me but ages and ages since I went to one - enjoyed this very much and the photos are excellent ~ Eddie

VioletSky said...

It has been so long since I was last at a zoo. It is good to hear of the success stories. Youmanaged to get some great photos.

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

Maggie, those birds are so colorful and sweet looking. I think you must be much braver than me. I don't think I would be keen on walking through the big bat exhibit. I can do spiders and snakes, but no thanks on the rats and bats. Vampires or not. Spooky.

latree said...

I also think putting an animal in a small cage is cruel. good think they give them larger spaces.. love the bird pictures.

SandyCarlson said...

That looks like a very nice environment for those animals. There's a zoo near here in which the animals seem to be trophies, captives. Even the wolf lives in a box the size of a parking space, and that space is paved!

These are lovely.

Emily said...

A small animal zoo sounds nice. I always feel bad for the big animals caged in there. And those are beautiful birds!

Hilary said...

Oh I love Lorikeets! They're lovely and tame. Our Toronto zoo has them too.. same deal with the nectar. Beauties, aren't they? And Bats are cool. I'm glad to hear that they animal had suitable enclosures. I have a hard time knowing animals are locked up in small spaces. Great photos.

Chris said...

I agree, zoos do a much better job these days.

Maggie's garden said...

The butterfly is magnificent! The bats...uhhh...not so much! =)

Golightly said...

Wow, those bats are wild! (no pun intended...) I haven't seen bats in zoos lately. Beautiful birds in the first shots.

Valerie said...

I included zoos as one of my hates, basically because I can't bear to see animals caged. It seems from your description that things have improved. Loved the pictures, Maggie, especially those of the birds. I love birds.

Raise Them Up said...

Great Pictures! I'm glad zoos are doing a better job.

aims said...

The birds are beautiful and so is the butterfly. Bats - well - um.....

Hayley @ When I Grow UP said...

I love love love the zoo, and your description of it was super to read! I remember the zoos of days-gone-by, and I am happy to report that our local zoo has created a breathtaking environment for its animals. Great photos! I wonder, did the "heated" butterfly environment create problems for your camera? Mine wouldn't last a minute.

kaye said...

very interesting post. If you want to wander down my road I’m home.

Izzy 'N Emmy said...

So glad you all had such a wonderful time! I love going to zoo's, as sad as it is sometimes. You captured some great photos too! Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

jinksy said...

Colchester zoo features a lot on the TV these days. It seems to be very well run, by the look of things...

Mickle in NZ said...

Zoos have certainly changed even within my 44 years of life. The only bears at the one here are little sunbears from Asia. A threatened species, they are here as part of a breeding program.

Visiting the birds and the butterflies looks so lovely and to be such fun. Our own birds here are forest coloured rather than having bright plummage.

Pleased you had two such good times with family,

care and huggles, Michelle and my much loved and spoilt rescue cat, Zebby

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

Sounds like 2 great trips. Your shots are great, love the bats.
The more we learn the better we get and that goes for zoos too.

Tiaras said...

those bats freak me out - love zoos!

Margo said...

zoos certainly have come a long way. If I were a large animal, I would prefer to live in many zoos, over the wild, I think. Spectacular birds! I love the colors!

The Girl From Cherry Blossom Street said...

I am fascinated by bats.

Alyson (New England Living) said...

Lovely pictures! I actually like bats. Have no idea why, but I do. Perhaps it's the fact that they eat the very pesky mosquitoes!

Thumbelina said...

Just bobbed over - I confess to being too tired to read but I had to say, that shot of the butterfly... wow! And the bats.
Fabulous shots. Proper stuff that!
(Managed to "skim" that you saw these at the zoo. Hope you had a great day!)

Dimple said...

Good story, good illustrations! I like all the animals you mentioned, and I am glad they are being treated humanely.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Lovely pictures Maggie - the parrots are so beautiful. Bristol Zoo is lovely now, the last time I went it was Spring and the flower beds were beautiful. A x

Nessa said...

Beautiful shots. I don't mind well run zoos of rescued animals or "reclaimed" animals.

Rose said...

Stunning photo of the butterfly! I love visiting these enclosed butterfly houses where you can see them up close. But I don't think I would have been as brave as you going into the bat house. I know they're very beneficial creatures, but I prefer to see them flying about at a distance:)

It's good to know that zoos are being more humane in giving their animals the appropriate environment. Love the parrots--did you get a picture of them landing on you?

Sniffles and Smiles said...

What absolutely fabulous photography, Maggie! Wow! I am so impressed with the clarity, color and composition of these! I am very partial to brightly colored birds...my favorites have always been Toucans...but you have made me rethink that preference! And the Butterfly with zebra stripe? Incredible! What a joyful visit you had! Thanks for letting me tag along in your back pocket!! I loved it!! ~Janine XO

Sharon said...

Glad the zoo realized it'd do better with smaller animals.

Glad you had fun. I love the butterfly picture. My little girl saw the pictures and said she loved that picture to!

Jeni said...

Loved the pictures. The parrots were great but the butterfly was outstanding. My opinion there, for whatever that's worth.
But I also got a chuckle out of the other visitor to the zoo not being as fortunate as you -with the "bird mess" -something I can sort of envision in my mind's eye, ya know.

RNSANE said...

What beautiful birds...and a blog I will want to visit often. I am not sure how I chanced here in the first place...good luck, for a change, I guess.

I have dear friends in the U. K. that I met twelve years ago on a cruise in southeast Asia...we were tablemates for twelve days and became great friends. He, at the time, was a 747 pilot for BA, since retired. They had a wonderful 14th century manor house in Godalming, Surrey - have since purchased a 15th century farm house in Rye. I've visited them about five times, they've come to see me and they've joined me in Barcelona twice. They've even taught me nuances of the English language, ie, "spend a penny"

MaggieGem said...

Great story, I love zoos but haven't been to one in a long time. I'll have to make a trip soon. Love the first pic, the birds are so colorful. The bats I'm not so crazy about, probably because they are so strange.

cheshire wife said...

I thought that bats were nocturnal. I ought to be able to tell you how Chester Zoo compares but I an afraid that I have not been.

Syren said...

The birds are Rainbow Lorikeets and we have flocks of wild ones feeding on the grevilleas every morning outside our bathroom window and making one helluva noise. They are found all along the eastern seaboard and south Australia. My favourite parrots though are King Parrots.