It was my daughter's 21st Birthday yesterday and she asked to spend the day at West Midlands Safari Park.
I must admit I am not keen on the idea of visiting zoos as I don't like seeing captive wild animals in cages or small enclosures but as I had promised daughter she could anywhere she liked I was in a bit of a difficult situation especially as we had taken the children to the Safari Park when they were little. So I had to convince myself that at least most of the animals would be in large enclosures even if its not the most natural of existences.
It did, however, give me more practice with the 70-300mm lens - some of the photos are better than others as, despite the Royal Wedding, the place was packed and as there were 2 lanes to the road through the "safari" part we always seemed to be in the lane furthest away from the animals and I had to try and take pictures between cars. In many of the areas we had to keep windows closed and so the photos are taken through a dirty car window!
Ankole Cattle from East Africa - a species of cattle first domesticated 6000 years ago.
I think these are Blackbuck (native to India and Pakistan)
White Bennett's Wallaby from Tasmania
In places the Safari Park resembled a version of Jurassic Park as every time you entered an area with "dangerous" animals you had to queue up at traffic lights waiting for electric gates to open and then move into an area to wait for the gates behind to close and the next set to open. At one point a very interesting looking moth appeared on the bonnet of the car and I was told in no uncertain terms that no I could not get out of the car to look at it as the electric gates to the lion enclosure were about to open!
North American Wolf
The White Lions were beautiful animals. According to the Safari Park Guide they have been part of African folklore for hundreds of years and in 1975 2 white lion clubs were seen in the Timbavati Game Reserve. In 2006 two more white cubs were spotted but they were killed and it looks as though the only White Lions today are found in captivity. They are not albino but leucistic where recessive genes cause loss of pigmentation in the fur and skin but not in lips or eyes.
Not quite sure about the identity of this species as I can't find it in the Guide Book!
Baby Bactrian Camel
I was trying to get a complete picture of the head of this ostrich who was busy attacking the wing mirror of my husband's car but I never did manage to get a better image as I suddenly realised it had spotted my telephoto lens sticking out of the window and it looked as though it had decided it would make a better snack than the mirror and as it was advancing rather rapidly I had to beat a hasty retreat as far into the car as I could go!
We spent the afternoon walking around the rest of the Safari Park. Near the hippo's wallowing pool I spotted my first mallard ducklings of the year
My favourite animals of the day were the meerkats exhibiting their usual cute behaviour.
New since we last visited is a lemur walkway which is an area of woodland where various species of lemur roam.
And here's one I bought home with me!
When we got home Emily opened her presents and finally got to see her cake - she asked for a "fairy castle" cake and here it is.
Here's a picture of the birthday girl - she wouldn't let me post any recent pictures so here's a scanned photo of her at about 4 months old.
We rounded off the day with a great meal at The Plough.
(Yet!) another wander round Hay-on-Wye
36 minutes ago