Northumberland Zoo ~ Oct 2021 ~ part 2

Before we get to the Snow Leopards we’ll have a quick look at some other residents in the zoo.

They have Shetland Ponies, which always remind me of the wonderful books by Norman Thelwell I read as a kid.

Ponies

I’d thought these were Ostriches when I first visited, but nope, they are Greater Rheas, which are smaller, and are the largest birds in South America. They are related to ostriches and emu’s and like them, can’t fly. Seems a bit daft to me to be a bird and unable to fly, but hey ho each to his/her own.

not Ostriches.

Before the big cats arrived the only other felines at the zoo were a pair of Canadian Lynx and these proved to be quite elusive in their large enclosure as it is full of tall plants, but this day I at least got to see them sleeping.

The Canadian lynx, is a North American wild cat that ranges in forest and tundra regions across Canada and into Alaska, as well as some parts of the northern United States. Historically, the Canadian lynx ranged from Alaska across Canada and into many of the northern U.S. states. It’s a good climber and swimmer; it constructs rough shelters under fallen trees or rock ledges. It has a thick coat and broad paws, and is twice as effective as the bobcat at supporting its weight on the snow. The Canada lynx feeds almost exclusively on snowshoe hares; its population is highly dependent on the population of this prey animal. It will also hunt medium-sized mammals and birds if hare numbers fall.

snoozy lynx

The new arrivals now, firstly the Arctic Foxes.

The Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), also known as the white fox, polar fox, or snow fox, is a small fox native to the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and common throughout the Arctic tundra biome. It is well adapted to living in cold environments, and is best known for its thick, warm fur that is also used as camouflage. It has a large and very fluffy tail. In the wild, most individuals do not live past their first year but some exceptional ones survive up to 11 years. Its body length ranges from 46 to 68 cm (18 to 27 in), with a generally rounded body shape to minimize the escape of body heat.

Arctic foxes must endure a temperature difference of up to 90–100 °C (160–180 °F) between the external environment and their internal core temperature. To prevent heat loss, the Arctic fox curls up tightly tucking its legs and head under its body and behind its furry tail. This position gives the fox the smallest surface area to volume ratio and protects the least insulated areas. Arctic foxes also stay warm by getting out of the wind and residing in their dens Although the Arctic foxes are active year-round and do not hibernate, they attempt to preserve fat by reducing their locomotor activity. They build up their fat reserves in the autumn, sometimes increasing their body weight by more than 50%. This provides greater insulation during the winter and a source of energy when food is scarce.

Natural predators of the Arctic fox are golden eagles,Arctic wolves, polar bears, wolverines, red foxes, and grizzly bears. Not many of those in Northumberland so these two can live a long life.

Foxy

FInally the Snow Leopards. These beautiful big cats are native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia, the global population is estimated to number fewer than 10,000 mature individuals and is expected to decline about 10% by 2040. The snow leopard shows several adaptations for living in a cold, mountainous environment. Its small rounded ears help to minimize heat loss. Its broad paws well distribute the body weight for walking on snow, and have fur on their undersides to increase the grip on steep and unstable surfaces; it also helps to minimize heat loss. Its long and flexible tail helps to maintain balance in the rocky terrain. The tail is very thick due to fat storage, and is covered in a thick layer of fur, which allows the cat to use it like a blanket to protect its face when asleep.

I took so many photos I couldn’t choose which one or two to post, so I made a couple of short videos to show them off. The ladies names are Nieva and Karli.

in B&W
and in glorious technicolour

So that’s that. Next week we’ll be off to someotherwhere so stay tooned for that!

all pictures embiggenable when you clickerate them
full album with more birds, animals etc HERE.

Wallington Hall Estate ~ Oct 2020 ~ part 2

There are a few ponds/lakes nestled in the woodlands of the estate, and our favourite is the one with the boathouse.

boathouse pond.

As always, there are ducks.

quacks

The glass house is set in a formal garden so we had a wander around there first.

It was nice to see some flowers still going strong.

flower pot

The glass house is on a tier above the garden

glass house

and there’s a nice view when you get up there.

England’s green and pleasant land.

Inside the glass house there were plenty of blooms and leaves,

fuchsia magellanica white & pink
fuchsia magellanica pink & purple
chinese-lantern (abutilon pictum)
lotsa leaves

The glass house is being propped up with wooden buttresses as it’s very old and rickety, hopefully the National Trust will spend a few bob to repair it. You can just see them through the window here.

window scenery

Our last stop was at the bird hide, where we were excited to see a couple of deer, though I couldn’t get the head of the deer at the back.

2 deer.

And of course took some photo’s of birds

Blue tit
coal tit
robin

and that’s the end of our visit to Wallington in 2020.

all pictures are embiggenable by clickeration.

A few more pictures can be found HERE

Farne Islands July 2016 ~ part 3

Part 1  Part 2

Apart from Puffins, Arctic Terns breed during the summer on Inner Farne, they attack you if you get too near their chicks by dive bombing your head, so it’s best to wear a hat. They are pretty though,

baby sitting (you can just see the chick underneath mum)

I got a herd of shots the year before of gulls and cormorants, so didn’t do too many this time, (concentrating on the in-flight puffin shots!)

Peek-a-boo

I see no ships

Duck pond

The weather was lovely so some nice blue skies and sea

and then time to go, you only get an hour on the Island, but on the way back we were escorted by a herd of Dolphins, so many people on the boat with huge long lenses crowding to photograph them (mostly big blokes people) that I couldn’t see past them, so went into the inside bit of the boat and shot through the window, so these are not the best, but these are the only dolphins I’ve ever seen so here they are

And that’s the end of my visit to Farne Islands, can’t wait to go back!

 

 

 

 

Fraggle Report~ Farne Islands July 2016 ~part 1

Sophie and I finally got our trip to the Farne Islands a couple of weeks after the Bamburgh expedition. We’d wanted to go back as when we went in 2015 Sophie had forgotten her telephoto lens, and neither of us was any good at getting flying birds in focus, so a re-visit was in order.

Awaiting the boat our lunch was shared with a baby Starling, Mum on guard

Lovely blue skies as we sailed out of the harbour

but 15 mins out to sea and looking back to the shoreline, the clouds were gathering over Bamburgh Castle

but never mind the weather, we saw seals! lots of them!

Good Afternoon!

Seal-spat

snoozing

We three

Bird-poo rocks

It wasn’t me, honest!

All by myself

The sentinels

On to the puffins next time 🙂

Still about

I’ve had a really busy few weeks with work, not taking many photo’s because of working til late most days and weekends. Last Sunday though my friend Sophie and I got out for a few hours to Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens, and it was lovely to get the old D700 out and take a few snaps.

KZ1-9 KZ1-19 KZ1 KZ1-10_edited-1 KZ1-8_edited-1 KZ1-2_edited-1 bigbird