Thursday, 30 June 2011

London Zoo - Penguins and Tigers

As the weather was so good last Sunday, my girlfriend Kelly and I decided we should do something to enjoy it so opted for a trip to London Zoo to see the new penguin enclosure.

We managed to get a 2 for 1 offer, using a National Rail deal. I'd strongly recommend you use this, even if you have a travel-card, as adult entry is not cheap. Even buying two single tickets, that we knew we were not going to use, we still ended up saving around £14.

We arrived just as the penguins were about to be fed, so headed straight there. The new enclosure looked great, and a heck of a lot more like a natural habitat than the old one. A great example of modernist architecture it might have been but it was certainly not the best environment for penguins.

As well as the rock and the sandy beach for the different subspecies of penguins they have, there is also a great concave window to see the penguins swimming under the water.  The children we saw enjoying this were absolutely fascinated being able to watch the penguins swimming.

Granted the entire exhibit smelled of fish but then what did I really expect when the penguins were being fed with, well fish.

We then took a wander over to the tiger exhibit. As I suspected, due to the heat (and boy was it hot on Sunday!), the tiger we could see, which I believe was Lumpur the male, was dozing in the shade.

The tigers at London Zoo are Sumatran tigers, a critically endangered subspecies, from Sumatra in Indonesia, with an estimated 300 wild tigers believed to exist in March 2008. Unfortunately numbers continue to decline as a result of a loss in habitat.

After a short time, he woke up, had a stretch and proceeded to have a wander around his territory.

It was great to see him roaming around the enclosure and patrolling up and down the fence, as all other visits to the zoo found him exactly as we had at first, asleep. I couldn't help thinking he was eyeing us up as lunch though.

We were then able to have a sit down on the display lawn and watch the predatory birds display. I opted for the shade for this one, whereas Kelly opted for the sun. The first photo I managed to take was of the black vulture, which seemed to enjoy scaring a couple of girls by skimming their heads by mere millimetres.

The display I enjoyed most though was that of the lesser Kestrel. We were treated to an amazing display of fast flying, diving and swooping. It was amazing to watch. Unfortunately I had a slight issue with my camera and managed to switch from the setting it was meant to be on, so was unable to capture the wings in sharp focus as I would have liked. However, I think the next photo shows nicely the speed it beats its wings when in a hover.

Then it was a trip over to the other side to visit the giraffes. They were out enjoying the sun, seemingly trying to work out which trees they could reach.

As we were heading back to the entrance, we had a wander past the owls, including this tawny frogmouth owl.

And finally, as we were leaving, we had a quick walk past the penguin enclosure again, this time without the crowds watching them being fed. Luckily for the penguins, there were a couple of herring gulls helping clean up what they couldn't manage.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, happy memories of the penguin enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo. As we enjoyed the underwater view one of its resident gulls divebombed my - up until then - clean white shirt. I don't know what it had been eating but despite several washes the shirt had to be thrown away.


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