Christmas was organised, presents bought, so what better way to spend Christmas Eve than at the Bioparc relaxing with my wife. We arrived at 11.00am and as usual headed straight for the cafeteria to have coffee and croissants overlooking the savannah area. This is not just to relax and enjoy the view but it also gives me time to attach the lens to my camera, check over the settings and ensure I am ready for some good shooting. As we sat down the giraffes were just being let out and filed under the raised bridge before the younger ones galloped onto the grass.
After coffee we had time for a wander round before the bird display. We were treated to a second look at the recently born baby Bongo. Standing for a while on its own, it then joined the mother to give us a lovely display of affection. Licking her face and snuggling up close. As I have posted before, these are an endangered species because of mans destruction of their natural habitat. I would hate to think that these magnificent creatures could become extinct in the wild at some time in the future.
As the sun tried to break through the clouds more of the animals became active. The Leopard prowling around before settling on a rock to soak up the sun, the chimpanzees sitting as a family against the caves and for probably the first time that I have seen the Silverback Gorilla also came out from its corner to get some sunshine.
The bird show was as good as usual with plenty of flying displays and small animals to entertain the crowd. This week I sat close to the perch where I knew the Owl would fly to at the start of the show. Although I was still unable to get a clear shot of it in flight, thanks largely to the positioning of people in front of me, I was able to view the Owl up close as it settled just a few feet away.
The next treat for this day was to arrive at the elephant enclosure just in time for them to be fed. Only Kibo, the large male elephant was separated from the group so I was able to follow all six of the younger ones. I have been trying to get detailed shots of them all to help identification for a fellow enthusiast in Germany http://www.elefanten-fotolexikon.eu/index.php?seite=startseite. My plan was to take a full length shot of one individual and then get several close ups of the same animal to make it easier. Unfortunately as soon as they smelled the food all of them came running out together and it was impossible to keep up with which ones I had taken. However here is a sample of what was a very interesting half hour, despite being pushed and shoved by other members of the public trying to get closer!
After walking round for a while longer we were to get a further treat just as we were leaving the parc. At the Equatorial Forest enclosure that contains the Sitatunga, Pigmy hippopotamus, Drills Pelicans and Guenons a wild Heron had dropped in to try to catch some of the fish in the lake. Amazingly this wild bird stood contentedly whilst I walked up to the edge of the viewing area, not more than 10 feet away, and took several shots if him. I have never got that close to a wild Heron before, perhaps he realised I couldn’t get past the lake or perhaps he had visited many times before and was used to humans. Whatever it was I got some great close up shots.
Another great day at the Bioparc, the last for 2013. I’m looking forward to many more visits next year, each one with something new and exciting to see and to write about.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all who read this.
- ardea cinerea