I have often said that the cafeteria at the Bioparc is the best place to have a coffee so today I thought I would try to illustrate the point. Virtually all the photos in today’s blog were taken from my table in the cafeteria and I could quite happily sit there for several hours just watching the animals. Not only does it have the best views but it also serves a very nice cup of coffee and probably the best croissants in Valencia, all at very reasonable prices. There is also a restaurant attached with equally good views across the “Savannah”, but I have never eaten there so cannot comment more on this.
The giraffes are always the first things to be noticed when sitting in the cafeteria because of their size, and I am fascinated by the way they evolved into such unusual animals. This group of giraffes is the largest in Spain and consists of seven animals, one adult male, two younger males, and the rest females of various ages. Four giraffes have been born at the Bioparc since it opened five years ago, two of them pure bread male Baringo Giraffes, the latest being born this time last year.
The Baringo giraffe, also called Rothschild’s giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi), is one of the most endangered subspecies of giraffe so it is important that the breeding programme continues to succeed. Rothschild’s giraffe is easily distinguishable from other subspecies. The most obvious sign is in the colouring of the coat, or pelt. Where the reticulated giraffe has very clearly defined dark patches with bright-whitish channels between them, Rothschild’s giraffe more closely resembles the Masai giraffe. However, when compared to the Masai giraffe, Rothschild’s subspecies is paler, the orange-brown patches are less jagged and sharp in shape, and the connective channel is of a creamier hue compared to that seen on the reticulated giraffe. In addition, Rothschild’s giraffe displays no markings on the lower leg, giving it the impression of wearing white stockings.
The lake between the cafeteria and the Savannah is teaming with wildlife. Several fish were introduced into the lake when the parc first opened and they have now grown to an enormous half metre in length, (unfortunately I do not know the species). Despite notices these are often fed with unsuitable food by visitors to the cafeteria, whilst this doesn’t seem to have caused them any harm, I wish people would respect the signs which are there for a good reason.
Other creatures present in abundance are the various ducks, I’m not sure if all of these were introduced or if some appeared naturally but they are certainly flourishing despite the constant “arguments” that break out between them. Several nesting sites can be seen around the lake in spring and the sight of baby ducks swimming behind their mother is delightful.
With other creatures visiting the lake regularly to drink or to bathe, there is a constant source of interesting things to watch and every time I visit there is always something new to see. Even the sparrows are interesting as they scrabble for bits of food dropped from the tables, I´ve even had one take some crumbs from my hand. Often its the natural wildlife coming to the lake which catch the eye, in the summer they are numerous dragonfly dipping in and out of the water, unusual birds too. Today I was treated to my first ever sighting of a Red-whiskered Bulbul, from India, it must have escape from captivity and is now frequenting the Bioparc. I didn’t get a decent photograph of it but I will keep a look out in future visits.
Another treat today from one of the inhabitants, was a Grey Crowned Crane who decided it was time for a bath and hair wash. This is the first time I had seen one doing this and it certainly wasn´t hot so it wasn’t trying to cool down. Whatever the reason it made a comical sight as its head popped up drenched in water and several shots were fired off to try and capture the perfect moment.
As I’ve already stated, I would have happily stayed at the cafetria all day but I wanted to see how the other animals were getting on and eventually set off around the parc. Today the gorillas were venturing further away from their corner spot and made for some interesting viewing which I will try to capture on my next visit. The bird display seemed very short today but it was windy and this may have affected some of the birds. Another good day was had at the Bioparc and I’m already looking forward to my next visit.
NB: If you click on the photos you can view them in full frame.