Friday, July 25, 2008

The Nordic Ark, July 12th 2008. Part 31

I think I may have forgotten a bird. I'm confused. But we did see one more really cool bird - maybe before we saw the tigers. Or maybe not, maybe it was later. But I think it was before.

At first, when we got to this enclosure, we had no idea what was in it. It looked empty. Then we spotted the sign - it was the Eurasian eagle owl (Bubo bubo). Cool! They are fantastic birds, so big and distinctive-looking. We couldn't see it, though. But we figured, as we stood there straining our eyes to see anything camouflaged against the rock and brush, that we had been SO lucky so far in getting to see every single bird - almost all of them nocturnal birds, in the middle of a sunny day. So we basically shouldn't be asking for more. But then we suddenly saw them! :-D

First we saw one, then two, then three, and then four! Amazing! Even more so because it wasn't four adult birds (not sure if adults can be kept together, I think they're pretty aggressive) but rather one adult female and her three chicks. She was beautiful, quite majestic, and her chicks were basically greyish white balls of fluff. :-D They didn't move much, I think they were mostly half asleep. It was SO cool to see them.

This is literally the one not completely sucky picture we got of these animals. They were almost impossible to photograph at that distance and with the light and shadow in the enclosure. Two of the chicks are in fact clearly visible in this picture. Too bad they look like whitish grey rocks. :-)

The next species after the tigers was the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus). I don't think any of us had even heard about these animals before we started researching the Ark. We learned so much from this trip! :-D This is a South American species and it has the status of near threatened. They were pretty weird-looking ... incredibly long legs. :-) For bounding through the waving grass of the pampas, no doubt. :-)

Their enclosure had some very marked trails worn in the grass ... this was not due to any kind of stereotypy, we learned, but something that occurs with these animals in captivity (and, I suppose, perhaps in the wild too, for all I know) because they are patrolling animals and they patrol along specific trails.

Here we are learning this. :-)
(Left-right: C., me, trilltrall)

(Photo credit: 1: me, 2, 4: KAS; 3: C.)

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