Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Nordic Ark, July 12th 2008. Part Seven

What we saw next were two of the owl enclosures. All of the owl species here in northern Europe are of course endangered, and the Ark has several beautiful specimens from several species. We weren't expecting to see much of these as it was in the middle of a sunny day and owls of course are nocturnal. They also all had shelters in their enclosures where they could conceal themselves if they wanted to. But we were so lucky - every single owl was sitting outside and was clearly visible, and most of them were at least partly awake. ;-) The enclosures were designed so well and were so cleverly built that they had lots of shade and places where the animals could feel sheltered while still remaining visible to passersby. All the birds seemed very calm and content and not at all stressed.

In the first enclosure there was a great grey owl (Strix nebulosa). The Ark has two of these ... I seem to recall that they're both male but to be honest I can't remember about this first one. (This is the adult; there is also a juvenile at the moment, he's being kept in another enclosure elsewhere in the park.) At first we couldn't see him (maybe her?) and we figured he must be sleeping in one of the shelters in the enclosure, but suddenly KAS spotted him. Another 'wow' moment. :-)

The next enclosure was set aside for the snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus). The Ark has two of these beautiful animals, a breeding pair. This is the male. The sexes of this species are easy to tell apart. The male, as seen here, is almost completely white ...

... while the female, below, is speckled white and brown. She is much more stationary than the male as she is the one who cares for the eggs and the young, and so her camouflage is adapted to this.

She was absolutely beautiful. Even with us so close she was completely calm and serene. She seemed surprisingly awake and alert, and showed us her striking yellow eyes and shiny black beak. A very beautiful bird.

(Photo credit: top and bottom: KAS; middle two: me)


Rose said...

Thanks for sharing the photos, the kids and I loved them (we are big animal lovers!!). The park looks amazing!! I think our favorite was the red pandas, too cute!!
Big hi from "down under" xxx

Leisha Camden said...

Hi there!! :-)

Thank you, you're welcome - I'm happy you enjoyed it. I so want to share this as it was such a wonderful experience and the park such an amazing place - everyone should know about it! :-) Check back again though, I've got LOTS more coming. These first seven (!!) posts were just what I had time for yesterday. There's much more - wild horses, wolves, more birds, reindeer, leopards and tigers, geese and ducks and sheep, frogs and snakes and lizards, and some of the most adorable turtles ever ... and me being bitten by same. ;-)

So it's a good thing you enjoyed seeing this so far, because there's lots more of it coming up ... :-)

Leisha Camden said...

Oh, and the wolverines! I can't believe I forgot the wolverines!! :-D

KAS said...

How could you forget the wolverines?? :-)

Hope your photos of them turned out better than mine did. Most of mine are soooo blurry you can't even tell what species of beast you're looking at. *sigh* They really didn't sit still much, did they.

Leisha Camden said...

Yes and no, maybe ... :-)

I did get a few pretty good ones. A few. I don't remember exactly but at least there's one of them sitting next to each other, and one where they're fighting and one's on its back and the other on its feet ... so at least you can tell that they're two separate animals. :-D I've got lots of pictures where they're just one big ball of fur rolling on the ground. It's weird, there were soo many 'Kodak moments' when we were watching them but we didn't really get those on film. Or pixels, whatever. :-) Those animals were incredibly quick.

Looks like your camera focused more on the fence than on the beasties, too. ;-)

Here's hoping C. got some better wolverine shots than we did. She says hi and thanks for the pictures, btw. Get this: she's already convinced two of her coworkers to visit the Ark this summer ... ! :-D

Rose said...

Oh the cats are my favorite....ill have to send u some pics from the Melb zoo!!!

Anonymous said...

Leste om parken for få timer siden her:

Og så besøker jeg din blogg og ser at du også har vært der. Supert! Og veldig bra bilder og kommentarer på alle postene.

KAS said...

Re linken fra operafantomet -> jeg tror jammen vi var heldige med timinga! Må da være slitsomt når det er så ekstremt mye folk der...!!

Leisha Camden said...

Rose: if you like the big cats, check out the link that operafantomet posted!! It's someone on a forum who's posted pictures from her own visit to the park. Some AMAZING tiger pictures. :-) Is Melbourne Zoo a good one? I'd love to see some pictures!! :-)

operafantomet: coinkydink! :-) Thanks for the link. Some amazing pictures there. Better than ours ... ! at least the tiger pictures. We barely saw the tigers, unfortunately. (But I've got some great turtle pictures coming up. ;-) That woman must have had a fantastic camera.

Oh, and thanks for the compliment on the posts so far. :-) More on the way. I want to share ... the park was so wonderful and everyone should know about it. I still can't believe that I never heard about it till just a few weeks ago. I think a lot of Norwegians probably heard about it for the first time recently because of the snow leopard cubs that were born in the park this summer. That was in several major newspapers. So they probably have Norwegians coming out of their ears all of a sudden. :-D

KAS: ITA!! We were seriously lucky! But I don't think it's normally that crowded - I'm guessing that when the pictures were taken a big crowd had gathered there specifically to watch the tigers being fed. So that normally there wouldn't be a crowd quite like that. Don't you think?

KAS said...

Yeah, you're probably right. I just had an OMG!!1!! moment when I saw that photo... Glad I wasn't there at that particular time.

Plus, hey, we were there on a sunny Saturday, but remember the weather when we crossed the border? - I'm guessing a lot of people stayed home because of the weather and others would just rather spend a Sunday visiting the place. They might often have a bigger crowd than what was the case on Saturday!

(And like you mentioned, esp. what with all the Norwegians showing up all of a sudden...)