Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Nordic Ark, July 12th 2008. Part Twenty

Leaving the Wetlands behind, we hiked up a small hill into a beautiful wooded area. We weren't sure what kind of territory we were walking into. :-) But the first thing that drew our attention was a large wooden sign which we realized was a visual depiction of the wingspan of some well known birds. This was a very clever way of showing the sizes of the animals both relative to each other and relative to us. There are several of these little educational surprises spread around the park, eg 'look how big these birds are', 'test your speed against these animals', 'how many species can you spot', etc.

trilltrall had to test his own 'wingspan' against the sign. Wouldn't want to get into close contact with an annoyed albatross ... ! :-o

It turned out that what we were approaching was the wolf enclosure. Alright! :-D KAS was very interested in this section as a litter of wolf cubs has been born in the park this spring - six pups! - and she would have loved to see those. Well, we all would. But there was neither hide nor hair to be seen of them. (Even after KAS tried out the wolf call she invented, alas. ;-) To be honest we hadn't really expected to see much of the wolves - it was the middle of the day, and a very warm day at that. We assumed they'd be sleeping in some cool den or thicket somewhere. :-) But their enclosure was absolutely beautiful, and huge.

Some views of the wolf enclosure:

On the edge of the wolves' territory (but with a fence between them, of course) there's a little café, the Wolf House. :-) It's pretty. :-)

There are picnic tables outside it where visitors can enjoy their meal in the sun. The side of the House that faces the wolf enclosure is a huge panorama window so that if a patrolling wolf comes by everyone inside can see it. I released a book on one of the tables; Robin Hood by Rosemary Sutcliff. (Hasn't been caught yet, but I'm optimistic. Someone picked it up immediately when we left and started looking through it. trilltrall saw them. ;-)

A healthy lunch of cakes and ice cream!
(Left-right: me, trilltrall, C. Random strangers in background.)

One small part of the wolf enclosure had been fenced off for the juvenile great grey owl (Strix nebulosa). My guess is that these birds fight among themselves if males are kept together, so they've had to arrange separate quarters for him since whatever age they begin their sexual maturity. He was completely calm sitting out in the open like all the other owls.

(Photo credits: 1, 5: KAS, 2, 3, 4, 6: me)

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