Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Yesterday: Lets All Go to the Zoo Tomorrow

I thought the chance to give a nod to the Beatles and Tom Paxton/Julie Felix was too good to pass up.  It does of course resolve to the fact that we went to the National Zoo and Aquarium today.

The idea of this came from some friends who have grandchildren and explained that the small person gets in for free and if you become a Friend of the Zoo the economics are quite sound.

We have not had responsibility for our small person before, although she seems to like us, so we thought we should have a training session first.  Thus we swung by Small Person Central and took her for an exploratory walk along Lake Burley Griffin.  (She would then be due for a nap and we'd go and check the Zoo - never having been there before.)

It was strangely difficult to keep the pusher going in the right direction, but as the world's greatest philosopher used to say "Learning all the time"
At one point (attention small person's mum - not on the bridge and well away from water) we were all walking hand in hand and a lady of our age went by saying "That looks special."  I think (hope?) she meant it looked very charming, not that we looked as though we were marching in the event that comes a couple of weeks after the Olympics.

We thought it good to have an objective for our walk and decided that Swans were the target.  We found some, with 4 downy cygnets, not far along towards Commonwealth Avenue.  They ignored us this time but when we came by on the way back the cygnets were closer to the path and Mum Swan (are female Black Swans 'pens' as is the case for Mute Swans?) let her displeasure be known so we rapidly headed off.
Arabella liked the plum blossom ...
.. and, on Wattle Day, liked the Acacia blossom even mor.
We were basically gone for a bit over an hour and all enjoyed ourselves greatly.  Mission accomplished.

Having returned small one we headed off for the Zoo.  It is interesting that I haven't been able to find on-line source to cover the full history of the place.  Here is my memory of it:
Whatever.  When we arrived - about noon on a cool Tuesday - the main car park was almost full.  A good sign for people voting with their wallets.

Getting in, the first exhibits were small, and very cute primates:
Cotton-top Tamarinds
Squirrel Monkeys
Then on to some bigger stuff.  I think this was the female Sun Bear.
She was rescued from a tiny cage in Cambodia where she had developed swaying behaviour due to boredom etc.  She still sways a bit but is much better, and certainly has much to entertain her in this enclosure.  Plus a male bear for company.
Little Penguins 
Ring-tailed Lemurs
Unfortunately I dipped on a photo of them walking around upright but they were most amusing to watch.  This one eating an apple peel looks most mischievous.
I was going to speak sternly to the folk chucking the apple bits into the enclosure then realised they were employees.  Hint for future visits: follow anyone carrying a bucket - they are probably going to feed something!

They have a good lot of Australian beasts.  This Common Wombat was sleeping right at the edge of its pen so I got a good snap of its claws.  No wonder they can dig well.
Its Meerkat time!

A Plum-headed Parrot.  Hopefully the Zoo looks after its birds better than the aviculturists around Canberra or these will soon be breeding in suburbia.
A Red Panda
 I think that and the Goodfellow's Tree-Kangaroo ...
... could get a run in a forthcoming blog by Ian Fraser about Orange animals.
Typically active Lions.
We ended in the Aquarium.  I liked this shot covering both the above and below water levels in a tank.
Frances had this huge Groper well up her list of favourite animals in the place.
They had a few reptiles including some very impressive, but not easy to photograph well, snakes.  This frog was amusing: its binomial should be Bufo plasticus.
There were a few shark-like things around and I thought these two Epaulette sharks were the cutest!
Overall, a very enjoyable visit.  The place gets a bouquet!  I suspect it will get very busy in the school holidays.  The most obvious demographic today were Mums with smallish children.  A good idea to get them interested in nature early.  I reckon that Arabella will find the place a hoot!

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