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Paradise Park Paradise Park Review 2015

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by gentle lemur, 2 Jun 2015.

  1. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    Paradise Park is essentially a bird garden, but I think most of the visitors are family parties on holiday, so it also has a few popular mammals and some farm animals, plus a miniature railway and both indoor and outdoor children's play areas. There are model dinosaurs and a dinosaur quiz sheet, which some children clearly enjoy. There is also a full programme of daily events with two different flying bird shows, two otter feeds and sessions where the public can help to feed the penguins, farm animals and lorikeets. Parrots Andrew has written about the bird shows and lorikeet feeding, which are the highlights for him: but I gave them a miss.
    The wild mammals are Asian small-clawed otters, red pandas and red squirrels. I was going to joke that Paradise Park may be the only BIAZA member with no meerkats, but on checking I found that PP is not a member – although it is in EAZA. You and I may not miss the little chaps, but I wonder if PP is missing a trick with the public.
    However the birds are the stars. The aviary beside the entrance has flocks of avocets and village weavers. The recommended route goes between the parrot show area and the military macaw aviary. Then you pass the screamers and some owls. Opposite the ravens you have a nice view over the estuary before you reach the scarlet ibises.
    I recommend a sharp left here into the Walled Garden which is the heart of the collection. It is larger and less regular than the Walled Garden at Cotswold on a gently sloping site. The central area has lawns, shrubs and two small pools. It is home for a small group of Caribbean flamingoes and a pair of hooded mergansers. There is also a Tropical House and a Penguin Pool for some Humboldts and a pair of common eiders. However around the walls are ranges of aviaries, most of which house the splendid collection of parrots. I went round clockwise, in the first set of aviaries are a group of blue-throated conures, a pair of red-vented cockatoos and a magnificent breeding pair of Banksians: I reached for my camera. Next is an umbrella cockatoo, and the magnificent old St Vincent amazon which I particularly wanted to photograph. Then a range of breeding aviaries which have solid sides and rear walls with pop-holes through to the nestboxes, they hold a nice range of parrots, the highlights being pairs of Stella's lorikeets and grey-breasted conures.
    Turning the corner, the path passes aviaries for softbills and turacos, leading to the largest aviary in the far corner (called the Poles aviary in a photo in our Gallery) holding pairs of hyacinthine macaws and white eared pheasants plus a mixed group of caiques; the unconventional combination of species is not unique – nearby are bleeding heart doves with fairy bluebirds and diamond sparrows.
    The Tropical House is quite small, but unquestionably tropical. The nicest birds were Namaqua doves and hooded parakeets in small aviaries beside the lobby (too small to my way of thinking) and a pair of yellow-faced siskins in the walk-through section. The penguin pool is next door, I felt it was very clean and very concrete. Opposite is a fine large aviary with shelters at either end, housing a pair of Palm Cockatoos; they looked magnificent in flight and were showing interest in their nestbox. The bottom corner of the garden is the Australian Aviary, which is a walkthrough area with four separate aviaries inside it. The Swainson's lorikeets are released from their aviary into the walkthrough for their public nectar feed each afternoon. The other aviaries hold cockatoos, kea and a collection of finches – including Bichenos, Gouldians, star finches and Timor zebra finches.
    The last row of aviaries has pairs of von der Decken's and red-billed hornbills, then yellow-streaked, dusky, Rajah and Duivenbode's lories, and finally a group of young Mitchell's lorikeets. I immediately went round on a second lap, indeed I spent most of my visit walking round this garden with my camera.
    Leaving the garden, the outside of the wall supports a large aviary with guinea fowl and glossy starlings. On the other side of the path are the Turaco Aviaries, which hold several great blues and other turacos, plus pheasants, trumpeters and toco toucans as well. Then the path forks, on the right is a field with the bird of prey display area and paddocks for the farm animals. Behind these paddocks are large netted aviaries for ground hornbills, Stanley cranes and pelicans; I couldn't see a path giving closer views of these aviaries. To the left is the Parrot Jungle, a wooded area with a stream and large aviaries for blue-throated macaws (a species which has bred well here), scarlet macaws, eclectus and Queen of Bavaria conures. There are also seriemas, a few birds of prey and bald ibis. The path then returns to the parrot show area, past the other entrance to the Walled Garden, the choughs and the otters.
    PP is not the UK's prettiest zoo; each set of aviaries is different and some of the older ones are small and low by modern standards and they show their age. On the other hand, the more modern ones are much better and many are well planted, remembering the destructive habits of some parrots. The site is quite spacious, there are attractive areas in the gardens and there is plenty to involve younger visitors. Moreover the birds look well and vigorous, allowing for one or two parrots which are slightly plucked (a common problem, particularly with former pets). It is well worth a visit if you are in Cornwall and worth a much longer journey if you have a fondness for parrots. Finally, as the base of the World Parrot Trust, Paradise Park does far more for conservation than many larger zoos and it deserves support for this reason too.

    Alan
     
    Last edited: 2 Jun 2015
  2. Macaw16

    Macaw16 Well-Known Member

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    Lovely review, sounds like a very interesting place, and as a parrot lover, I have a feeling I will love it (now how to get to Cornwall with £10?).
     
  3. devilfish

    devilfish Well-Known Member

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    A great review, thanks!
    Any sign of the St Lucia Amazon listed on ZTL?
     
  4. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    As a bit of background, Paradise Park was opened in the early 1970's by owner Mike Reynolds who had a strong interest in Parrots. He had previously worked in advertising and his claim to fame was having invented the Milky Bar Kid's stock phrase 'the Milky Bars are on me!':) He died a few years ago but I think the park is still run by the family.

    I last visited about five years ago, a visit memorable for the rainstorm which was visible approaching from the West and which resulted in a downpour of near tropical proportions halfway through my visit which I was then forced to abandon. Travelled on to Newquay Zoo where the afternoon was, fortunately, much better.
     
  5. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    I suspect Zootierliste is well out of date, but I didn't get a chance to question anyone (like Pertinax I wanted to go on to Newquay).
    I didn't see St Lucia amazon, hunting cissa or pink pigeon for example, but I don't know if they are no longer in the collection or simply off-show.

    Alan
     
  6. aquilla1

    aquilla1 Active Member

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    Nice review, sounds just as exciting as when I visited a few years ago! Am heading down there at the beginning of July, not many collections can boast regular breedings of Blue-throated Macaws, Hyacinth Macaws, various cockatoos and Keas, always a fascinating species! Good to hear they still have St Vincent Amazons, must be pretty elderly by now?
     
  7. bongorob

    bongorob Well-Known Member

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    Have you thought about posting yourself? :p

    I think the St Lucia Amazons have left the collection.
     
  8. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    Could you acquire some relatives in Penzance?

    Alan
     
  9. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    Just one elderly St Vincent. The lories are wonderful and don't forget the grey-breasted conures, they are a very rare species too.

    Alan
     
  10. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Moderator Staff Member

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    I will probably never have a chance to visit this zoo, but feel like I got to tour it with you, gentle lemur. Thanks for the great review.
     
  11. Macaw16

    Macaw16 Well-Known Member

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    I don't think so, we're all from up North, or South Wales (two of the worst locations for zoos :mad:)
     
  12. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    South Wales has a lot more collections than the North-east does :p
     
  13. Macaw16

    Macaw16 Well-Known Member

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    Not many though (in the part that my relatives live, practically England).
     
  14. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I think this is the best suggestion so far.....;)
     
  15. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    That's very kind, thank you. I thought it was worth writing about my visit in detail because not very many ZooChatters visit the collection. There are a fair number of photos in the Gallery, but there was not much written to complement them.

    Alan
     
  16. aquilla1

    aquilla1 Active Member

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    Visited Paradise Park yesterday, first time in over 5 years, was very impressed!!
    A fantastic parrot collection, highlights for me where the Palm Cockatoos, fledged Galahs and other young cockatoos, an amazing collection of Conures, Nicobar Pidgeon, some huge aviaries containing Hyacinth & Blue-throated Macaws, very up to date signage highlighting their breeding successes and the work of the WPT, cctv of tiny Red Panda youngsters, friendly Choughs, very vocal Ravens, loads of Avocet chicks, Hooded Parrots...
    A thoroughly enjoyable visit, I certainly won't leave it another 5 years!!
     
  17. Bele

    Bele Well-Known Member

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    I visited both Paradise Park and Newquay Zoo last week and enjoyed re-reading GL's review of Paradise Park .

    The parrot collection is awesome , with quite a few other very nice birds - I enjoyed seeing hoopoes , great blue touracos , argus pheasants . I noticed an emphasis on breeding Mitchell's lorikeets with quite a few breeding pairs and groups , apparently a very rare species now .

    I noticed two large chough aviaries to the rear of the animal field , well away from visitors , these are simply constructed with poly-tunnel loops covered with some sort of mesh . I am not keen on the penguin pool , the eider ducks sharing the enclosure had small ducklings .

    Combined with the many unusual species to be found at Newquay - small carnivores , many species of amphibian and a very good collection of smaller birds , amongst others - the two collections are a real treat for a zoo nerd like me . My partner , who is definitely not a zoo nerd , was amused by my excitement !
     
  18. aquilla1

    aquilla1 Active Member

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    I forgot the Touracos, several species I had never seen before!!
     
  19. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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  20. MikeG

    MikeG Well-Known Member

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    2 Mitchell's Lorikeets hatched in mid-February.