Join our zoo community

Zoogiraffes review of his zoo year

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by zoogiraffe, 8 Dec 2016.

  1. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    6,513
    Location:
    Middlewich,Cheshire U.K
    Right I thought I would do a review of my zoo visiting year starting right at the start and finishing right at the end.At present I have visited over 60 different collections in the UK this year,and have over 100 visits to various collections.As many of you will have noted i have taken the UK challenge set by Shorts quiet seriously this year,so as a result of this the review will feature herps heavily in the review where a collection has them.Also all the views will be my own and I know that more than a few people will disagree with them.So right lets start with the first zoo visit of 2016 which took place on the 1/12016.

    Chester Zoo 1/1/2016,as normal I started the year off with a visit to Chester as I knew that it should give me a reasonable start for the challenge,the visited resulted in a total of 26 for the challenge,although I did have a few no shows like the Tuatara. Despite the time of year we pretty much saw most of the on show mammals,but of course the Giant Anteaters were not seen,as too me they are the worst showing GAs in the UK,and I am lucky if I see them twice in the year.Because it was the first visit of the year it also mean't my once a year visit into the Chimp House,as those that know me will known they are a species that just doesn't do anything for me.

    Gentleshaws Wildlife Centre 2/1/2016, was an un-planned visit but one that I never complain about visiting,I managed to do it due to taking my Aunty to an antiques fair in Stafford,and she wanted to visit the garden centre in which Gentleshaw is in,so never one to complain about being able to visit an animal collection,as a rsult picked up 14 for the challenge.Also got my first play of the year with Quaver the New Guinea Singing Dog,have to admit I did get in trouble with my Aunty for getting talking Trigger and her mum,but then those people that have visited with me would be more surprised if that didn't happen.In actually fact I was glad I got to do this place when I did as on a latter visit in the year a couple of the herp species had gone.

    Twycross Zoo 10/1/2016,shocked the group of people I was visiting with by insisting on viewing the Chimps,but once I explained that I wanted to take some picture of the Long-haired Chimps,as I hadn't got any before I think I was let off for wanting to do something out of character.As ever it was a pleasure seeing what is probably still the best primate collection in the UK.Picked up another 5 for the challenge,as got a view of how the building work was going on Gibbon Forest,which I have to admit from the view of it we had already decided that we would be back latter in the year to see it again

    Martin Mere WWT 17/1/2016,a first for the year a colection that would give me nothing for the challenge,but as ever Martin Mere at this time of year is always a joy to visit if only for viewing wild Swans and Geese in such large numbers,it is to me a sound that everyone should experience atleast once in their life.Nothing new was seen in the captive side of the place,work was still on going on the new North American Forest area.Yet again the male Cereopsis Goose took a dislike to me I have no idea what I have done to this bird,but it trys to get at me about 80% of the time I have visited,which is a shame as its one of my favourite species.

    Thats it for the moment the rest of January to follow
     
  2. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    6,513
    Location:
    Middlewich,Cheshire U.K
    Blue Planet Aquarium 24/1/2016,Well I do quiet like this place but no way is it worth the money that they charge to go in it,as you cannot spend all day here,even for me that has more than a passing interest in Sharks,I am sure one day they will breed their Sand Tigers here one day just a question of if they are the first to do it in the UK.But the main reason for doing this place was the fact they have a few herps on show that were needed for the Challenge,you have to be impressed with anywhere that 3 species of venomous snakes (Horned Desert Viper/Copperhead and Eyelash Viper) and has 4 venomous species in the form of Beaded Lizard,as a result of this 9 species were picked of for the challenge.

    Chester Zoo 24/1/2016,Well seeing as I couldn't spend all day it seemed stupid not to make use of the fact that I am a Chester member,so popped in to have a quick look round and picked up another 4 that I had missed on my previous visit to Chester,also managed to see the Tuatara for the first time in the year.I never get bored of looking for these wonderful creatures.

    South Lakes Wild Animal Park 31/1/2016,Just glad that this could well have been the last time I ever visit this place,as it is very much looking like the end in the new year!!But seeing as I had a chance of picking a herp up was worth dropping in,of course we did get the herp,might have got a few more but they were off show.While here we managed to a Swamp Wallaby in the new Spectacled Bear enclosure,worth noting that if the Bears had been out and in the right place I would have been able to stroke a bear,without leaning to far over the barrier!Nearly got run over by a couple Vicuna,and saw the Yellow Anaconda in a walk through,I think I need to say no more than that,a part from I do hope that the Brush-tailed Bettongs stay in the UK when it goes wrong!

    Lakes Aquarium 31/1/2016,Picked up a further 2 while visiting the place,but I always enjoy this place as its always nice to see their Diving Ducks,they also have a pretty impressive collection of Sturgeons,and a very impressive couple of Pike,but for me the real highlight is the Arctic Char!

    Lakeland Wildlife Oasis 31/1/2016,To me a very under rated place that has a feel unique to the place,like a tunnel to view the Snow Leopards,the place is also very big on education,and has some very interesting education games etc around the place.As for the challenge it picked me up another 5,so very worth while on that score.I can highly recommend the food from here,the hot food is always done fresh when you order it!

    That was it for January.Total of herps seen for the challenge was 66.
     
  3. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    16 May 2010
    Posts:
    6,536
    Location:
    Wilds of Northumberland
    As do I; a species I have never managed to get decent photographs of. They would be quite a nice addition to the wallaby walkthrough at Bristol, I feel.
     
  4. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    6,513
    Location:
    Middlewich,Cheshire U.K
    Right now on to Febuary,which included a few biggish places and a few that would give nothing for the challenge.So here goes for another month.

    Manchester Sealife Centre 7/2/2016, this was my second visit to this place,the first time I visited with bongorob and we came away impressed by what we saw,apart from the stupid turtle interactive education presentation that you are forced to watch before you can see any exhibits!Well this time we thought the collection had gone down hill,since we first visited and the signage had got worse,and why they insist on using a scrolling monitor display what is suppose to be in a tank is beyond me!That said we did pick up 3 herps for the challange.

    Manchester Museum Vivarium 7/2/2016,This place might only be small but it is a great collection,on my last 3 visits I have seen atleast 1 species of Amphibian that is new to me,so always worth a visit,this time we managed to pick up 5 for the challenge,highlight of which has to be the Allison's Anole,its worth noting that this is a free to enter collection,and the natural history side of the museum is worth a look,and the cafe isn't bad either!

    Gauntlet Bird of Prey,Eagle and Vulture Park 7/2/2016,As bird of prey centre goes this place has a pretty good collection,but I am not a fan of places that fly their birds near Electricity power lines like this place does,also if they are doing a flying display all visitors have to watch it even if they don't want to!Because they fly some of the birds out of aviarys round the centre,and they seem to have trouble getting some of them back into their avairys after their part of the show,they were boasting about displaying their 14 or so Black Kites,yes its impressive but its not Weyhill levels,in which you can have up to 30 Birds in the air at the same time and that includes Vultures,Kites and Ibis,now that is impressive to see!!Have to say its not a place I would rush back to as it just doesn't change enough to warrant it.

    West Midlands Safari Park 14/2/2016,Those that know me will know I am not a fan of safari parks on the whole,but this place does have a big plus,in that it has a pretty damn good reptile house,so as a result of this I managed to add another 14 species.Although the venomous collection has gone down hill a bit it still has more than Chester Zoo,in fact its not far behind in terms of the total number of herps on show.As for the rest of it I think all I need to say is White Lions and Tigers and African Elephants that are I believe are chained in the house for the hours in which the park isn't open,I say this because I very often visit the Severn Valley Railway that passes the park and I have NEVER seen them out if the park isn't open!

    Hagley Bird of Prey Centre 14/2/2016,a very small collection that is stuck at the back of a garden centre,it has some nice species like Himalayan Griffion,but many of the aviarys are to me too small and to low,and as for the flying arena,my back garden is nearly bigger!

    Chester Zoo 28/2/2016,no new herps picked up,but that wasn't the reason for this visit,which was so that bongorob and myself could have a chat with Tim Rowlands,over the plans for the walk and talk he was doing again.I think due to the fact one happened things must have gone okay.

    Thats it for Feb and the challenge total now stood at 88 species seen,and me in second place to Pipaluks 105 a place that he would keep until early March.
     
    snowleopard and TeaLovingDave like this.
  5. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    16 May 2010
    Posts:
    6,536
    Location:
    Wilds of Northumberland
    Agreed wholeheartedly - the only display I have seen which surpasses Weyhill's is that at Walsrode!
     
  6. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    6,513
    Location:
    Middlewich,Cheshire U.K
    Right time for the first part of march which those of you know me will know that it was a mental month even by my standards,but it did get me to some interesting places.

    Welsh Mountain Zoo 5/3/2016,A very pleasant small collection was nice to see that since my last visit they had built and finished the new Wallaby enclosure,which I was very pleased to see that they had added a group of Swamp Wallaby into this enclosure.But for me the highlight for me is always seeing Albert and Nancy(American Alligators),which for those of yo that don't know where the first pair to successfully hatch out young.Managed to pick up another 4 for the challenge,now we had planned on doing a spot of birding if we had time,but we did want to see the Margay,and as luck would have it we got cracking views on the first attempt,so the mob sat down and had a council of war(Mob included Agile Gibbon,Bongorob,Javan Rhino and Ophidia),after a bit of a chat and checking journey time on sat nav we decided to attempt another collection!

    Pili Palace Butterfly House 5/3/2016,Now this place I hadn't visited since I was a junior member at Chester,which was a long time ago in a galaxy far away!Well we duly arrived we weren't expecting much but we did get a surprise as we picked up 3 for the challenge,which included Argus Monitor,but I did enjoy seeing a Hogg Island Boa Constrictor as I hadn't seen this sub-species since CWP went out of during Iri Gills tenure as head reptile keeper their.Also worth noting that they have a pretty damn good collection of inverts,including a centipede which I have forgotten which species it was.Now if you are in the area I can recommend this place to eat at,as the food is excellent I had a Local produced Beef Burger with cheese and chips,which cost us less than the same meal would have cost at Chester Zoo even after members discount and it tasted far better than the food has at Chester for some time in Junes!

    Reaseheath Zoo 6/3/2016,A little local run out for me as this place is less than 20 minutes away from me,not the biggest place but had an extension under construction at the time of our visit!This place does have a pretty good herp collection,so as a result managed to add another 6!Worth noting that this is one of the few places that you can see Bat-eared Fox now in the UK.

    Rodbaston Animal Zone 6/3/2016,For those of you that dont know this place it is part of an Agricultural College like Reaseheath.But if I had to pick which was the best I would have to say Rodbaston,as it has a full blown reptile and nocturnal house and an Aquarium,and for the moment its also home to part of the World Owl Trusts collection of Owls.Managed to pick up a very nice 15 species of herps towards the herp challenge including 2 species of Hinge-backed Tortoise and Indian Star Tortoise!

    Gentleshaws Wildlife Centre 6/3/2016,well seeing as we where so close we called in to say hello,to Trigger and also on the off chance that we might pick up a Cooter that I had missed on my first visit,to say we were stunned when we saw it sitting in the middle of the pool would be an under statement,but it seemed to set the tone for the luck we had over the next few months of being in the right place at the right time to see stuff.

    Chester Zoo 12/3/2016,No idea why we visited apart from I was probably bored at home didn't pick anything up for the challenge.But did have food in Junes to see if it had improved sorry to say it hadn't!

    Chester Zoo 19/3/2016,I think on this visit I went to catch up with a couple of people that will remain nameless.Cannot remember anything of note from this visit apart from the Ice Cream was up to its normal high standard,it comes from Cheshire Farm Ice Cream,and is superb,probably the best Ice Cream on sale in any zoo in the UK,nice that they have got atleast one thing right in terms of quality food wise!

    Easters zoo visiting will follow later as it was mental even by my standards of zoo visiting,but it had to be done as I knew I could add around 60 species for the herp challenge!
     
    TeaLovingDave and KevinVar like this.
  7. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    16 May 2010
    Posts:
    6,536
    Location:
    Wilds of Northumberland
    And also the only place in Europe - as far as I know - where one can see Whitebellied Spider Monkey!

    Certainly the best I have had at any zoo!
     
  8. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    6,513
    Location:
    Middlewich,Cheshire U.K
    Next up is a what can only be described as a mental Easter,but one that myself and various partners in crime,enjoyed greatly,the only constant person with me for the duration was ophidia,others dropped in and out on various days!

    Living Coasts 25/3/2016,We arrived in Torquay well before opening so we could have a walk round the outside,and walk round to a little cove up past the pace to take some pictures from the beach.I always enjoy visiting here as its a small very unique collection,its always nice to see the Auk Aviary and I have to say I do like what they have done with the aquarium part.No herps were gained for the challenge but then we didnt expect any we just did it because its a dam good collection!Its worth noting that where I park in Torquay which is only a 3 minute walk to the place,according to my sat nav is in the sea!

    Shaldon Zoo 25/3/2016,I love this place one of the smallest places have ever visited but,any place that gives you Owstons Palm Civet,Bengal Loris and Northern Dry Zone Slender Loris to look at is good with me. Herp wise for the challenge we got 1.

    Paignton Zoo 25/3/2016,This has to be one of the best places to visit on a wet day given that they have 3 houses that are very much me places,but thankfully to do wasn't a wet day so we could enjoy the whole zoo,Luckily we got to see the Philippine Crocs before they moved to France.We also spent a good amount of time watching the Barbary Sheep and the Turs.WE all enjoyed seeing the Lesser Adjutant Storks and agreeded it was acracking addition to the bird collection.But we did spend a good amount of time trying to herp spot,it was a pity we visited when we did as all the herps in the desert house were still off show for the winter,but we still managed to add 8,but I did add another later as I had forgot I hadn't seen them and added another that we managed see off show in the reptile nursery,once I had it confirmed by a member of staff that it was what we thought it was!To end the day Ophidia,Bongorob and myself had a good chat with a friend who works at Paignton,while watching Allens Swamp Monkeys!

    Bristol Zoo 26/3/2016,Bristol is one of my favourite zoos I always arrive in time for 9 am opening and head straight to the Nocturnal House,for the reason that the lights haven't been switched off so you can see where you are walking,and even better most of them animals have normally started moving!After this we proceeded to walk round the zoo in a clock wise direction,and then filled in the bits in the middle once we had done everything round the outer edges of the zoo,to me the highlights are always the Reptile House and Aquarium and Bug World,now for the herp challenge we managed to see a grand total of 13,but despite seeing some very nice herps and fish and inverts,the highlight was seeing the Wild Budgies in the Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby enclosure,for those that haven't seen them they are alot smaller that the Budgies you see in a pet shop and to me are far better looking.

    Noahs Ark Zoo Farm 26/3/2016,This place is slowly starting to get things right,its taken them long enough but at last they are starting to do things right,but there are still things that still annoy me about the place,but I can live with those if they keep building things like the new Spectacled Bear enclosure,I can safely say that Ophidia and myself were stunned at what we saw,but yes it wasn't fully finished and the plants still needed to grow but you could see that it is going to be very good in a few years time!We also had the pleasant surprise of getting another 2 herps.All in all we had a pretty good visit and just about got to the car as the heavens opened.Now while we drove to our next collection Ophidia who was visiting for the first time admitted that the place wasn't as bad as he was expecting!!

    Bristol Aquarium 26/3/2016,We decided to give the place ago as it was indoors and it wouldn't matter if it was still raining!This isn't a bad aquarium has a very nice reef tank that can be viewed from above and below,but we got a very big shock when we realised that a turtle in the South American tank was one for the challenge.They also have a pretty impressive Electric Eel.

    Now we did actually try and do Wildplace but,we pulled into the car park and the rain was bouncing 4 inches off the bonnet of the car,so we decided to go home via the petrol station over on the retail park near by,I don't think Ophidia will ever forget the yelp that came from em when I stepped out from the shelter of the canopy to get to the pay kiosk!

    Crocodiles of the World 27/3/2016,Well what can I say about this place a part from Crocodilians,actually I don't need to say any more than that!I will now say sorry to Nisha for Ophidia and myself been total geeks trying to work out which was the suchus x niloticus hybrid in with all the pure South African Niles,took us quite awhile but happy to say that we did,and now I know what I am looking for I can normally find her in under 5 minutes now,that said they do have a few other reptiles as well and do a very good line in monitors of which the Mertens Water Monitor are a favourite of mine,as for the challenge total we picked up a very nice 12 from here.

    Cotswold Wildlife Park 27/3/2016,after a 15 minute drive from crocs we arrived at CWP,now this place is one of the best looking collections in the UK,the setting just has something about it.What can be said about the collection well one of the best Lemur collection for a starter,and a superb but small reptile house with some very nice species which of course gave us another 10 for the challenge.Worth noting that they have a pair of Giant Anteaters that I have not failed to see atleast 1 of since they arrived at the place.

    Cotswold Falconry Centre 27/3/2016,For its size this place packs a big punch in terms of what it keeps,not the biggest collection but when a collection contains 4 species of Caracara you have to give it respect,add to that Pygmy Falcon and a breeding pair of Hooded Vultures you have a place that is more than worth a visit,if you haven't visited I would recommend a visit,the owners and there staff also do a very could flying demo.

    Hoo Animal Farm Park 28/3/2016,Well this place has some nice stuff but I am not sure about how it does things,like taking people in on animal encounters with a hand reared Caracal,not alot I can say about this place apart from very home made and sometimes not in a good way.That said we did manage to pick up another 2 for the challenge.That said we couldn't have picked a worse day to visit as some of it was under a good couple of inches of water.

    Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park 28/3/2016,a cracking superb little collection with a fabulous mammal collection,birds isn't so hot but still has a couple of nice crane species,but for me its the herp collection that wins hands down,the on show is good but off show is probably even better,as a result we managed to add another 3 for the challenge.Given this place is council run its a credit to the City of Birmingham,also the cafe is pretty good the food is basic but excellent!

    Dudley Zoo 28/3/2016,we decided to give this place a quick visit.Have to say I used to think Dudley was going somewhere under Peter Suddock,now I think its starting to stagnate again,but we will wait and see,still has some nice bits to see like the Geladas in a very fine enclosure on the side of a very steep hillside.On the side of the challenge we managed to pick up a very nice 6,including what to me is one of the highlights of its collections in the form of the Coahuilan Box Turtle.During the visit we saw the redesigned Flamingo enclosure and all I can say is yes the new house is alot better than what they had and if the weather is bad people can now still see them,the rest of what they have done for me does nothing to improve things.Now for the food review here well too me its always very hit and miss it can be okay or it can be awful.

    So at the end of a mental Easter my herp challenge total stood at 174,but I had a couple of outstanding ids which were all confirmed in favour of what we thought they were.Would I do something like that again may be may be not.
     
    Brum, Giant Panda and TeaLovingDave like this.
  9. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    1 Dec 2007
    Posts:
    15,091
    Location:
    Abbotsford, B.C., Canada
    I just wanted to say that I'm finding this thread a very enjoyable read. There is nothing like seeing a long list of mini zoo reviews...thanks!
     
  10. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    6,513
    Location:
    Middlewich,Cheshire U.K
    Right we now move in to the second quarter of the year this month wasn't quiet as mad as March,but still got to a good number of collections that we hadn't visited yet in the year,so I will stop wittering and start with,

    Chester Zoo 2/4/2016,This visit too place on a very cold day and was done in the company of Shorts and his good lady wife,both of whom had not dome Chester since the opening of Islands and they were making use of my inside knowledge,on how to get round it before the crowds got too bad.It was in the master of the UK challenge that I added another 2 my total,including the Black-breasted Leaf Turtle,that I had been waiting for some time to see!It was a pleasant day in good company we didn't get all the way round we just saw what had changed since there last visit which was over 2 years ago,and yes even though it was cold I did have an Ice Cream and I will recommend the Honeycomb.

    Blackpool Zoo 10/4/2016,Now normally I am never at this place for opening,but we had a plan to get somewhere else!Now Blackpool is very much an ABC zoo but with a few nice odd bits like King Colobus,Ground Cuscus and Central American Agouti,but the species that I always spend a bit of time watching is the North American Porcupine,looking at them you would never believe that they were good climbers.As look would have it they also have a small reptile collection which added another 4 towards the challenge.Again the food is basic but good.Another little tip is if you want to see the Belangers Tree Shrew you have to go in the dinosaur park area of the zoo,but luckily you don't have to go far and you can escape pretty much un scared bt the experience of what have to be the worst looking dinosaurs in a UK zoo.

    Williamson Park Butterfly House 10/4/2016,After a rather interesting journey on a road that ran through the middle of a marsh that was one in which the water level rises and falls depending on the tide,well given that we had more than a little rain,the water levels were a little high we did see a couple of cars partial submerged on another road and we just got through and started climbing as the water crossed the main road!I had never visited this place I went with no preconceived idea as to what it would be like.First off its a bit of a walk from the car park up some very steep paths but the view from up top over Lancaster below is excellent,now the cost is under a fiver and worth every penny of it,there are a few exhibits outside one of which is Meerkats enough said,but they did have a couple of aviarys(Patagonian Conure and a species of Parrotlet) and a very nice walk through which you enter after exiting the reptile and discovery centre,and of course it also has its butterfly house.Now the surprise was that it actually had a pretty good little Reptile collection which totaled 15 species,of which 3 were required and added to the total for the challenge.

    My total for the challenge at this point now stood at 184.I will cover the rest of March another night,because it was all done in the company of a my good friend from the Netherlands Kifaru Bwana,who had traveled over to attend the Walk and Talk with Tim Rowlands at Chester Zoo,but he arrived a few days early so we decided to get a few other collections in with him while he was stopping at mine!
     
    TeaLovingDave likes this.
  11. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    16 May 2010
    Posts:
    6,536
    Location:
    Wilds of Northumberland
    As can I :p
     
  12. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2012
    Posts:
    1,915
    Location:
    England
    Funny, I must have missed you by minutes at Cotswold on 27/3, as I went to Cotswold followed by Crocs of the world instead! Thanks for the mention earlier that I was actually leading the challenge for a while ( I'm well known for fading though!).
     
  13. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    6,513
    Location:
    Middlewich,Cheshire U.K
    Myself and Ophidia noted that at the time!This challenge was never going to be one if a few months,and at this point my plans could still have gone wrong,but then we still had my trump card of Thylo stopping with me in the summer,as it was going to get me to places I wouldn't have got to if he wasn't with me!
     
  14. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    6,513
    Location:
    Middlewich,Cheshire U.K
    Well the next part of April starts with a Chester Zoo members talk on 20th April given by Gerardo Garcia Chester Curator of Lower vertebrate and invertebrates,this was an excellent talk after which a very good talk was had with Mr Garcia,of which I and a few others are still waiting for things said to us to come good!It was before this talk that my good friend Kifaru Bwana,just about managed to make the talk having had a few transport issues with our wonderful transport network,having flown in for Tim Rowlands walk and talk on the Sunday,once we arrived back at mine for a good nights sleep,ready for 4 days of zoo visiting!

    Peak Wildlife Park 21/4/2016,Well for me this was a chance to show Kifaru Bwana a collection he last saw as Blackbrook,on a personal point the most exciting thing was having one of the Black and White Ruffed Lemurs they have decide that one of my trainers needed licking clean,which mean't I had stand still until she had finished,but it did mean we had quite a chat with the keeper in the exhibit,about the Lemurs they had.I think that the fact that last time KB visited we spent over 3 hours at Blackbrook,and this time we spent just over an hour and had been round the whole site twice says it all,when taken into account I couldn't move for 25 minutes of that!So we pushed on to Twycross so that myself,Bongorob and KB could see the new Gibbon complex!

    Twycross Zoo 21/4/2016,Well what a very pleasant surprise Gibbon Forest was,while we didn't see any Gibbons outside we saw them all inside,and had to say I was impressed to see that it was a very good addition to the zoo,and I am happy to say that at long last Twycross is heading in the right direction,and that pleases me no end given my past history with the place.While visiting I wasn't expecting to pick anything up for the challenge but much to my surprise a European Pond Turtle was spotted in the Flamingo Pool.So my total now stood at 185.

    Chester Zoo 22/4/2016,a nice relaxing visit and a chance to show KB Islands for the first time!As we wouldn't have had chance on the day of the walk and talk.

    Knowsley Safari Park 23/4/2016,well what can I say about this place a part from I do not like being looked at like tinned food,by large cats.The highlight of the visit was having a chat with KarooCheetah discussing the study work that she is doing on the Eland herd they have.Also I enjoyed seeing just how much better the European Moose enclosure looks with some leaves on the trees,that said the Moose can be hard to spot even when they don't.

    Martin Mere WWT 23/4/2016,well we had time to kill and KB hadn't been before so we,decided to visit as ever it was a pleasure I do have soft spot for this place,but was sad to see the new woodland exhibit still hadn't been finished.

    Chester Zoo 24/4/2016,walk and talk what more can I say apart from thank you Tim Rowlands for doing these,if you haven't done one before you have no idea what you are missing.The chance to see and here about the zoo from a different view point is something that I never take for granted,as it comes from somebody that has forgotten more than any of us on here will ever know about the running of a zoo!
     
  15. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    6,513
    Location:
    Middlewich,Cheshire U.K
    Now on to May which those of you that know me was a quiet month for zoo visiting,as I was distracted with activities to do with the 75th anniversary of the formation of the Air Training Corps,but despite this got a few places in,so here goes the month of May.

    Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens 1/5/2016,This place I have a soft spot for and have ever since my first visit way back in the 90s,any where that keeps large Crocodilians is good with me of which their pair of Muggers are a favorite,the place has a very unique feel to the place because of it design,the place mostly specialises in Asian species,except when it comes to Crocs as they have a very good group of large American Alligators.To me its always a joy to see how other people view a place for the first time when you know the place well,and I have to say I think both Ophidia and Nisha,enjoyed this cracking little place as much as me,again I have to sorry to the pair of them this time due to me going into geek mode over the Pangassi that are kept in the Crocodile Swamp House.We added another 5 for the challenge including King Ratsnakes which I have a soft spot for,and is a species that I was sad that Chester went out of for a pet shop species in the form of Asian Water Dragon!!

    Amazona Zoo 1/5/2016,Again this place was a place that the other 2 hadn't been tp before,it wasn't long into the visit round here,that they noticed that the design looked a bit like Thrigby,which is understanding as until 12 months ago it was owned by Thrigby and had in fact been built by them,have to say I like this place as it does have a few species that you don't see very often in UK collections.It didn't give much for the challenge but I can live with seeing just the 1 species for the challenge when that species is a Matamata!They have a pretty good collection of Cats,that includes Puma,Jaguar and Jaguarundi among the species they have.

    Hunstanton Sealife Centre 1/5/2016,This was a place that none of us had visited before,and after this visit it now means its only Oban and London that I haven't visited,which given on the whole I am not a fan of sealife centres amazes me that I have done so many.Now the place actually surprised us it wasn't to bad,but the biggest shock for me was that I saw 2 herps for the first time.What didn't surprise me was that the staff didn't know what some of the stuff they had was,and just believed the RSPCA knew what they were looking at as they had said all the Turtles in with the Cuviers Dwarf Caiman were Yellow-bellied Slider,which they weren't some were but the others were False Maps,Red-eared Slider and the big surprise was a single Jamaican Slider,added to that seeing a Banded Water Snake for the first time made it not a bad visit at all,when you add that we gained another 4 for the challenge putting the total for me now at 195,which mean't with a bit of luck I could pass the 200 mark before the end of May!

    Chester Zoo 22/5/2016,Well having checked my notes nothing was seen for the challenge a part from the first Sand Lizard of the year,so all I can say is that its Chester!

    The Tropical Butterfly House,Wildlife and Falconry Centre 28/5/2016,Now this is a small collection that does things its own way,but it does have a nice Tropical House which has some nice herps and some very nice mammals in it like Straw-coloured Fruit Bat and Kellens Dormouse,now in terms of totals for the challenge I managed to get another 6,so the 200 mark had been passed.Now the outside parts of the collection in places is a bit strange not sure why but on the whole it seems to work,its worth bearing in mind that the place is very child friendly with lots of things design round kids having fun.

    Ponderosa Rural Therapeutic Centre 28/5/2016,Yes it is a strange name but myself,Bongorb and Ophidia were only visiting because we knew they had a very odd Squirrel in the form of Pegu Red Squirrel and a pair of Little Screaming Armadillo,the place has been set up as a centre to help people with special needs,but its not a bad little collection and was certainly far better built than we expected,another 3 were picked up for the challenge one of which I later discovered was another sub-species of a type of Kingsnake I had already seen,but it got replaced by a lizard at Gentleshaw in June,if you are in the area I will say the place is worth a little visit,and for the money you pay its good value,but even with a sat nav its a sod to find!!!

    Tropical World Leeds 28/5/2016,Amazing what a local council can do if they put there mind to having a collection,this place has a superb little nocturnal house which is worth visiting for alone,Add to that a pretty good Bird and Reptile collection,which added another 2 on the day and later in the year another Turtle once I had worked it out!Nice place has a cracking little cafe along side it if you have time to pop in.

    Pudsey Park Aviary Leeds 28/5/2016,They used to have Common Marmosets and some very nice birds here,now it is all native birds and European Rabbit,but still nice to see native birds for a change and to top it off its free to visit!

    Exmoor Zoo 29/5/2016,Probably the best small zoo in the UK,depending on what you like,if its Cats then if there is a better collection for them in the UK I will be surprised,but add to that Indo-Chinese Binturong,Tayra and New Guinea Singing Dogs and a very good collection of Ibis despite moving a few species on.They have a small but pleasant little reptile house which add 1 in the form of a very old Blue-tailed Monitor.I can highly recommend the food in the cafe,my personal choice is the Chocolate Brownie!

    Tropiquaria 29/5/2016,this has one of the most unique buildings in any zoo,as the main building is an old Radio Station building,and still has the mast on top of it and is listed,so has to retain the mast!This place to me is hidden little gem,as it has what has to be one of the best aquariums of any collection in the UK,this mainly been due to the fact it doesn't keep many species much bigger than 3 inches in length,but does have a superb collection of very small fish species that you don't see very often.I added another 2 for the challenge.If you have kids and are in the Minehead area visit the place as it has some of the best Kids play areas I have ever seen in a collection in the UK.They also have a very good Lemur collection to see and keep your eyes open for the free roaming Standings Day Geckos in the Tropical House!

    That is the end of May the challenge total now stood at a pretty good 210.
     
    KevinVar and Johnny Morris. like this.
  16. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    16 May 2010
    Posts:
    6,536
    Location:
    Wilds of Northumberland
    The main reason I hope to get there at some point or another!

    It's also worth noting that even in the outside portions of the collection, there are a fair few relatively unusual species - including a rather well-done exhibit for Bank Vole!
     
  17. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18 Jun 2011
    Posts:
    909
    Location:
    London, UK
    It is better to get a very big shock from a turtle.
     
    Tim May, Swampy, KevinVar and 2 others like this.
  18. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    6,513
    Location:
    Middlewich,Cheshire U.K
    Yes alot less volts involved!!
     
    KevinVar likes this.
  19. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    6,513
    Location:
    Middlewich,Cheshire U.K
    Right now onto June and the first few weeks of July<i didn't have much time to do much this month again due to cadets getting in the way again,at least the 75th anniversary will not cause me any problems next year,by getting in the way of zoo visiting!

    Gentleshaws Wildlife Centre 5/6/2016,this was a quick drop into have a word with Trigger with regards to renewing our ABWAK cards.At the same time we had a chat about some Birds of Prey that had been seized by the courts and the RSPCA.Sorry to say that last I heard despite Triggers best efforts they lost one,but not because of anything they had done,but because of the RSPCA expert vets!!!

    British Wildlife Rescue Centre 19/6/2016,well this place is part of the Amerton Farm complex of attractions.I have been trying to think of something that I can say that isn't negative about this place,apart from the very good Parrot aviary's that they have,yes I did say parrot and yes I know they aren't native,but they do have some most are common pets species,but they did have Derbyan Parakeet when I visited.The highlight is a Gannet that cannot be released back into the wild.But the rest of the place is best described as sub standard,and in my view gives a bad name to rescue centres,and gives its visitors the wrong impression of what sort of quality their animals need to live in,as too me many of them would be better off else where.On a positive note they have a very good bakery and farm shop on site,and for those that like Railways the Amerton farm Railway is a very good little 2 foot gauge set up.

    Gentleshaws Wildlife Centre 19/6/2016,Visited to say thanks to Trigger for sorting out ABWAK and to see the newly arrived Asian Garden Lizard,did manage to see it but failed to get any pictures due to it hiding on the wrong side of the branch everytime you got close enough to get a picture.

    Chester Zoo 2/7/2016,Well this visit was due to the fact I hadn't visited for a month,was also a chance to check on where stuff was that Thylacine Alive(From now on known as thylo) wanted to see when he came over to the UK.Alos as far as I was concerned the food quality had still not improved!
     
  20. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Sep 2007
    Posts:
    6,513
    Location:
    Middlewich,Cheshire U.K
    Right the rest of July,didn't do much until the end due to cadets still getting in the way,but that would all change after the 27th when I had the pleasure of picking Thylo up at Crewe Railway station,after he had traveled up from London.As some of you will have realised Thylo was going to spend a good amount of his time in the UK with me,having spent along time over and over 12 months of helping him to plan his trip,things were now about to get very hectic.

    Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park 28/7/2016,It was decided that we would start at a place that wouldn't take long to reach in the morning to give Thylo a good mights sleep.So we duly arrived at the place in time for opening and were joined by Nayer and Ophidia.Now we had a very pleasant walk round but I had arranged an off-show visit of the herp collection,so that Thylo could see some of the gem that they only hold off-show,I think its safe to say he enjoyed seeing such species as Mandarin Ratsnake,2 species of Bamboo Ratsnake and a Brown Mangrove Snake.I would like to thank mine Ophidias good friend for his time showing us the herps.It was during been shown the herps that Thylo informed us that he had never been off-show in any zoo,boy was that going to change during his time with me!Also if I could have counted the off-show stuff for the challenge I would have added another 5,but I couldn't so they will have to remain off my total.

    Rodbaston Animal Zone 28/7/2016,Now we lost Ophidia after we had finished BWCP.But the 3 of us went on to see a few Owls and I was surprised to see that they had moved alot of them round,and that they had moved the Black-banded Owls on-show but taken the Ethiopian Eagle Owl off,but Nayer had a word with a member of staff and explained that Thylo had traveled over to see it and we got taken off-show to see Cugat,so as a result of this he got to see the Ethiopian Eagle Owl and saw more new species of Owls than he had ever seen in any US zoo.I think Thylo had never seen a place like this before but it is a pleasant enough place with some nice odd stuff.

    Gentleshaw Wildlife Centre 28/7/2016,Now not the most obvious places for somebody that had traveled over from the US to visit but it had a good number of species that he had never seen before,and it was an easy fit to add on to what we had already done in the rest of the day,but again I had arranged a little surprise in the form of us getting a chance to have a close encounter with Quaver the New Guinea Singing Dog.

    Chester Zoo 29/7/2016,Well this was a serious mob handed visit as we had Ophidia,Nisha,Gentle Lemur and Bongorob join us to see this fine zoo.Now picked up another 2 for the challenge all of which had been put on-show since my last visit.We had a very pleasant day showing Thylo the joys of Chester,I don't think we missed seeing anything that Thylo wanted to see,and he sampled the ice cream which he agreed lived up to the hype that we had said about it,after the visit to the zoo we payed a visit to the Wheatsheaf Pub and had a meal.Thylo also joined Chester as a member as we worked out it would save hin a fair bit on entrances during his trip.

    Living Coasts 30/7/2016,Now Thylos Chester membership started getting its money back for him.My sat nav still thinks the car park is in the sea,I always enjoy this place and showing Thylo round it was no different.

    Shaldon Zoo 30/7/2016,Again a style of collection that Thylo had seen nothing like in the US,but happily we got to see most things but the Margay was a fail as was the Prevost Squirrel,but since my earlier visit in the year they had added Blue Tre Monito so another 1 was added for the challenge,also thanks to Thylo we spotted a Blue-legged Mantella which is a species that is a mythical species at Chester I don't know any member that has seen then yet<I also know that more than a few staff are yet to see them and they work in the zoo!!!

    Paignton Zoo 30/7/2016,Thylo had a list of species that he wanted to see,and I am pleased to say that he saw them all,for some reason Ophidia and myself didn't get all the way round the zoo,probably because we got side tracked talking with a good friend.Including seeing a few bits we shouldn't but luckily Gentle Lemur had joined us and he used his now local knowledge to help in making sure Thylo saw the zoo.The Herp were now on-show in the desert house but they added nothing for the challenge.

    Now Nisha,Thylo and myself didn't have to travel all the way back up north as for the next few days we would be stopping at a friend of mine so we could do a few of the places in the South West.

    Paradise Park Hayle 31/7/2016,Well we arrived abit early in Hayle so Thylo and myself did a little bit of birding on the Hayle estuary while Nisha got some beauty sleep in the car!Now the was the first collection of Thylo visit that I hadn't visited this year yet,so here goes a bit about the place,if you like Parrots this is certainly one of the best places in the UK,in fact any where that has a St Vincent Amazon has to be taken seriously.A few new aviarys were under construction including one for Ground Hornbills. The place has a very balanced collection of birds,it also has a few mammals and reptiles but nothing for the challenge.Again alot of species were seen by Thylo for the first time and we didn't fail to see anything,even if one of the views was just the tails of one of the Lorikeets just diving in its nest box.

    Newquay Zoo 31/7/2016,I love this place one of the finest small collections in the country,if I had to pick fault it would be the size of the Lion enclosure but for a couple of ancient Zoo African Lions its fine,and when you get to see Owstons Palm Civets active in the Nocturnal House,in fact seeing these active and about as they were Ophidia said made it worth his while getting up at stupid o clock to join us at Newquay.We managed to pick up another 5 for the challenge,and I have to say for its size Newquay has probably the best small but choice reptile collections in the UK,with breeding Black Tree Monitor,along with Vine Snake,Giant Forest Dragon and Jackson's Three-horned Chameleon which had just had young which we were very privileged to be taken off show to see,I would just like to thank the staff at Newquay for their help and kindness during our visit,as I know his new boss will be reading this thread and so all I will say is you have a good one here just let him carry on doing what he is doing and back him doing it!

    Newquay Blue Reef Aquarium 31/7/2016,We weren't sure if we would have time to do this one,but having gone round Newquay 3 times we decided to give it a shot,so we left Ophidias car at the zoos car park and drove down to the town centre where the place is situated on the sea front,Now since this place has been a Blue Reef instead of a sealife it has always had a very nice collection of tropical inverts,I am pleased to say it still does.Its not a big Aquarium and can be done without rushing in about an hour,also managed to pick up another 3 for the challenge of which the highlight was Loggerhead Turtle.

    Now before we headed back to drop Ophidia off at his car we decided to pick up a proper Cornish Pasty,to show Thylo this unique food of the area,while we were eating our pasty we saw a train session for the local dragon boats happening out in the bay.That is it for July August to follow soon!
     
    TeaLovingDave likes this.