My lovely lovely parents bought me a year's membership for Auckland Zoo for Christmas. Admittedly, it was probably inspired by their recent jaunts (it was getting ridiculous! I'd get a text or phone call and mother would casually mention "Oh, we're at the zoo", but they knew I liked going). So, I went yesterday afternoon to try it out a bit.
The servals were gorgeous, and took turns to come out and pace around. I got my favourite photos of the day with them. So I made postcards (and being useless, that seems to be all I'm making out of my photos lately!)
I love the last one - he just looks so annoyed!
On the downside, it was hot, there were many small children, and people speaking in tongues everywhere being in the way and touristy to the point where I had to give up on photos at a couple of exhibits (funnily, one French woman kept ending up at the same exhibits as me!) and sadly, the penguin/shorebird area, the aquarium and aviary are all currently being rebuilt.
I skipped the Walkabout and Primate section entirely, because it was hot, I had a bus to catch in only a couple of hours (the zoo closes at 5.30) and my camera batteries were dying. I hate walking around with no camera! But I didn't mind skipping bits at all, because I fully intend to return at every opportunity (although realising later that the second otter pen was in that area - the one with the family of otters, cause two new ones were born last year - makes me a little sad).
A lot of the animals were hiding or dozing in the heat. The tigers are usually pretty boring as they lurk up the back a lot, but I always go look at them because they are magnificent when they do come out to play. I also always go into the nocturnal Kiwi house because it's right by the entrance - but having been in a dozen or so around the country, and the one at zoo many times, it's completely automatic now and I tend to just keep walking through and straight out again.
I did get really lucky with the otters though! There are two females in a pen next to the tigers and the cafe (with the giant snake slide) and I usually don't see them. But this time when I walked past, they were both playing out the front - one came right up and chirped at people, and the sun on the water made a really good backdrop. The other is one my dad likes (and asked after) - the clockwise otter. She spent about half an hour turning and swimming in clockwise circles! I got a few great photos, too. I noticed later (too busy focusing and playing 'guess where it will jump next' with the camera at the time) that they both have shaved sections on their throats - guess they were visiting the vet!
The two cheetah brothers were snuggled up together - one kept putting his head down and wriggling, or curling up in an 'I want to submit this to Lolcats' way, while the other just watched us, and occasionally they both waved the tips of their tails around like big fluffy fans, languidly, in front of their faces.
Ridiculous photo of the day goes to this flamingo. It's all angles and Escher bends!
It was quite interesting actually - all the flamingoes were dozing, and a couple were sitting like this. When they got up, they actually put their heads down and pushed off with their beaks.
Round the corner from the flamingoes (I went out via Pridelands) I ran into two families of tiny chicks, with their mother. They like that area, and seem to come under the fence from the wetlands and poultry section next door. And in the hedge along the lion's enclosure (which I also didn't see) were a couple of pink bottlebrush flowers, which I took the chance to exploit for my token macro images of the day. I was rather pleased with them, actually!
some kind of tour of Auckland Zoo - unfortunately, most of my photos got moved onto my new hard drive last week, which I didn't bring to my parents' house for Christmas! So it's only half done. It is the project that led to me finally reviewing my camera though! (A Pentax X70, if you wondered - ideal for zoo photography!).