Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Sunday Selections #310

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files.
 
The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life.  The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.  Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.  Clicking on any of the photos will make them embiggen.
 
Like River I usually run with a theme.  This week?  Those of you who saw my last post will not be surprised I am returning to the zoo.  


On our final morning at the zoo we were given a lavish breakfast before heading off on the second zoo tour.  I am not a big breakfast eater and wandered outside onto the terrace.  Despite the cloud and the early hour it was already hot.


Looking down from the terrace I could see into the white lion's enclosure.  They were up, but not moving fast.

First Jake* appeared, and ambled out of sight.  (* The guides called the animals by name when they were talking to or about them - which I liked.  They obviously had an emotional commitment to the animals in the zoo - which I loved.)



Then it was Mishka's turn.  She wandered down to the water's edge.









Then she too wandered under the overhang of the terrace and out of sight.  A few minutes later I heard noises behind me.

Turning around I discovered that Mishka had brought her ball to us.  It seems that their den is under the overhanging terrace and off it is the small enclosure you see in the next photos.  Do I like seeing anything behind bars?  No.  The difference on this occasion is that Mishka chose to be there, and could leave at any time.






And bars or not, she appeared to be completely relaxed.  Which was lovely.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Luxury and Big Cats

I am very glad to be able to report than the smaller portion loved his birthday surprise.  And he was surprised too.  I am also really glad I had managed to keep it secret.

So where did we go, and what did we do?

My city has a zoo.  A privately owned zoo, the National Zoo and Aquarium.  For a number of years they have been arranging animal encounters where you can meet, pat, feed the animals.  Some years back we patted cheetahs and fed a bear and a tiger.  Wonderful experiences.  This is the zoo my youngest brother volunteers at, and for a month each year he does 'work experience' and works there full time (describing himself as Australia's oldest work experience participant).

More recently they have introduced the Jamala Wildlife Lodge.  Visitors can stay in Jungle Bungalows, Giraffe Treehouses or the Ushaka Lodge and get up close and personal with the animals.  This trip I chose a Jungle Bungalow and the chance to sleep in close proximity to tigers, lions, cheetahs, bears or sun bears.  (And as an aside one of the zoo's sun bears was destined for bear-paw soup (an obscenity) before she was rescued and housed here.)  You are able to give preferences, but the final decision is made by the zoo staff.  Our first preference was to stay in the bungalow next to the tiger enclosure, but we were allocated the one next to the cheetah.  Were we disappointed?  Slightly, but only slightly.  And that disappointment wore off quickly.

The addition of Jamala Wildlife Lodge is a major step to bolster the programs that are run by the zoo.  A significant amount of the net proceeds from Jamala Lodge and animal encounters are donated to registered conservation funds that protect species in the wild, prevent habitat destruction and/or discourage poaching, including Free the Bears and the Snow Leopards Trust.  A commitment has been made that at least $100,000 will be donated this year.

 The website and brochures describe Jamala Wildlife Lodge as luxurious - and that it was.   At every point.

This was our bungalow.








The biggest luxury for us though was outside.  Every window overlooking the enclosure was full length.  Outside was Jura, an adolescent and very beautiful cheetah who from time to time cruised inches away from the windows much to our delight.











 Lucky, lucky, lucky.

Included in the booking were sumptuous refreshments, starting with afternoon tea when we arrived, canapes and drinks before dinner, a three course dinner and wine, and a wonderful buffet breakfast.

We also had the option of two zoo tours, with pleasant and knowledgeable guides.  We took up both options.  Of course.

The one in the afternoon was through the main part of the zoo, and included watching a number of animals receive treats from the guide.

The next, after breakfast the next day, started before the zoo was open to the public and took us to some newer (and as yet unopened) areas of the zoo.  And we got to feed some of the animals and give a wombat a scrootch on the top of its very bony head.  Bliss.

There are many, many photos to come but I am just going to show a few in this post of some of the other big cats.  It was a very hot day, and as cats do, they were mostly totally 'laxed.






And, remember I said that I had opted for this gift as an experience? When I booked I was asked whether it was a special occasion.  I mentioned it was the smaller portion's birthday treat, and they gave him a gift.

His own cheetah.



The attention to detail, and cheerful helpful attitudes helped to make this an experience to cherish.  And we do.  And will.  And neither of us have ruled out a return visit, despite the fact that considerable saving or a lottery win will be required.  The service and facilities were exemplary, and the experience amazing.  Sentiments which were echoed by every other guest I spoke to. 





Sunday, 8 January 2017

Sunday Selections #309

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files.
 
The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life.  The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.  Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.  Clicking on any of the photos will make them embiggen.
 
Like River I usually run with a theme.  This week?   I suppose it is a kind of a tribute to myself as a slow leaner.  All my life I have said I am not a terribly visual person.  Charts/graphs mean little to me.  I learn by reading rather than images.  However it has (finally) dawned on me that I spend my life looking at and for images.  I delight in changing light among other things.  And other minutiae.  So here are some of the things which have caught my eye recently.






The clouds came rolling in and it absolutely bucketed down briefly.  Very briefly.  I believe we had an inch of rain in less than half an hour.

After another storm later in the week I delighted in the light.  The road was steaming too.






 
I adore the architecture of spiders (you may need to embiggen to see their work).



And the sky.






The last two photos in that segment are reflections of the same sky.
And our avian visitors.



Not visual?  Colour me deluded.

And, in other news.  Himself has a significant birthday tomorrow.  We have too many 'things' and increasingly we give each other experiences as gifts.  Shared experiences.  For the past year I have been planning (and saving up for) an extravagant treat for himus.  We are heading off early this afternoon and will be back tomorrow afternoon.  I haven't yet told him about it, and hope he likes it as much as I expect.  Think big cats and luxury.  We both adore the big cats though I am probably the more luxury loving one of the two of us.  Photos will follow in the fullness of time.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Sunday Selections #308

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock, as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files.
 
The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life.  The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent.  Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.  Clicking on any of the photos will make them embiggen.
 
Like River I usually run with a theme.  This week?  I would be very, very remiss if I didn't start by wishing everyone a Very Happy New Year.  A much better year than the last, which was difficult for people the world over. 


However, 2016 is now 'cactus' (Australian slang meaning dead, useless, or broken) and we can hope for better things to come.  I do hope for better things to come.  In the interim I am also going to feature blooming cactus which, unlike the year that was, made me smile.

Starting with our night flowering cactus.  The blooms are huge - six or seven inches across, come out at night and last only one day.  I think the bud looks remarkably phallic - but that may be just me.










  
Not only is it a thing of beauty, it has a pleasant scent as well.  Which is at least partial recompense for the number of times I have inadvertently brushed the parent plant and its rotten spines have broken off in my flesh.

Also flowering at the moment is a much smaller cactus.  Unscented, but its flowers are much more prolific and last longer.







I hope the year(s) to come are full of wonderous things, love and laughter for us all.