Following yesterday’s post , after seeing the show that the peacocks have put on, we go to a part of the park where there are more birds.
Amongst them is the Abyssinian ground horn-bill, a very strange looking bird with bulging eyes, and pat of the ground horn-bill family of birds.
One of the keepers was busy feeding them when I arrived, she showed us the container she was feeding them from, a dead duckling was on it’s back inside, a bit of a shock for the children that nature is necessarily cruel and for one creature to survive another has to have died.
Being the only visitors in this section of the park we stayed and talked to the keeper for a while, these African birds are certainly very distinctive and unfortunately becoming ever more endangered.
Apenheul is mostly of course a monkey zoo so they count themselves lucky to have some of these birds in their care, all we can hope is that the wild populations and their habitats can be kept safe and that they can survive as a wild species too. In an enclosure close by there was a flock of strange looking birds, these were bald headed ibis and they looked curious, as if the feathers from the tops of their heads had fallen out unexpectedly.
There was an informational sign board close by, depicting Venetian masks of the “Plague Doctor” which share many of the features of these interesting looking birds.
The children marvelled at the “weirdness” of these birds and it was interesting to see how they looked at fairly close quarters. (the birds, not the children!)
From there was moved on to a giant apery area, we all liked this space and the birds but were getting so numb from the cold we lingered less than we would have liked.
All moaning about the cold stopped when we were greeted outside by the Golden Lion Tamarins, these amazing little monkeys had fiery manes on jet black torsos with hints of the flame colours creeping out in their legs and tails.
Several of these were astonishingly close o us in a tree, and extremely skittish, vanishing at speed at any loud noise or big movement, we had to stay very still to get photographs.
I think that it would be very hard to get this close outdoors in the crowded summer season. Leaving the Tamarins behind we finally reach the end of the park where we find a nearly deserted set of stalls and a roundabout. The kids didn’t mind being some of the only customers on the ride and we get some funny photographs for our private family album as they ham it up.
Before we know it we are at the bag return area… and the shop that beings us out at the main entrance again, so full circle. We warm up in the shop before heading back to the car, with the heating on full blast and quickly getting toasty and warm, we all agree on two things: first we have had a wonderful day and second, on a winter’s visit anywhere in the future we have to remember to bring enough scarves and gloves!