Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chester Zoo

Blimey I'm away for a while and come back to a completely different template.  I've no idea how this will come out on the actual blog once I've published it - so it's probably just as well that I only plan to put up some photos I took during my first ever visit to a zoo here in England.

On Tuesday we (Daphne, Stephen and yours truly) set off for Chester which has the largest zoo in the UK.  About 3 years ago, I'd 'given' Daphne a trip to the zoo as a birthday present and only now were we able to go.

I wasn't impressed.  With the zoo I mean.  I'd been to a couple in America (Atlanta and San Diego) and I guess I'd been expecting a bit more from Chester. It seemed "old school" and despite putting the animals comfort above that of the visitors, hadn't got the balance quite right, IMHO.

Frequently we had to view them through small, badly maintained glass panels so a lot of the time we could hardly see the animals.  The worst for this was the penguin enclosure.  Yes they had a larger glass viewing panel where we could see them both above and below the water but the ratio was 10/90 and the water was so murky and the glass so dirty that often a penguin would suddenly appear like the Marie Celeste coming out of a fog bank and it was impossible to see much, let alone compose a photo, before it swam off again.

I'd taken my dSLR and 200m zoom lens as my compact Nikon, which actually has a much longer zoom, was still in a garage in northern Spain.  Don't ask !  

Anyway I got some half decent photos.....and even a couple of shots of one penguin through a small viewing slit.  It was sunshine and showers weather but we didn't let that spoil our day out.  We loved the bird and butterfly enclosures best (well after our glasses and camera lenses had acclimatised to the heat and humidity) and the bat house (not cave) was both fun and educational thanks to the staff member on hand to answer questions.  I loved that to make her presence known, she wore an illuminated STAFF badge....easily the brightest thing in the house !

So thanks to Daphne and Stephen for taking me along and it really was a good day out - but we could've done without the 6 hr round trip to cover the paltry 170 miles. Driving anywhere near Manchester is a nightmare.

Anyway, here is a selection of the photos I usual, click to enlarge.

I know what you're thinking......where are all the other animals ?  Well for one thing the zoo is only open for 7 hrs at this time of year and we 'lost' 30 mins of that time getting there.  Then we had to eat and also when it rained, we had to shelter inside buildings with creatures whose environment didn't lend itself to photography.

Guess we'll just have to go again sometime !

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