Blijdorp Zoo (Rotterdam)

 A few weeks back my dad suggested we go to the zoo and last friday came the first opportunity. As it was good friday we had gotten off of school and work. Aside from photography aspect that makes zoo’s so attractive I had not gone to a Zoo in around 7 years and just wanted to go again and see what it was like. There was also plenty of talk about shutting down the Zoo, or at least some parts of it due to budget cuts, and particularly considering that we lived so close it just made sense to have a little peek.

We made sure to get to the zoo at opening time at 9:00.  The vast majority of the people waiting there were parents with kids and only one group of two did not have children. They, incidentally it seemed came for the photography.

The day itself was actually quite nice, as it has been so far in the spring. In the morning it was nice and cool, perfect t-shirt weather and very comfortable to walk around in though closer to noon however it got quite hot particularly as we did quite a bit of walking.

We didn’t really go to the zoo with the intent on seeing anything in particular so we just headed to the first things we saw which included polar bears and an animal I think were called marmots. (pictured below) As is expected in animals that probably see thousands of visitors daily they were fairly unphased by our presence and we could get fairly close. We were close enough so as the exhibit (not sure if you can call an animal ‘habitat’ an exhibit though but it makes more sense then anything else i can think of) required a “carefull these animals bite sign” of course this was strategically placed so that anyone crawling through a little tunnel to get into the middle of the exhibit would have the sign next to the their head.

Much to the amusement of both my dad and sister of course was my fascination to some of the local birds. (first two from top) I can’t remember what they are called but many I’m sure will recognize them to be fairly common. Of course common as they may be I’ve always had trouble photographing little birds like these with my telephoto lens as they move too fast and are usually too small and too skittish. These of course just posed for me.

Aside from these birds however other birds which can be found everywhere in The Netherlands interested me a great deal and vice versa it seems they were quite interested in me as well. These were little ducklings. My dad and sister quickly called to me and told me that a two other photographers were shooting little ducklings. I don’t know too many people who don’t like ducklings and naturally I rushed over for the prospect. Apparently their mother was on the other side of a fence that they could just hop through. In a small group of around 10 they waddled around a small area. I came by lay down on the ground to get a good picture, and after a second of hesitation they all came rushing towards me. I only got one or two shots before the entire group just came too close to focus. They were very curious ducklings and poked their heads in between the lens hood trying to see what was in between and went all around me nibbling on my arms, shirt, pants and legs. I say nibbling but I’m not entirely sure how to describe it. It seemed as if they tried to nip me and then shake their bills on my arm. I barely felt it aside from a slight tickle but being surrounded by 10 curious ducklings was one of the best parts of the day. If i adjusted just a little bit, or moved my arm in one direction all the ducks would step back quickly, often tripping over their own legs getting out-of-the-way, only of course to return seconds later. Alas however there were other animals to see and we thus had to move on

This included numerous bird houses we could visit all of them offering various different types of birds. Many of them having names I cant quite remember. Below only a few are pictured.

The giraffes were one of the more interesting animals and at first sight at least seemed least upset by the situation they were placed in. They seemed to be a fairly curious bunch many of them venturing fairly close to the railing we stood on. This enabled me to take many close up shots of their faces. When we first arrived at the giraffe pen, area, thing, one of us commented on the interesting shape of these animals and wondered just how strange it might look to see them run. On the way past them we saw one gallop right into the giraffe pen (this time the closed off section of the giraffe habitat) Which was more than amusing. It was not so much funny though as interesting how such a large animal, especially one with such a shape can run. ( I mean no offense to the species of giraffes in general and do not hope my amusement and amazement of either their shape or manner/ capability of running offends either the giraffes themselves or anyone who cares for them.)

Not knowing where to put this picture of a rather happy meerkat I’m going to place it right here.

Shown here so far of course is only a fraction of the animals that we have seen and can be seen in this particular Zoo.  The following are a few of the many wild cats that can be found. Many of them are quite hard to spot, even in their fairly small areas. The tigers, as you can see at the top of this post were fairly young. A friend of mine was telling me how when he had gone to blijdorp two months before that they these tigers were really young and cute. You can still tell their not fully grown, but they have most certainly gotten bigger.

Speaking of hard to photograph animals though, the wolves were possibly the most difficult. They were rather active, howling and running around, you knew they were there, you just couldn’t get a clear shot of them.

Next on the list of course were the various different sorts of monkeys. I don’t have much to add although looking back at the pictures of the monkeys in the 2nd and 3rd pictures I have to admit I find them very interesting.

A few hours later it was getting rather hot and we had seen, or thought we had seen the vast majority of the animals. A short trip to the aquatic section and we were heading back again after a rather pleasant day.

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