Monday, 30 September 2013

Paignton Zoo Visit

A great day out at Paignton Zoo, even though the weather was dull and misty. If you have never been it's really worth a visit, one of the best zoos I have ever been to. The gardens are just beautiful and really enhance the environment for both visiting humans and the residents.

Recordings of bird song and animal noises play all along the walk from the car park right to the entrance. The Chilian Flamingos start the tour.

Then a walk along into the zoo past the Wetlands. Here is a Dalmatian Pelican.

I had booked on a fantastic all day photography course at Paignton Zoo, sadly not enough people signed up and it was cancelled. However Paignton Zoo and the photographer Mark from Evolve Photography were great and offered me a free visit to the zoo and a mini photography class.

The lions were having a rest from the rain and this was the best image I could get. Mark advised on how to avoid including the the wire on the enclosures.

In the image below you can just see a slight wobble in the image in the top right, that's the wire-but it's hardly noticeable. The camera wanted to focus on it rather than the subject, so it takes a few go's and also a bit of moving around to get the lens looking through the hole to catch the animal in focus.

Here the wire was unavoidable but the Zebras are lovely

Beautiful Rothschild's Giraffs. Sadly the new born giraff calf died in August this year.

A couple of the camels taking it easy-probably had a busy weekend!

This is Duchess an 42 year old African Elephant and the only remaining elephant at Paignton Zoo.

She has had a lot of problems with her eyes, glaucoma meant she and had to have an eye removed a few years ago and this year successfully had a cataract removed. After her mate died a few years ago Duchess has been on her own-although this is not an ideal situation, with her failing eye sight and age the Zoo felt it would be too difficult for her to accept more elephants to the enclosure. Her keepers look after her very well and she has really bonded with them as her companions.

Just managed to get an image of one of the cheetas. It was having a rest at the back of the enclosure.

The marvellously entertaining baboons

A giant tortoise taking it easy

 .........and eating some grass

One of the lovely gibbons. I had to wait ages for it to come out from between the branches and it's quite far away, but was delighted I got it.

Two kangaroo, who had just had a bit of a boxing match. They were deep in the undergrowth, and it was very dark, so it took a few go's to get this image.

A real challenge taking this image as this little monkey was in an inside enclosure. Most of the photos I took were just black at first.

Not a great quality image but I like the contrast of their pale colour against the lovely dark tree

Look at this cute little fella

I'll end now with a few of the plants and flowers around the zoo

It was all very scary as I shot the whole lot in full manual mode! It took quite a while to work it all out. These are the best photos from the day, but I must say there were quite a few under or over exposed, blurred or just plain rubbish!

Congratulations to Mark and Natasha who were married on 20th September. Thanks so much for showing me around Paignton Zoo today, showing me the tricks of the trade and being such good company. It was lovely to meet you both.

Hope you have enjoyed this post on Paignton Zoo
Hello and welcome to new follower Country Rabbit
bye for now

Friday, 27 September 2013

Brixham Sunday Market

Another beautiful sunny day so I went off to see the stalls at Brixham's new-ish Sunday Market. It's really coming along nicely and I hope we can attract more stalls as it progresses into next year.

I was there quite early so some of the stalls were still setting up

These scones probably don't look it, but they are huge!

Although the stall holder looks very grumpy in this photo his stall is lovely and the cakes are delicious. I bought a ginger cake and it was mouth watering.

The pizza over all fired up ready for the day

The West Country Deli Stall. This is a new deli which is now open in Brixham. The owners worked so hard to get the shop ready themselves and have been promoting their new venture by having a stall at the market for a while.

Here is Mrs Wescotts Honey Products with a bigger stall than last time. Last time  I bought a lovely chutney and a lip protector which is so soft.

Lovely bread for sale and its delicious too

Another great stall selling deli products

I took these photos a few weeks ago. The market has its final Sunday soon, until next summer. I think the Brixham Chamber of Commerce has worked very hard to get the market going and I really look forward to it coming back next year hopefully well supported by stall holders and visitor.

I took a walk back home along the marina

More great work from the Pride In Brixham volunteers


I spotted this unusual weather vane on top of one of the houses along the marina which used to be Uptons Boat Yard years ago. The middle picture on the blog header shows what the development looks like now.

I hope this sunny post has made you feel less like winter is approaching!
Have a good weekend all

Friday, 20 September 2013

Beautiful September Day & Hedgehog Alert

Such a beautiful day today, sunny, warm, with a light breeze and just a perfect day to spend in the garden. So that's what I did!

I've been talking with my nature friendly neighbour next door about hedgehogs. She's been very lucky to have them in her garden this year and has been feeding them.

This next photo is an alert for all of you with netting in your garden. This poor little fella was completely snared and happily my neighbour was able to cut it free. Our recycling bins have these nets, so now I always tuck them into the boxes.

I have alerted the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, my local council and the RSPB and as my neighbour got this good quality picture the BHPS are going to use it in their alert.

I managed to catch a few butterflies and bees with the camera this afternoon.

Hope you can see the butterflies tongue just curling under in this image

This bee is tucked inside the flower-the whole plant has been full of bees today

Deciding that I need to do more for the poor hedgehogs whose numbers are fast reducing (a 95% reduction since the 1970s) I made a hedgehog hibernation box. Also built a couple of wooden arches so that they can travel between our gardens. 15cm square in size is perfect for openings and holes.

I found the old wine box in the garage when we moved, but as it has woodworm, I could not bring it into the house, so this is a perfect use for it. My next job is to speak with my garden neighbours as we share the boundaries and could in theory connect our gardens up...I hope they say yes.

This is a lovely website, Hedgehog Street

And a great video on how to help hedgehogs in your garden

Here are a few flowers in the garden looking lovely even in late September. The temperature was a wonderful 24 degrees today. I'm still watering pots and my new tree. Autumn does not feel like it's arrived in Brixham yet.


 A very large clematis providing nectar for the last bees about

 Rose hip

 The passion flower fruit...never had so many

 Still got the slow worms

 My crab apple, not many fruit this summer

Whatever the weather, hope you have a good weekend