On 4th and 5th April, we found ourselves hosting our son's two daughters, Amelia and Jessica. As a previously scheduled visit to Tropical Birdland in Desford (14 miles / 23 km from our home) had been cancelled at short notice due to one of the girls being ill, and the girls were keen to visit this place, we decided that the Wednesday would be the day to take them, even though the weather was forecast to be dull and showery. This was also to be Lindsay's first outdoor adventure of any significant duration since her knee operation.
We arrived soon after opening time to find the car park already well populated with visitors' vehicles.
It was heartening to see a Red-and-green Macaw high up in a tree beside the car park - clearly a free-flying bird. As the girls were eager to get in to the place, I didn't have time to wait for it to turn round, so only got a very colouful rear view! If my ID is correct, this is a species of forests and woodlands of northern and central South America.
|Red-and-green Macaw (Ara chloropterus)|
PLEASE NOTE:- I did not make any notes about the birds we saw while at Tropical Birdland, so have done my best to ID their species from my photographs. It is more than likely that I have made a mistake somewhere, and would be grateful for any corrections. I will say a few words about ID tools at the end of this blog post.
Not so heartening to see, before reaching the entrance kiosk, was an enclosure containing a pair of Snowy Owl. Knowing how this primarily Arctic species, in the wild, will cover enormous distances, seeing them confined in this way was a little upsetting.
|Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) (male)|
|Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) (female)|
Having paid to get in and bought a tub of nuts for each of us, we entered the main area. The first bird that we encountered was an Orange-winged Amazon. This was clambering up the outside of a cage, and then entered the cage to join a congener. This is a bird from tropical South America and its habitat is forest and semi-open country.
|Orange-winged Amazon (Amazona amazonica)|
|Red-shouldered Macaw (Diopsittaca nobilis)|
We next found ourselves back into an area with birds in enclosures.
The Orinoco Goose is found in every mainland South American country except Chile, French Guiana, Suriname, and Uruguay and has a 'near threatened' status.
|Orinoco Goose (Neochen jubata)|
|Chilean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis)|
|Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber)|
|Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis)|
The Military Macaw is native to forests of Mexico and South America, and its status is 'vulnerable'.
|Military Macaw (Ara militaris)|
|Mealy Amazon sp. (Amazona sp.)|
|Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus)|
|Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao)|
|Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii)|
We move over to New Guinea for the next species - Black-capped Lory. The conservation status of this small parrot is 'least concern'. In the area we were in, it seemed to stay on perches out of reach of the many humans around it.
|Black-capped Lory (Lorius lory)|
The Black-headed Parrot (or Black-headed Caique in aviculture circles) inhabits the canopy, clearings, and edges of humid lowland tropical forests of northern South America and the status of this small parrot is one of 'least concern'.
|Black-headed Parrot (Pionites melanocephalus)|
|White-bellied Parrot (Pionites leucogaster)|
|Jessica and Amelia - Tropical Birdland|
|Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa)|
As mentioned above, I did not take any notes about the birds during our visit, although there were infomative notes on the enclosures of those birds that were so confined.
Relatively recently, I have been using the 'Obsidentify' app. on my phone for ID of many items in nature that I am not familiar with. This has, in general, been surprisingly good. However, when I came to use this app on the birds from this visit it failed miserably - unbelievably, the best it could come up with for that image of the Mealy Amazon, above, was that there was a 25% chance that it was a Common Sandpiper!!!!!! Possibly it was expecting to be ID'ing subjects from northern Europe, or even more local than that.
In a comment on the blog of my good friend, David Gascoigne, I noticed that someone was recommending the use of Google to identify where the shot of a monument was located. I tried this on some fairly obscure monuments and was amazed at how quickly it accurately identified these locations. I then tried it on some wildlife subjects and was extremely impressed.
If you use Google at all, but are not familiar with this facility, this is how it works:-
1. Go to the Google search page
2. Click on the image of a camera ('search by image') to the right of the window where you'd usually enter your search text.
3. It then comes up with options for loading an image.
4. Once you load an image I find that it is usually only a few seconds before you get your ID answer together with images and links to other instances of the item that you've searched on.
All the birds in my photos taken at Tropical Birdland were identified in this way, with the exception of the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo which I'd asked the attendant about because of Amelia's attraction to this bird. However, when I used Google, it confirmed this ID.
That brings me to the end of this blog post. I expect my next one, in about a week's time, to be back on track with UK wildlife. In the meantime, please take good care of yourselves and Nature.
Thank you for dropping by - - - Richard