The Arctic Foxes have always made me think of my old Labrador, Bramble – she too was neat, small and as wily as a fox. But this Arctic Fox is just a wee bit special. He has very bad eyesight – and often has a bit of a bemused look on his face. When you see him walking around you do get a feeling something isn’t quite right, but you probably wouldn’t think he was nearly blind. However, the longer he has been in his enclosure the more confident he seems to have become. Perhaps a good lesson there for all of us.
Billy Goat Gruff
Well, I mentioned the tale of Little Red Riding Hood in a previous post (Sleeps, squabbles and just lazing around) , but the male Turmenian Markor makes me think of the Norwegian fairy tale of Billy Goat Gruff – with his big beard and large twisted horns.
The Highland Wildlife Park has separate enclosures, one for the males and the other for the females and young goats.
Just spend a minute before you continue to look at the geology of this place. Look at this cliff face – the unevenness of the layers, the tilt of the rock.
I confess. I never really “got” what people saw in tigers. Yeah, OK, apex predator, susses out the weakest in a group and will take them if given half a chance. And all this before you even know the tiger is there. On the other side there’s also the prettiness of them. But I still never got it. Until I visited these Amur tigers. Dominika, the female had been resting on her feeding platform, and just turned and looked in my general direction (OK, she probably was thinking – I’ll have you as a snack). Stunning, majestic, powerful, knowing – the adjectives just kept coming. On another visit, I was really lucky to come face to face with Marty the male. Obviously there was protective glass between us (or I wouldn’t be here now). And what struck me was the size of his head. You couldn’t look him in the eye because his eyes were so far apart. What a truly stunning animal.
These are spectacular beasts. They wander around the main drive through reserve, and you never really know where they’ll be. But once they appear the whole herd will be there – from the big male down to the little newcomers.
Birds of a Feather
Well these two don’t flock together, they are in separate enclosures in different parts of the park. They are both owls but look very different. The Great Grey Owl has this amazing circular shaped face with its concave circle of feathers round its eyes which helps it collect sound waves and then direct them to the owl’s ears. One of the other species of owl at the park is the Eagle Owl.
Normally I photograph these up close, but decided to something a bit different this time. Some of the monkeys were located on the mound in their enclosure so it was a great excuse to capture not just them, and part of their very large enclos
ure, but the stunning Cairngorm mountains that overlook the park.
As I’m on the subject of the stunning Cairngorm National Park I thought I’d leave my last shot of this blog to be of the countryside surrounding the Highland Wildlife Park.