As I said in my last post, I went to Golders Hill Park on Saturday. It is part of the vast area which is Hampstead Heath and has a free zoo, which I thought would provide an opportunity for some good photos.
Unlike a lot of the Heath, it is very well-kept, with mowed grass and lots of flower beds. There are also a lot of ponds, full of ducks. I saw these two ducks continuously diving at the same time as each other:
I was so busy watching the ducks that I didn’t look up, until my flatmate pointed out the tree above us was absolutely FULL of pigeons:
It really reminded me of a scene out of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’. I also think it’s quite funny that if you look at the birds, they look just like leaves on the branches.
The zoo was quite good considering it was free, with rheas, deer, lemurs and a variety of different bird species. The aviaries seemed quite small, but the zoo is registered with the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums, so must be of a reasonable welfare standard.
I like the photo above because the deer looks very contemplative, staring in to the distance.
Below is a photo of a stone curlew, which was in one of the aviaries. I think it looks like some sort of garden ornament, because it was so fixed in position.
And below is the happy kookaburra couple!
I also saw the first robin of the winter:
It was very twitchy, but let me get really close to take the photo.
Below is my favourite photo of the day. It was a cold day and this lemur was clearly feeling it. I love the way he is sunning himself under the heater!
One thing that I noticed all around the park was the multitude of overweight squirrels. They were very tame and kept trying to come close to people walking around the park. As I found out later, this is because they are regularly hand-fed, but I also noticed this sneaky squirrel eating food from one of the bird enclosures. It was really funny to watch, because the guinea fowl blocked the squirrel in and the squirrel kept running around in circles. Eventually it managed to sidestep the guinea-fowl and make it’s escape, clearly having had a filling meal from their grain bowl!
The squirrels in the park were literally some of the fattest I have ever seen. In the aviary opposite the guinea fowl were some Jungle Fowl (glorified chickens) and there was also a squirrel in that enclosure. He looks incredibly guilty:
I also like the squirrel below, because it makes me think of ‘Please, sir, I want some more’.
As I mentioned above, the squirrels are being regularly hand-fed and I found this out when I stumbled upon a woman standing by a group of trees with a bag of assorted nuts. She had the squirrels crawling up and down her arm and she was even kissing their fur! She had names for them all and has been feeding them for three years. I do like the idea of people being in touch with nature and appreciating the wildlife, but at the same time, I don’t like the idea of making pets out of wild animals. As well, from the photos above, it is obvious that these squirrels do not need extra feeding! (Despite what this lady seemed to think). I asked to take a photo of her with the squirrels, but she declined. I did take a photo of this Jay, which she also feeds and has a name for (I can’t remember what the name was).
All in all, Golders Hill Park was an interesting place and makes for a really relaxing walk in the park (especially after a month of rain and revision!). I will probably go back soon and will let you know if I find anything else there!