It’s been nine whole months since I last visited Colchester Zoo so I returned today, with my friend Moira for company. The weather was cool and drizzly at first, so we found many of the animals huddled together in groups for warmth – cute, but photographically rather challenging.
The fun really started when we visited the Rainbow Lorikeets. These little birds live up to their names, with vivid feathers and their garrulous demeanour. As soon as we walked into their enclosure they flew over to greet us, one of them landing on my head! Obviously, I couldn’t capture that particular moment on camera but I had another chance when Moira experienced the same avian affection.
I also took the opportunity to check up on a bird I noticed when I visited last December, who had some large bald patches. Chatting with the keepers today, I learnt that the lorikeet in question had lost his partner last year (they pair up for life) and had been plucking his own feathers as a stress reaction. Happily, he’s now found a new girlfriend and much happier. As their courtship has continued, his feathers are slowly beginning to grow back so hopefully he’ll be fully feathered next time I visit.
Our next close encounter came with the Ring Tailed Lemurs. We arrived in their enclosure, with fifty other visitors on the zoo’s road train. The lemurs were sensibly sheltering under a small roof, mostly cuddled up together so there was a bit of a crush as everyone squeezed underneath to take a look. When the train departed, with everyone except us on it, the fun really started. The younger animals decided they liked the look of us and we both quickly found ourselves with lemurs sitting on our shoulders.
The one who jumped onto me decided the combination of my scarf and camera was a particularly attractive spot, snuggling up against me for several minutes. While this was very cute, it did inhibit my photographic opportunities, although the lemur managed to take no less than nineteen frames by sitting on my shutter button!
We eventually departed as the next load of tourists came in and continued to wend out way around the zoo. Fortunately, our visit to the Cheetahs was less up close and personal and the Komodo Dragons stayed safely behind glass. There are some animals you really don’t want to cuddle!
5 September 2018