In a way this post is a bit of a cheat in that it has nothing whatsoever to do with wild birds. It's still about birds though! Last week I travelled with a friend to Tropical Birdland in Desford, Leicestershire so that we could work on a bit of camera technique by taking photographs of birds that a) we knew would be there, b) wouldn't bugger off as soon as we began to take photos and c) we could get relatively close to!
Tropical Birdland's website tells us that it is: 'Nestled on the northern outskirts of Desford village in Leicestershire, Tropical Birdland is a 6.5-acre sanctuary for Parrots and exotic birds. Housing over 250 feathery residents, every square inch has been devoted to giving a home to some of the most alluring and captivating species from around the world.'
There is plenty of information on the website at: http://tropicalbirdland.com
We visited on what we thought would be a fairly quiet Thursday but we forgot that the school holidays in Leicestershire were taken at different times to ours. So there were loads and loads of kids having a day out with their mums and dads and grandparents. They had all come to see the feathery residents. This is such a popular spot for a day out that the café was practically full of chip-munching bundles of energy and the various Parrots, Macaws, Lorikeets and Caiques that were out in the parrot path were having to really compete to be heard! If you ever go during school holidays I recommend you take some earplugs.
There are plenty of birds, both free-flying, and caged that can be photographed although some species do their level best to avoid being seen. A pair of owls near the entrance resolutely refuse to step out of a breeding box at the back of their aviary. Some birds are in aviaries that seem to get little natural light which makes photography difficult and other birds are so curious that they insist and persist on hanging on the cage-work inches from your camera-lens. Nevertheless I took pictures of over 35 species without having to travel to South America, Africa or Australia and there were a fair few that I didn't manage to photograph.
|African Grey Parrot.|
|Black-headed Caique...pronounced cake.|
|Blue and Gold Macaw|
|Green-winged Macaw. Ouch..ouch..let go!|
|Hyacinth Macaw - worth two photographs.|
|Hyacinth Macaw - The biggest and in my opinion the best looking Macaw.|
|A hybrid Macaw - often called Harlequin Macaw|
|Budgerigar...probably called Joey. Very popular in the 60s and 70s.|
|Emerald Starling. Free-flying in the walk-through aviary.|
|Galah - Like all Australians it is very shy and retiring!|
|Goldie's Lorikeet - cage bars in the background ruin aviary photographs.|
|Blue-fronted and Mealy Amazonian Parrots|
|Queen of Bavaria Conure. Unbelievably Yellowy-Gold with some green.|
|Red-breasted Goose. Another non parrot in the walk-through aviary.|
|Red-capped Cardinal - also in the walk-through aviary.|
|Red-winged Laughing Thrush. Yet another species that can pooh on your head in the walk-through aviary.|
|Scarlet Ibis. No chance of this poohing on your head. You should spot it beforehand.|
|Snowy-crowned Robin Chat.|
|Sun Conure. Clearly fed-up of oranges.|
|Taveta Golden Weaver I think. Hanging about in the Walk-through aviary|
Tropical Birdland is a great place to spend a day either for photography or just to see the variety of species. I found the staff to be really well informed and knowledgeable as well as friendly and helpful. Check the weather for light and check the school holiday calendar before you set off.