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Sun, 31 May 2015
a visit to the zoo in schoenbrunn (0 comments)
my brother, his wife, and my their son, aka "nephew" paid us a visit this weekend. as my christmas gift to them was tickets to the zoo for the whole family, they redeemed them today. we were pretty lucky as the polar bears[01-17] were in a play mood and enjoyed their cooling bath in the heat and were busy with a coconut they could not open.
we were also tremendously lucky to see the peacock[22-36] fanning out its impressively sized and colourful plumage. that was the first time we saw it for the peacocks in schoenbrunn.
my nephew was - as always - fascinated by the penguins[19-21,37-44]. they lined up really cute today and a big group stood there ready to be captured by our cameras.
and then we were even more overwhelmed by how lucky we were this day, as also the white peacock showed its fan[45-55]. both peafowls doing their mating ritual on the same day - incredible.
then we stopped at the flying foxes[56-63], the small-clawed otter[64-71] (cute as always), the group of black-tailed prairie dogs[76-79], the capybaras[80-82], the tigers[83-88], the hippopotamus[89-91], and - lastly - the sleeping koala bear[92-93].
my nephew seemed to have enjoyed the trip to the zoo, although he got an animal overflow soon, and so after a while ice-cream and playgrounds got more attention than all the animals - comprehensible with the huge amount of animals in the zoo. what a nice family excursion to the zoo, we really enjoyed that.

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Sat, 09 May 2015
a visit to the botanical garden and zoo hirschstetten (0 comments)
we tried out a new zoo - isn't that amazing? this time it is not zoo schoenbrunn as usual, but this time it is the lovely botanic garden in hirschstetten, that also houses a little zoo in its huge grounds. first surprise was that the admission was free. inside there are several theme gardens like the mexican garden (where a birthday party in a pavilion was going on), the wedding garden (where a wedding in a pavilion was going on), the indian and chinese garden (where... nothing special was going on, but they both had a pavilion too), and much, much more, like a palm house and a huge maze[071-073].
but we concentrated on the zoo part first. we spotted loads of turtles[001-005,060-061], some storks[062-063], a lonely ural owl[068], two apiaries[065-067], a pair of colourful lady amherst's pheasants[075-076], and cute little ducklings[077-085].
and as beautiful, impressive and amazing this all was, it was not the reason we came here - no, no. in the newspaper we read about wildcat cubs that should be in the zoo. so we thought it is time to - enormously - raise the cat content on the internet. at our first stop[006-059] we almost only spotted the mother; the cubs kept in the background, where they were hard to spot, and even harder to capture. but we got there just right at feeding time, so the mother dragged all the dead rats back to her little ones. unfortunately they kept on staying in the back of the enclosure and disappeared entirely, while feeding. so we decided to come back later, in the hope that they will be awake then.
and we were lucky; nearly two hours later we returned and found the entire family out, near the fence. although the tomcat was always chased off by the mother (we got the impression she was on heat again, and thus driving the poor tomcat crazy), the kitties played happily with the mother and each other. chasing and biting mother's tail seemed to be the preferred leisure time activity of the cubs.
for a very long time all four cubs were happily running around and playing, like kitties are supposed to be. they also were remarkable climbers, considering they all were only two months old. climbing the little bushes, the trunks, and the wooden suspension bridges they had in their enclosure was no problem to them at all - very impressive.
the botanical garden and zoo hirschstetten is really a wonderful place, with great plants and animals, but currently most of all a place with four kittens full of of cuteness overload. definitely a place to go to. we will return here again as - of course - we want to see how the kittens grow up, but also because we missed to see the palm house and other areas of the garden this time. so i am pretty sure there will be more to come from hirschstetten soon...

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