Fruit Bats at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Park!!

Trip Start Apr 25, 2012
Trip End May 12, 2012

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Flag of United Kingdom  , Channel Islands,
Thursday, May 31, 2012

So I had breakfast at 8:15 or so.  I tried to take a shower but gave up because I couldn't get any hot water.  The owner's sister-in-law was cheerily serving breakfast and I asked her about wi-fi - one question at a time.  So the wi-fi code is in a little lounge area off the dining room - where I am now as it is approaching 6 pm and I checked to see if Kerry left me any messages about meeting.  She did and I responded but haven't heard back yet.  I also checked my emails and emailed Kara back but don't have her non-troopers email address yet.

I managed to get out shortly before 11 am.  Oh, I also stopped for postcard stamps and picked up some tea towels too, but haven't been able to get a bunch of Jersey cow postcards yet.  The tea towel place was all out.

Off to the bus station, I got on a bus right away to Durrell's (what they call the zoo for short because it was founded by the naturalist and author Gerald Durrell.  The Jersey Zoo is formally now Durrell's Wildlife Park.)  The green bus route went through the seaside town of Gorey which looked like a great place to visit.  On the bus ride I was very excited to see at least 3 fields of cows - each with more than a dozen cows in them.  Unfortunately, the cows were quite distant so I didn't think it was worth trying to get any photos.  I also saw fields of potatoes - the Jersey Royals I would assume.  There was also at least one greenhouse filled with something other than weeds & debris - tomato plants!  I was thrilled!  It is a good thing I saw all these things because I ran out of time to go and find any cows after the zoo.

When I got to Durrell's, I checked out the gift shop and cafe and found some things I wanted to come back for.  Then I saw a sign advertising an orangutan talk at noon and a bat talk at 2:30.  I raced to the orangutan section but was late for most of the talk.  I did get to see some orangs playing and tussling and some young ones swinging.  They were amazing... how they can swing!  From there I tried to radiate out so that I wouldn't miss anything and would be in place for the bat talk.  Some young French girls stopped me to ask for bats - I think.  At that point I wasn't able to help them, since I was somewhat disoriented myself, but soon after I ended up at the bat roost.  There is a huge caged area with dozens of fruit bats - Livingston's and Rodriguez' bats from Rodriguez in the Indian Ocean - beautiful.  I watched them a bit and took some photos, but with the cage wires in the way, they won't be much good.

From there I wandered around and saw some gorillas, lemurs, greater and Chilean flamingos, some assorted ducks.  The grounds are quite beautiful with lots of flowers and vegetation and waterfalls, ponds, etc., as a natural habitat for the animals but also pleasant for people.  There were some large old stone buildings with lovely plantings, including foxglove.  As I was trying to be methodical, I had missed something called red river hogs that I absolutely had to see - for Sharon's sake.  I eventually found them and they were the most amazing pigs - hogs - that I have seen except for those wild pigs with tusks through their heads. 

I went to the reptile-amphibian house when a staff person was talking and got the benefit of some info on the 60 or was it 66 poisons of the komodo dragon - very problematic being bitten by one and they can run faster than people.  I also got to see a cane toad and they are nasty little creatures - but big for toads.

By then it was time for the bat talk, so I zoomed back across the park to get there and managed to get there after the young woman had started her talk and begun feeding fruit and veggies to the bats.  She related that zoo staff realized they had to use some strategy to get the lesser males some food otherwise the top males would monopolize it all.  What the caretakers ended up doing was putting a little bit of food in the lower lesser male area and the dominant males wouldn't bother to go after it.  When they had dumped lots of food all at once, the dominant males flew around scaring off all the other bats.  The bats, of course, were adorable feeding upside down and drinking upside down.  They would fly around a bit and nip at one another too.  The smaller Rodriguez bats are actually the more aggressive of the two.  Durrell's was the first to breed these endangered bats in captivity.  I had to force myself to move on to see whatever was left to see.

I think I found the bears then.  The small Asian otters were adorable, the meerkats and mongoose, too.  I went into the aviary and did see some birds but not that well.  I was losing steam at this point - I had stopped for a coke since my stomach was bothering me again.  I wonder why?  I had some potato chips with the coke - not very nutritious at all but it did settle my stomach somehow.  Of course, that banoffee pie that I had my eye on was not going to help me much at all, but I ended up ordering it anyway.  Once I had my sights on it, I couldn't resist.  Then I found my stuff in the gift shop and a special fridge magnet that. I couldn't pass up as well.  And one of Durrell's books:  Bats and Pink Ducks - about Mauritius.  I ate my pie and read the book and tried to rush to catch the bus back to St Helier so I could contact Kerry.

So here I am.  Kerry and I chatted online on facebook and I will meet her at 7 at Romana's Italian restaurant here in St Helier.  I think I will change my clothes to go out so I should do that now.

I walked over - I only had 20 minutes now because I stayed on the computer so long.  But I found the city hall and Charring Cross and found the luggage store & restaurant with no problems.  In fact, I was a bit early but soon saw Kerry walking up the sidewalk toward me.  It was great to catch up.  We were already talking so much that we had to stop to order,  The Romana is where Kerry has taken her parents when they come to visit and our waiter - who said he isn't a waiter - chatted with her like an old friend.  The porcini ravioli was lovely and the Merlot wasn't a Malbec but was quite nice too.  When we closed the restaurant, we went down the street to Katy O'Shea's where I had cider from the tap - rather than imported Irish cider.  The band that plays weekends was there and were singing a Van Morrison tune.  Kerry knows folks in the band - I think she ran in race with one of them.  So we continued to chat until the pub closed at 11.  Kerry said different pubs have licenses to close at different times.  So I really enjoyed my night out in St Helier thanks to Kerry!

On way walk back to the hotel I missed my street by one block but didn't want to risk not finding it so I walked down to the esplanade to look for the corner I would remember or my touchstone Deloit office and then made it back OK.  Off to bed for early start - maybe???

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