Animal Adventure Park

Did you take part in the baby watch for April the giraffe online? Have you ever wondered what zoo April was in? April is in Animal Adventure Park in central New York State about 15 minutes or more from Binghamton.

Animals
This is Johari. She is part of the new couple. As the sign says you can only feed her carrots.

The main draw at the zoo due to the live webcams in their barn has been the giraffes. The zoo has become famous worldwide as people went into baby watch mode for momma giraffe, April. She gave birth to Tajiri (15 April 2017) and Azizi (16 March 2019). There is a new giraffe couple, Oliver and Johari.

April and her two babies, Tajiri and Azizi.
This is the youngest baby of April, Azizi.

Animal Adventure Park is more than just giraffes. The park has over 250 animals with over 100 species represented. Some animals you can get fairly close to such as llamas, alpacas, giraffes, and sheep. Others you can view from behind tall fencing such as monkeys, lemurs, wolves, and white lions. Different continents are represented from the American black bear to Chilean flamingoes and from the Tibetan yak to the African warthog. Mammals, birds, and cold blooded creatures, this little zoo packs in a lot of variety.

Flamingoes watching the people go by. Are humans on display or are the animals?
Alligator enjoying the sun.
The official cat of the zoo. The story I heard from one of the employees was she came with the farm when they bought it. She acts like she is the owner of the zoo.
Feed the Animals

When you visit the zoo you will have opportunities to feed many of the animals. For $3 you can buy a handful of carrots to feed the giraffes or buy a cup full of pellets you can give to many of the animals. They also sell lettuce to feed the turtles and grapes to feed some of the other animals. The animals are quite happy to see you when you have food and it leads to many good photo or selfie opportunities. On my second trip I saw zoo keepers come out and let some children bottle feed some of the baby animals.

If the animals see you come close with food they will come right over to you. This appears to be an alpaca.
Animal Encounters

If you book in advance, you can participate in an animal encounters. These afford the visitor a little closer access to some of the animals. You get to feed them yourself and take pictures in a closer proximity than when you stroll around the zoo. A zoo keeper gives you all kinds of information about the animals. I was able to do the Sloth encounter. I feed them and took photos. They currently have one male and two females in hopes one of the females will breed.

One of the three sloths at the zoo.
Sloth snack time. Look no hands!
Handicap Accessible

I would say this zoo is fairly accessible. The paths/roadways within the zoo are wide and there are no stairs. On both visits I made to the zoo I saw people navigating the exhibits in wheelchairs. They also host a low sensory night for people with sensory issues.

Concessions

The zoo has a a few concession stands. They serve fast food items such as hamburgers, grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, chips, soda, and ice cream. If you have food sensitivities I would recommend bringing you own food in a cooler and leaving it in the car. You can leave the zoo and return with a hand stamp or receipt. This zoo is in a very rural area and there are no restaurants close by.

Gift Shop

Animal Adventure Park offers different animal related items in their gift shop and also through their online store. There are t-shirts, stuffed animals, etc. The t-shirts in the gift shop favor their main draw: giraffes, but there are others available online.

Location

This zoo is located at 85 Martin Hill Road in Harpursville, NY. On the route the GPS sent me there were no signs advertising Animal Adventure Park. It made me a little worried the first time I visited, but the Sat. Nav. took me to the right spot. This zoo is about 15 minutes or more northeast of Binghamton. I am told it is about a 3 hour drive from New York City and a 2 hour drive from the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge in the Hudson Valley.

Parking

I arrived before they opened both times I visited on a weekday during the summer. I was able to park in their lot at the zoo entrance. They do have overflow parking in another location nearby.

I highly recommend this little zoo. They appear to take great care of the animals and work with animals that are endangered or close to endangered. The zoo is very family-friendly and sponsors many events. If you love animals and want to see them up close make a trip to Animal Adventure Park.

For more information go to their website: https://theanimaladventurepark.com/park-info/ or https://theanimaladventurepark.com

North Buckham Farm

Have you ever wanted to escape to some rural or remote area? Have you wanted to take in the sights and sounds of nature? During part of my stay in England I did just that and it was glorious.

I stayed at North Buckham Farm on the outskirts of Beaminster in Dorset. It is a working sheep farm with over 400 breeding ewes. They currently have two border collies, Scott and Naila. Scott works to move sheep between grazing areas and they are training Naila, still a pup, to do the same. They also have a few horses.

The accommodations were in a shepherd’s hut. This could have slept 2, but I was staying by myself. You have lovely views of the farm from the huts. The huts have electrical outlets, so I was able to work on my computer and charge my devices. You only hear the sounds of wildlife, horses, and occasional sheep from the shepherd’s huts. If you are a city clicker, no worries, most of the animals go silent after dark. Nearby is a building with a water closet, bath, and kitchen.

Shepherd’s Hut
Inside of shepherd’s hut
Inside of a shepherd’s hut looking at the other end.
Breakfast

You have the option of including breakfast during your stay. I decided to do just that and it set me up well for the day. Trish, the host, asks you what you prefer. I had eggs and smoked salmon the first day as well as yogurt with fresh berries. Trish even provided gluten-free bread upon request.

A badger as taken on my camera after dark from the hide.
Wildlife

Also on the property is a glass-fronted animal viewing hide. I arranged with Trish to venture out to the hide one night at eight. I waited quietly and my patience paid off. I saw two badgers one by one slowly peak out of their holes and return several times before they came out and foraged around on the grass in front of me. I also saw a fox run the perimeter waiting for the badgers to finish. I contemplated staying in the hide all night in order to catch the fox on my camera, but ended up heading back to my hut between 11:30 and midnight. If I return, I am determined to catch that fox. While waiting in the hide I believe I may also have heard an owl.

Nearby

There are two walking paths, that one can start not far from the end of North Buckham Farm’s driveway that lead you into Beaminster. This town has two pubs, a Co-Op grocery, and a few other restaurants. There are also other walking paths nearby that lead to other villages farther away.

Do you fancy a simple more rustic stay away from crowds? Do you want to get away from it all, but still have access to civilization? Then consider a stay at North Buckham Farm in Dorset. It may be the location you need to unplug and unwind.

You can look at North Buckham Farm’s website at: http://www.northbuckhamfarm.co.uk

Eagles: We Just Want to Play

Do eagles play? Do they try to have fun? I went down early to the Hudson River in New York to watch the young eagles this morning and it appears they do play and enjoy hanging out together.

When I first arrived, the two babies born this spring were on the playground. I think they wanted to enjoy the swings and other equipment to perch on before the children arrived. Maybe they were wondering what all the hype was about in regards to the equipment.

This one perched for a while on a wooden guard rail on the edge of a road. People walking a dog were startled to see it there. The young eagle was not phased by the large dog. He never moved.

Besides flying around they landed on different trees again. In addition, they many times joined each other in their perching spots. They also spent time chasing each other in the air. Unfortunately the lighting on the shots where they are chasing each other around was not very good, so I am leaving them out.

Them seem to join each other a lot. It looks like they are having a conversation.
Team effort- calling out for their parents to bring food most likely. This tree is closer to the river.

I would conclude they do like to play. What do you think? Regardless, I am enjoying the new spots they choose to perch on near the Hudson River.

Eagle Branching

Fledging is when a bird takes its first flight from the nest. Young eagles typically stay in the nest approximately 10 to 12 weeks. The stage before that is branching. This is when they go between branches of the tree.

On my last post about the eagles you saw the baby eagles in a nest near the Hudson River in New York with the downy, grayish feathers. Now the young eagle has juvenile feathers.

The two babies with their downy, gray feathers. This one was taken a few months ago.

This nest had two baby eagles. Now I see only one. I no longer have a view from above or on level due to the leaves on the trees. The babies a few months ago were exercising their wings by moving them about.

Here is one of the same young eagles a branch below the nest. At this point it is likely full grown. My they grown fast!

On Saturday I saw the young eagle sitting on one branch below the nest the whole time I was there. He seemed like he was unsure of himself or in a pickle. He moved slowly up back and forth on the branch and screeched a lot. Not sure if he was hungry or needed help.

Juvenile feathers

The next day the young eagle was practicing take-offs and landings on neighboring branches and the nest. He seemed quite clumsy as sticks flew off the nest when he landed there.

The eagle here was practicing take-offs and landings between the branches and the nest. I wonder if this one will have fledged by next weekend.

The parents were hardly seen. I did not see them on Saturday. I was only there about 2 hours. A few months ago I could catch the parents feeding the two babies a few times after 8 in the morning. This time, however, I did not see the parents on Sunday between 8-11 a.m. The young eagle was screeching constantly and at one point sounded hurt or desperate when finally the parents flew up one by one to drop off a small fish. The young eagle ate ravenously. I understand the parents may start to withhold food or tempt the young eagle to fly by holding a fish on a neighboring tree.

The eagle is here eating a fish one of the parents dropped off. The lighting is hard with the shadows cast by the branches.

Where is the other young eagle? Has it already fledged? Could it already be out and about enjoying its new ability to fly? Wouldn’t you like to have that bird’s eye view of the Hudson Valley?

Just Like Dad

I am posting just a few more eagle pictures. These were taken today. Two babies are in the nest. Soon it will be hard to see the nest as the trees are starting to bud. The nest is along the Hudson River in New York.

This one seems to be copying dad.
Family portrait

Little fish for little eagles

Eagles in New York

One of the most recognized symbols of America is the bald eagle. They are in every state except Hawaii according to the DEC-NY. A few decades ago they were on the brink of extiction in New York state. Today they are making a resurgence.

Eagle Population

Eagles were previously on the endangered species list. The population of eagles suffered a major decline starting in the 1960s. Eagles were affected by DDT and other pesticides and pollutants. These chemicals were passed along the food chain. As a result, the eggshells of the eagles were weakened, so the babies did not survive.

In 1976 there was only one pair of nesting eagles in New York state. Efforts were put in place to curb pollution and protect eagle habitats. After DDT was banned, eagles were producing young in greater numbers. By 2010 there were 173 breeding pairs of eagles in New York and now eagles have been moved to the threatened species list.

Eagle fortifying the nest along the Hudson River the day after a storm.
When to See Eagles

The best time I found to see eagles, at least in the Hudson Valley, is between February and April. Earlier during that time period you may see them mate. During that time period they also sit on eggs so you may see the father bring a fish up to the mother. After the egg or eggs hatch, you will see them bring more fish up to the nest to feed the young eagles. It is harder to view them once the leaves grow on the trees, as your view of them will be obscured.

A pair of eagles during mating time.
Where to See Eagles

Since eagles mainly eat fish their nests are usually close to bodies of water, such as rivers and lakes. There are nests along the Hudson and Delaware Rivers as well as other bodies of water in the state.

See these websites to find some eagle viewing locations:

https://www.wideopenspaces.com/best-places-see-bald-eagles-new-york/

http://www.hvmag.com/Hudson-Valley-Magazine/February-2019/Where-to-View-Eagles-Hudson-Valley/

These only list a few good locations to view them as others may be on private property or in places where locals may not want hoards of people showing up to view them.

Hanging with dad in the nest.

These majestic birds are enjoyable to view from a distance. Curbing pollution reaps rewards for humans and for those in the animal kingdom.