Thursday, 25 June 2015

On the Wing: The Large Blue Butterfly

Last Saturday I finally managed to see the Large Blue Phengaris (Maculinea) arion at Collard Hill Hill reserve in the Mendips. As they are on the wing for perhaps another week or so, there is not much of a time window to see one this year. As one of the rarest of British butterflies, and with one of the weirdest lifecycles of any butterfly, it is definitely one to look for.

Friday, 19 June 2015

New Arrivals: Yellow-Footed Rock Wallaby

Recently gone on show in the new Wallaby Walkthrough exhibit is a family of Yellow-Footed Rock Wallabies, Petrogale xanthopus. Originating from Queensland and the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, it is one of perhaps 17 species of rock wallaby which collectively are found all across Australia.

Friday, 5 June 2015

New arrivals: The Gouldian Finch

Gouldian finches, normal and white-breasted forms
Now on view in the small aviary behind the wallaby walk though is a small flock of one of the most colorful small birds in the world, the Gouldian Finch. This is one of the most distinctive of the Estrildid finches, a group commonly referred to as waxbills, which also include such familiar cage birds as the Zebra finch and Java Sparrow, although they are most closely related to the equally colorful parrot finches which are mostly found in more humid environments in southeast Asia and New Guinea.Originating from northern Australia, they are now classed as Near Threatened by the IUCN, and have a population in their restricted range of probably only a few thousand individuals, split into several much smaller sub populations