Thursday, 9 January 2014

Back to work

I work at the zoo for nine months in each year and the three months I am not there I am working at home on my own projects. September and October were two of my three month leave (January was my other month off) and then I was also on unpaid leave for November and December for family reasons. So it's been four months since I was last at the zoo in a work capacity and this was my first week back. My brain has been thrust into seemingly remembering a hundred things. Mush is what I might have described my thought processes on Monday and Tuesday!

I started the week by doing my usual 'after leave walkabout' to reacquaint myself with the collection to see what's new, what's changed, what signs need replacing etc. From this I end up with a list of ID signs that need replacing, removing or re-fixing if loose. Most of Tuesday and Wednesday were spent printing and laminating the replacements and putting them up in place when done. At the same time I give the signs a clean to wipe away the accumulation of winter muck that has dirtied them so far.

We have the cassowary's returning to the zoo soon (they have been up at Wild Place for a while) and they are having a new paddock done for them so I gave the new area a quick look over to see where best to place the ID signs. Whilst out doing this I also took a few photo's of some hybrid ducks we have on our water areas (the lake and gorilla moat).  Our waterfowl collection in these areas have been allowed to naturally deplete and we now only have a small group of Chiloe wigeon left, along with the many wild mallard and moorhens that habitually use the zoo. That is, apart from four other very handsome ducks. These individuals are hybrids- the results of wild mallard breeding with ruddy shelduck and pintail when we had them in our collection. As the variety of species have lessened these individuals stand out more, so there is the thought to have a sign explaining what they are and why they are here. I took the pictures in preparation, in case this idea goes ahead.

There was a quick meeting with Jonny from the Aquarium late on Wednesday afternoon to check the species in each tank so that we could work out how many new lightboxes would be needed when the old ones are replaced. The aquarium is currently closed at the mo whilst the walk through centre tank is stripped out and redone. A new tunnel is being installed and for that the whole tank construction needs to be demolished and started again. It's amazing when you stand in that now empty space to see just how big that tank is/was, something that was impossible to appreciate when looking in the old tank.

So my first (three day) 'week' back ends.... I think by the end of Wednesday I was starting to regain my zoo work mode and have my plan of action underway. It all started to make more sense.

Sorting out the lake bird signs - I had to remove one ID holder and post as I reduced the ID signs on display.

The two lion juveniles are really starting to look like proper lions now, although they still have a lot of growing and filling out to do.

The golden lion tamarins were intrigued with my blue cleaning cloth as I cleaned their ID sign, so I held it near the glass for them to come over and investigate.

A red-billed leiothrix (Pekin robin) 

Roulroul partridges mistook me for a keeper I think, and thought I was about to feed them, so they all gathered round my feet as I checked the signs in their 'house'.

Life imitating art. 

Couldn't get the whole area of the centre tank space in on my camera, it's so big!

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