You can find details about our opening hours over the holidays here.
As December begins, the nights grow longer and the temperature drops. We are approaching the shortest day of the year, which occurs on the 21st of this month and it’s certainly feeling wintry. By now, most of the trees have already lost their leaves and the mornings are tinged white with frost. Despite the shorter days, the loss of leaves does often make the few daylight hours feel brighter, and certainly make this an excellent time of year for birdwatching. More on the next page!
Having completed their annual moult, our Madarin drake (Aix galericulata) drake and Golden pheasant cock (Chrysolophus pictus) are looking beautiful in their bright new plumage. They’ve also been making a bit of a racket in Pheasant Crescent and you may have heard some rather unusual sounds and seen some unusual behaviour in their aviary! These calls are part of the territorial defense and courtship of the two species and are fantastically dramatic, from the deep almost bubbling ‘song’ of the mandarin to the frenzied elaborate dance of the male golden pheasant complete with specialized feathers that move across his face. See more photos and videos on the next page!