On the 12th of August (a Saturday), Gareth and I decided to travel up to Bourton-on-the- Water and stay in nearby Cheltenham for the weekend. After everything that’s been going on lately a mini-break was most welcome. Luckily we had some Tesco vouchers to spend on booking a nice little hotel room for the night and some left over for a day trip to Birdland and a meal at Zizzis – result!
In this post I’m going to talk about our trip to Birdland, but keep your eyes peeled for posts on Bourton-on-the-Water and what we got up to over the weekend!
Situated in the picturesque Bourton-on-the-Water and shouldered by flowing rivers and streams, Birdland is every bit as lovely as I had hoped it would be.
Entrance is £9.95 per adult but as I mentioned earlier, we had Tesco vouchers to use so we didn’t spend a penny getting in. Entrance is through a well-stocked gift shop; a bird lovers dream. I refrained from buying anything this time but only just.
Birdland is set on nine acres of garden and woodland with the River Windrush winding through it. Small in size but with plenty to see, Birdland is well set out and easy to navigate. Upon entering you are greeted by some well-kept aviaries with a number of looked-after birds. This was the first thing I noticed and set the tone (for me) for the whole experience. The aviaries were very well thought out and spacious with lots of branches and hiding spots for the birds. I have found in the past that some zoos can tend to overcrowd aviaries with as many birds as they can fit in, but this was not the case here. The habitats created were all very natural and it was a pleasure to see the birds enjoying and thriving in their environments. None of them looked pecked, balding or harassed (and as someone who keeps birds I know how hard it can be to keep them from fighting at times!)
A little further on from the first aviaries was a penguin enclosure, ‘Penguin Shore’. Penguin Shore is home to Humboldts and King Penguins and features rocky areas as well as a spacious tank of water. The penguins are fed daily but we didn’t manage to catch this. That’s okay though, I’m not sure I could have stomached the smell of fish on such a blistering hot afternoon. We were quite content with watching the penguins snooze and cuddle up to each other.
From this enclosure we wandered around to have a peek in the other aviaries. Birdland has a mixture of outdoor and indoor aviaries to home different types of bird. I was really interested in the indoor aviaries that had Pekin robins in, as they are such beautiful birds and one of my favourites.
Naturally though my favourite aviary was the one that had zebra finches and quails living in it! I know it sounds silly because I have many of my own pet zebra finch and quail but I just love seeing them in an outdoor environment. And they are so cute! The zebra finches were squabbling over bits of straw and twigs and the adorable little quails were sunbathing in the dirt. I really wanted to smuggle one home (but I promise I didn’t!)
Next door to this aviary was one with two very bright and cheerful parrots living in it.
After spending what must have been half an hour just watching the zebra finch alone, we had a little wander by the river. The River Windrush winds right through the park and is very picturesque, especially in the sunshine. Not to mention it’s where the flamingos live!
There are two species of flamingo living at Birdland; the Greater and the Caribbean. The Caribbean flamingos are the bright pink ones; they look like they’ve had their saturation turned up! I think prior to visiting Birdland I had only ever seen the Greater flamingos as I can’t remember ever seeing any as bright as the Caribbean ones before.
From here we decided to check out the Jurassic Journey. If you’re not clued up on birds you might think having a bunch of dinosaur stuff at a Birdland is a bit random. But actually, birds are descended from dinosaurs so it all ties in quite nicely. The trail is set through woodland and is surprisingly fun to walk through. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really stop to read the facts (as I’m way more interested in modern day birds!) but if you’re a dino fan or have children who are, you will absolutely love this part of the park.
Throughout the trail there are fact boards with interesting snippets of information relating to the dinosaurs. And of course, there are lots of model dinosaurs to be spotted, eagerly peeking out between the leaves.
In this woodland there is a little bird hide that overlooks a pond. We sat in here for awhile in hopes of spotting a kingfisher but with lots of excited children running around we didn’t see more than a few ducks!
After we had done exploring the woodlands we headed to the Desert House. This aviary is the perfect habitat for birds that live in hot/arid conditions such as the bee eater.
Finally we stopped to look at some birds of prey.
We decided not to eat at Birdland as we were going out later that evening for dinner however there is an ample cafe on site. All in all we had a fantastic afternoon at Birdland. There is so much to see with over 130 different species of bird on display. If you have a passion for ornithology this one is for you. But even if you don’t, it’s still a really nice day out in really lovely surroundings. I definitely recommend Birdland!