Working from home, self-isolation and endless cancelled plans; Spring 2020 hasn’t been as beautiful as I had hoped it would be. That said, one small benefit of being holed up indoors and away from the office is that I’ve been able to visit the Marshes with my camera in tow. A short two minute drive from me, the Marshes is (currently) the ideal option for those of us who are choosing to social-distance. A large, outdoor space that is relatively quiet during the weekday, it’s a great place to fill your lungs with fresh air and get close to nature without the worry of making others ill.
Today I thought I’d share some Spring photos from the Marshes.
Whenever life feels a little too heavy I take a walk. It has always been the way. Getting outside, breathing lungfuls of fresh air and stretching my legs reminds me that I’m alive. And sometimes, that’s just enough.
Pools of sunlight ripple on the river, a warm Autumn sun breathing life in to the marshes. I scan between the reeds and pond weed for a flash of golden eye, expertly camouflaged, easily missed. I’ve trodden those same wooden boardwalks countless times; followed all the beaten pathways. No matter how many times I make the journey, I always scan the water hoping to catch a glimpse of a frog. (more…)
Without realising it, I think I had become a bit disheartened with it all, as is not too uncommon a feeling for me. My lack of motivation combined with my low mood led to my writing and photography hiatus – it wasn’t intentional, but I can’t say I actively fought with the apathy. If you’re a creative in any sense of the word, you’ll be familiar with the feeling i’m describing.
You may have read my Autumn bucket list a couple of posts back. If so you’ll know that one of my entries was to take plenty of walks in the countryside, collect conkers and soak up the lovely atmosphere.
On this particular walk I collected up plenty of shiny conkers and met some beautiful deer. I hope you enjoy the photos and they get you in that Autumn mood!
It’s been awhile since we’ve had a proper day out. When we were living in London we spent almost every weekend ferrying ourselves in to Essex and beyond for big adventures but since moving to Brentwood we have been enjoying a slower pace of life and the ample countryside around us. Yesterday however we had the itch to explore and because I have wanted to visit Tropical Wings for awhile we decided it would be a good destination.
Tropical Wings is a small zoo with a family focus and it is located in South Woodham Ferrers. It’s very reasonably priced costing £10.95 per adult and £8.95 for kids. Of course, we unlike most at the zoo, did not (and do not) have kids…but I just really like wildlife and getting the opportunity to use my camera! So don’t be put off of going if you don’t have children.
The zoo itself is quite small but it’s a good size. You can get around all of it (at a moderate pace) in around an hour to two hours (we were there for the latter) and there’s a lot of really interesting animals there. If you want to see the bigger animals such as lions, zebra and hippos this probably is not the zoo for you. However it did have a plethora of interesting creatures including wallabies, Capybara, birds of prey, otters etc as well as farmyard animals and the more traditional ‘pet’ animals such as rabbits, guineapigs and chickens. The animals are really well kept too with ‘natural’ enclosures and plenty of space which was nice to see. The grounds are well maintained, everything is clean and it’s a really great place to visit. With some of the smaller zoos the upkeep isn’t always great, but Tropical Wings was really nice.
We started out in the butterfly house. In there it was very warm and there were hundreds of gorgeous butterflies floating around and landing on unsuspecting visitors! This was a highlight of Tropical Wings for me. We even spotted some quail (and as you may know, I love quail!) and some exotic birds which I couldn’t identify. I love having the aspect of walking around with animals and insects flying about doing their thing. Although some of the parents in there were rude and it made me cringe when one man in particular pushed a buggy out through the doors releasing at least two beautiful blue butterflies in to the cold. I hope those were put back in – and I’m sure they were, it just annoyed me a little to see someone be so inconsiderate!
From here we moved on to the birds of the world section. Naturally this was always going to be my favourite, but when I saw there were zebra finches I was even more excited! I know what you’re thinking. I have a whole charm of the creatures myself at home/why would I pay to see them. And yes, that’s true but zebra finches are amazing little creatures and it’s really interesting to see a big aviary of them together. There were a lot of chestnut flanked zebs in there too. I could easily have taken a pocketful of them home. I didn’t though!
Whilst wandering around we came across a great many unusual creatures, some of which I (sadly) couldn’t identify. Luckily for us the animal enclosures were all accompanied by signs that identified the animals and highlighted some interesting facts. I really should have jotted these down for the more unusual creatures however being the organised person I am, I didn’t!
As we walked around we came across a North American Turkey that was really friendly. He came right up to us and seemed very interested in my camera! If you visit the zoo make sure to say hi to him. Turkeys aren’t necessarily the most beautiful or exotic of animals, but this little guy had a big personality and it really shined through.
The zoo also has a wallaby/Mara walk-through. This was particularly fun and it was lovely to see a wallaby with a little baby stuffed in her pouch!
Finally we ended up in what I’d call the pets/farmyard corner. As I mentioned earlier, there are lots of chickens, goats, rabbits, guineapigs etc. I believe that they have a corner where you can experience the animals and hold them (don’t quote me on this!) But that wasn’t an option when we were there. If it was I would have definitely snuggled the bunnies!
All in all we both had a great time at the zoo and I couldn’t recommend it enough. If you’re thinking of taking a visit, you can find the website here
This last picture is not from inside the zoo, but just outside. I absolutely love sparrows and there was a great many of them flying about and making nests. The whole site feels very natural and that’s just one of the reasons it’s so lovely.