Monday 8th February 2016 Gale force W Heavy rain AM, drier and cloudy PM
Storm Imogen has arrived. Outside my dear friend, Kerry's house the weather is wild and wet. The morning I spend relaxing.
The afternoon still has the gale but the rain has petered out and Kerry and I go to her place of work, the nearby New Forest Wildlife Park. Kerry is a real life Ellie from the Pixar film 'Up' and she constantly talks to every animal in the park.
A winter visit where there is a thrill around each corner; harvest mice so close we can watch them feed and wash their tiny paws; owls of many different species and size from eagle and snowy owls to little and hawk owls.
There are roe deer almost close enough to stroke, a running bison, Scottish wild cats with wild eyes, pine martins, wallabies, parading wolves through dense conifers and otters, lots and lots of otters. All of the animals look amazingly healthy and are excitedly active.
To be honest I am not a zoo person, preferring my nature experiences to involve wild animals but I take my hat off to the staff and set up of this wonderful park. Personal favourites from the visit? Two giant otters from South America, immense otters with amazing character and voice. The ultimate experience was seeing the European lynx on a platform sitting upright in front of us, incredible animal. I may not see all of these superb animals in the wild but I will always treasure the afternoon memories of my visit here.