Saving the endangered ibis four young birds at a time

This week four endangered northern bald ibis, who were bred at ZSL London Zoo, were safely transported to Spain. This is where they will soon be released as part of a special conservation project, which is helping reintroduce these unique looking birds to Europe.

Northern bald ibis 3 (c) ZSL London Zoo
ZSL London Zoo

The quartet – who were lovingly nicknamed Iris, Indigo, Igor and Ivan by the zoo’s keepers – hatched last year. On 20 February, they travelled to Southern Spain’s Jerez Zoo where they will learn how to be wild before being released in Andalucia.

The species vanished from Europe almost 300 years ago. It’s now believed that there are just 600 northern bald ibis left in the world, reduced to one small part of Morocco (and two breeding pairs in Syria) where they are threatened by habitat loss, hunters and pesticides.

“We’re really hopeful that they’ll go on to breed in the wild – ultimately securing the future of the species” said Paul Atkin, ZSL London Zoo’s bird keeper.

To find out more about the northern bald ibis, head to birdlife.org

Memories of holidays past

#349: What is your very favourite holiday? Recount the specific memory or memories that have made that holiday special to you.

That’s a tricky one – I absolutely LOVED going to Walt Disney World when I was younger, because come on… it’s Disney! On the other hand, I really loved the trip to Spain as I went with all my family and we all had so much fun.

What I should do is go back to DisneyWorld in Florida with my entire family (well, my immediate, my auntie & uncle and my cousins). PERFECT!

Smell you later

#221: Humans have very strong scent memory. Tell us about a smell that transports you.

Following my first ever flight at the age of 10, many things continued to remind me of being on board an aeroplane – let’s just say it wasn’t the best experience of my life. Especially since I hadn’t been told that it takes 9 hours to get to Florida… and I also discovered that I suffered from air travel sickness, which was a bummer. So, even the smallest things had the ability to transport me back to that dreaded window seat, just purely through its smell. Thankfully, since my Iceland press trip back in 2012, I no longer suffer from air sickness – must have been a child/growing up thing.

Perfumes also have a similar effect – my mum bought Dolce & Gabbana’s Light Blue specifically for a big family trip to Spain, so that always transports me back to that amazing holiday. And, for some reason, whenever I wear Cacharel’s Amor Amor perfume, I instantly know that it’s time to party! That’s a kind of transportation right…

Stranger in a strange land

#198: What’s your favourite part about visiting a new place — the food? The architecture? The people watching?

Hmm… this is tricky! I don’t think I have a favourite as they’re all equally exciting! All of those things make a new adventure truly amazing. Take Barcelona for example… not only do you have the incredible food with its unbelievably fresh fruit and cooked to perfection tapas, but you have the mind-blowing architecture from the ingenious, albeit ahead of his time, Gaudi and amazingly talented street performers to watch (as well as watching the locals go about their day).

I love Barcelona… and Spain in general. I want to go back!

Tourist trap

#154: What’s your dream tourist destination — either a place you’ve been and loved, or a place you’d love to visit? What about it speaks to you?

I was going to pick Borneo as I would love nothing more than to go there, but since I’ve already written a few posts about it during this challenge, I wanted to choose somewhere different. Welcome to… BARCELONA!

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I’ve been there twice now and absolutely love it! Not only is the food spectacular, but you’re invited to step inside the brilliant mind of Antoni Gaudí… and I can guarantee you will never have seen anything like it in your life! After exploring Parc Güell, Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló and Casa Milà (more commonly know as La Pedrera), you can now strap yourself in and see the world through his eyes in Gaudí Experiència! This 4D experience is truly incredible and even if you have no interest in Gaudí’s work, you should still see it.

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Images: Parc Güell – eca2014.com. Sagrada Familia – enjoyourholiday.com.

Evasive action

#126: What’s the most significant secret you’ve ever kept? Did the truth ever come out?

Bit of an odd prompt… surely it wouldn’t remain a secret if I wrote about it here?! Not that there is one, but hypothetically speaking. 

Instead of leaving it there, I’m going to semi-hijack this post and share with my fellow bloggers how I spent my Sunday just gone, at the Streets of Spain along London’s Southbank! 

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It was a four day festival which brought tonnes of yummy Spanish delights to London straight from La Boqueria market! As you can see they also brought their lovely sunny weather with them, too, which made the experience even more real. We looked at every single stall before making a decision on where we wanted to get lunch from, when a certain van caught our eye called The Lawn Ranger… it was covered in grass! These beauties were from a company called The Bowler – Gourmet Balls

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It doesn’t look like anything spectacular but it really was! These are Albondigas (Spanish meatballs), that were crispy leek and queso (non-)meatballs on a bed of rice and salad, dressed with delicious aioli! I shared it with my mum but afterwards I kind of wished I’d had one to myself – it was incredibly tasty! It’s a shame though that they don’t have any fixed premises as I’d love to have a different meatball once a week 😀

We also had churros con chocolate (who wouldn’t?! When in Spain and all that!) but I had already started eating them before I got back to our seats so then completely forgot to take a picture of them. Damn enjoyment!

Hopefully Southbank will have another Streets of Spain festival next year… or sooner!

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Pictures: all my own (as you can tell by the blurry albondigas!)