Day in Orsa

The last time I visited the Orsa Bear Park, the conditions were… bad. The animals seemed to hate the weather as well, so I got almost nothing out of it. But today was compensation, everything seemed to work out for the best! Or maybe it’s just beginners luck. I thnk the first time I visited the park after they got the tigers, I got my best tiger pictures to date. Today I had someone with me who has never visited Orsa Bear Park before, so I benefited from his beginner’s luck.

Snow leopard posing
Snow leopard posing

When we got there, it was still quite cool and overcast. The tigers weren’t in a playful mood, but one of them was lying quite close so we got off to a good start. Then we checked out the leopards and found one of the snow leopards in a very good position, eating grass. Lots of it. Carnivore? But before it joined its partner to sleep on the ugly wooden platform, it gave us a nice pose.

Persian leopard
Tails up

One of the persian leopards was on the move, it was walking around the enclosure which as such is a bit worrying behaviour but it gave up after a few rounds and then slept the rest of our visit (we checked the enclosure four times).

By now the cloud cover started disappearing so we had to go down to the polar bears before we had the sun to deal with, which is an issue in Orsa Bear Park. There are almost no views to any enclosure without shooting through the chain link fence and not only does it make the picture ugly, but it also keeps fooling autofocus so it isn’t as easy to get sharp pictures as it is when it’s overcast. Anyway, we got really really lucky with the polar bear. It approached the pond from the opposite side where we were standing, so we got this perfect reflection on the calm water. I’m really happy with the picture, but it only works as long as you’re willing to forget the polar bears’ natural habitat… blueberry brush is not quite it.

Polar bear x2
Polar bear x2

We walked up and down the park three times, finished off the visit at the restaurant on top (high prices, average food, exactly what you’d expect) and drove home happy. Made a couple of stops on the way, first to take a look at the best orchid spot near Loos (almost everything was over bloom) and then checked out a couple of tarns with red-throated loons. I couldn’t make anything worth keeping with my 300mm but I was delighted to see that one of the loon couples had a young.

Can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday!

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