No, you won’t see the bears on St Brelades Bay beach itself. You will, see them about five miles away at Durrell’s exquisitely landscaped 31 acre estate. The late, inspiring, Gerald Durrell founded Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, in 1963. Which was renamed in his honour in 1999 from the original name, Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust. The Trust was set up to save endangered species from extinction. Gerald Durrell was also an author and wrote the trilogy ‘My Family & Other Animals’, which the very popular TV series ‘The Durrells’ is based on.
I spent a lovely holiday in Jersey back in 2007, just prior to the Easter Bank Holiday. A room with a view, a sea view from the balcony at the Golden Sands hotel were I stayed. The hotel is right on the beach front at St Brelades Bay, a sweeping golden sandy beach. A unique find by the shore, ‘The Fisherman’s Chapel’, which is right beside St Brelade’s Church. The small chapel dates back to medieval times.
There is nothing more relaxing, to me, than waking up to a fresh sea breeze and the gentle sound of waves lapping on the shore. Followed by a day exploring and then watching the sun setting as the day draws to a close. One evening I captured a shot of a beautiful pink moon as I was strolling along the shore.
A thoroughly enjoyable few hours was had at Durrell’s estate which is the headquarters for the Trust. The Trust continues to work all over the world so the endangered species are not lost for upcoming generations. It was a joy to see how much space the animals had to roam around. I saw a gorilla happily chomping on a bamboo shoot. An interesting species of bird, with Mohican style feathers on top of their head, came into view. Red ruffed lemurs sitting on a roof and a colourful bird perched on a branch were delightful to see.
Top of the list of animals I saw at the conservation site was a lovely short-faced Andean bear also known as ‘tremarctos ornatus’. The mid-sized South American bear can have ‘spectacle’ markings, the one I saw didn’t. It did have some beige coloured markings across the face and upper chest. It had luscious black, shiny, fur with a reddish hue. Its legs slightly curved outwards, the bear, was adorable to watch while it walked around and then perched on some rocks. The much loved Paddington Bear (the fictional character) is from Peru. Indeed he is so famous there is a life-size bronze statue of him at Paddington Station in London. Paddington Station is where he was found by Mr & Mrs Brown (in the movie). Next, top of the list, was a gathering of pink flamingos. An unforgettable sight for sure.
It was just the start of the season during my trip to Jersey so it wasn’t too busy with tourists, ideal. Jersey is a great holiday destination for walking, sailing, hiking, cycling, craft making, visiting art galleries and for nature lovers. ‘Jersey Pottery’ is world renowned. With its beautiful designs inspired by its surroundings. ‘Jersey Pearl’ at five mile road in St Quen stock pearls which they source directly from pearl farmers. Jersey is a haven for photographers and also for culinary experiences. Such a small island but so, so much to offer.
The Cow by Robert Louis Stevenson
The friendly cow all red and white,
I love with all my heart:
She gives me cream with all her might,
To eat with apple-tart.
She wanders lowing here and there,
And yet she cannot stray,
All in the pleasant open air,
The pleasant light of day;
And blown by all the winds that pass
And wet with all the showers,
She walks among the meadow grass
And eats the meadow flowers.
I had seen black and white cows and some white and pale brown cows in the past, I never saw a red and white cow. Jersey cows are absolutely beautiful with their big brown eyes, long eyelashes and the beige markings on their brown fur. While on a coach tour around the island they came right up to us as we stopped to take their candid photos. Appropriately, a daffodil was in bloom.