Archive for the ‘birds’ Category
Our last stop on our way home was at the Knoxville Zoo. One really nice perk of a zoo membership is reciprocal agreements with other zoos. Most either offer free admission or give a signficant discount to members of other zoos. In Knoxville, all we had to pay for was parking. Our museum membership has a similar network–definitely a great way to support local institutions and at the same time save money on vacation.
It was, however, a somewhat grey day, with showers on and off. There were very few other attendees, as the animals were also taking it easy. The river otter, however, was having a good time doing back flips.
They have a striking profile.
My daughter has been taking up the photo habit as well.
There were a pair of non-releasable bald eagles hanging out.
The red wolf is a very endangered species. The core wild population is actually in my old neck of the woods: southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas.
I think we woke the lion.
We went to go see the Malayan tigers, where a keeper was just wrapping up a talk.
We spoke with the keeper. Tam, and his brother, were cubs five years ago in the Cincinnati Zoo. They were some of my first cat photos! I showed them a few baby pics, with a lot of “awwws.” They looked at my favorite shot of them, below, and they thought it might be Tam.
The drizzle picked up, and Tam got bored of us.
The centerpiece of the Knoxville Zoo is their Red Panda Village.
In fact, more red pandas have been born in Knoxville, 101, than any other zoo in the Western Hemisphere. Only a Dutch zoo has had more.
Red pandas are the only remaining true panda species. The giant panda–the black and white kind–are actually bears.
Red pandas were actually discovered (and named) first.
They also happen to be my daughter’s favorite animal.
We had a lot of fun wrestle and chase each other.
We could have spent a long time watching the firefoxes, as red pandas are also known, play. However, we had to make our way back to Cincinnati.
My daughter has been at camp this month, leaving my wife and I alone. This gave us a weekend to ourselves. We felt that the combination of being temporarily childless and our anniversary entitled us to a romantic weekend away…
Not an obvious choice, but there were a couple things we thought would want to do. One of the things we wanted to check out was the Akron Zoo. Zoos are a favorite of my family, but, in particular, we wanted to see Malaya and Makalu, their baby snow leopards.
They weren’t quite three months old when we got to see them, and were only out for about an hour-and-a-half. There was a line to see them–groups were allowed to go to the window, and you could get back in line (which we did–four times). It was actually well run. When we got there, Malaya, the girl, was climbing about as snow leopards (and, really, all kittens) are want to do.
Her brother was dozing at first.
On our second pass, he moved to the other side, where he could see the deer in the next enclosure.
It was then that we realized that Shanti, their mother, was in there with her. She was quite stunning.
With mom around, everyone settled in for a nap (and a family portrait).
I have a 16:9 aspect ratio version of this photo for use as wallpaper on Flickr.
We walked by the snow leopard enclosure later–it was near the entrance–and Roscoe, the father was out. He was equally handsome.
If a bit cheeky.
Near the snow leopards was a cool jaguar.
Jaguars are one of three cat species who enjoy going in water (along with tigers, and, of course, fishing cats). This jaguar wanted his floaty.
Speaking of tigers, Jae Jae was dozing. Cats do sleep a good chunk of their days.
Shani and Tamarr, the lion couple looked quite magnificent on their perch.
The second most interesting cat was an example of felis silvestris catus, a domestic cat.
She was stealing the food from a pair of storks.
We were told that this was a stray who had a kitten. The keepers were trying to catch her, but haven’t had much luck. They said that the storks don’t seem to mind. The cat, however, got a bit annoyed when they took a step too close.
One thing we did learn in all this is that storks are carnivores. I hadn’t really considered it one way or the other.
The birds were pretty cool. They had five non-releasable bald eagles.
I’m afraid I got a bit too close to the burrowing owl. Once again, I’m sorry, little guy!
The flamingos were hanging about in their pond. They always make me think of my mom.
Two different canids were present. We loved watching the coyote run around, even without a road runner.
Next door, a red wolf napped in the sun.
“Why did you wake me?” (We didn’t really wake him, but he did look like he could use a cup of coffee.)
The otters got a great tank to swim in, and we could easily get different views of them–and them us!
I love to see red pandas, even when they are in a ball, as Zheng demonstrates.
There was a small aquarium, which had lionfish, a favorite of mine.
And a Galapagos tortoise sunning himself.
I really liked the Akron Zoo. It is a smaller zoo, but all the enclosures seemed very up to date. Their app is awesome, and gives the names for many animals (in some cases, I couldn’t tell who’s who, but nice to have some idea). They had some neat displays, such as one showing how coral exhibits photoluminescence.
There was a slide that went through part of the otter’s tank. They could easily stay away from it, but I saw them swim along with sliding kids (or, kids at heart).
There was a cool sculpture by the eagles.
One think I really liked was that almost every enclosure had a tag for an advocacy group for that animal. For instance, by the snow leopards, there was one for the Snow Leopard Trust. Appropriately, I was wearing one of their t-shirts.
We had a great time at the Akron Zoo, and definitely think we’ll need to go back with our daughter.
The Marvin Lewis Community Fund sponsored Learning is Cool. Cincinnati Public School students who were on the “A” honor role twice were invited to an evening at the zoo, and receive a medal, given by members of a local sports team. Once again, my daughter was on the “A” honor role four times. Of course we would go to the zoo!
John the lion has a new pal, Imani.
John must think so, too, as he’s trying to look his best.
They do make a cute couple.
Nearby cheetahs were looking like bookends. No runs were scheduled that evening.
Gizmo, an African white-faced owl, was out. We saw him before. He’s quite cute.
A red panda was in the tree, grooming.
One of the Malayan tigers was demonstrating his camouflage in the tall grass.
A cougar was relaxing in a less-than-camouflaged fashion.
The highlight for me was Nubo and Renji.
The snow leopard duo were bouncing off the walls!
Who says cheetahs are the only cats who can sprint.
We got to see a baby flamingo.
Later, they paraded by.
Before we left, we said “hi” to Louisiana girl Sayia.
It was an enjoyable evening at the zoo.
I was surprised to realize that, in 2014, I haven’t been to a zoo. I’ve been to the Newport Aquarium, but the last time I saw non-fish was when we went to the Birmingham Zoo just before New Year’s Day. The Polar Vortex played a large role in that. With Spring and Zoo Blooms upon us, I’m sure we’ll be rectifying that, but it really had been far too long. When we had an opportunity to visit the Saint Louis Zoo, we were excited.
The Saint Louis Zoo is among the oldest zoos in the country, and has many of the original buildings (at once an interesting and depressing point). It’s also notable that, for what many regard as a top zoo, admission is free. If you look hard enough and/or don’t mind walking, the whole day can be of no charge to you.
The first animal we encountered was a Malayan sun bear. I confess I thought this small bear was a cub until someone clued me in.
Next door, a grizzly bear appeared to be sleeping one off.
We set out towards the big cats, making a stop to say “hi” to one of our new favorites, the red panda.
He climbed up to some of his favorite treat, bamboo.
A nearby prairie dog seems to have picked up the bamboo habit from his neighbor.
Some of the enclosures are historic. This isn’t uncommon in many zoos, though they do try to house species which are a better match to the space by modern criteria. There was one indoor area for some animals, such as the giraffe, where the age showed, and was retro in the sense that it wasn’t generally done. In there, I didn’t want to take pictures. I’m sure the animal welfare is considered–the Saint Louis Zoo is AZA accredited (the gold standard, in my opinion), and participates in Species survival Plans–but it seemed some upgrades were needed.
Another place this seemed to come out was in the big cat area. The animals did have plenty of space, but it did not seem to have the modern attempt at habitat like, say, Cat Canyon. The Amur tiger, largest of the felids, had plenty of space, but the area had an artificial bent.
He was able to confer with a next-door jaguar, again, in a seeming unnatural fashion. Neither cat seemed to be bothered by the presence of the other. Personally, I worry when two cats have too many conferences.
As you can see, the jaguar is melanistic–a panther! I couldn’t see spots from the distance, but I always love how light plays on a black cat’s coat.
I have a soft spot in my heart for black cats.
The lioness seemed to be having a chat by a gate.
The snow leopard took an afternoon nap.
The Amur leopard was also taking a nap.
Amur leopards are among the rarest cats in the world. There are 176 are in captivity, and less than thirty believed to be in the wild.
There were only three small cats on display, mostly due to their position on the purr/roar line. The snow leopard, cheetahs (who weren’t out on this dreary day), and cougars. They were also hanging out in a cave.
However, for some reason, they had a Bobcat in the black rhino’s enclosure.
The zebra grazed a bit.
One of the non-cats I always love is the okapi.
The oakpi are related to giraffe, which seems obvious from their tongues.
Two cow-like critters were represented. The bantang…
…and the takin. Not sure if he’s been promoted to Grand Moff.
A small herd of red kangaroos was munching on grass.
The sea lions were having an argument.
The Asian elephants kept their distance.
Hyenas always strike me as awkward looking.
My daughter is a huge otter fan.
A river otter surveyed his domain.
In the bird exhibit, a rhinoceros hornbill ate lunch.
I had never seen a bateleur eagle before, but was taken by his colors.
The crested wood partridge also had some great color.
The Bali mynah is a rare bird, with only sixty left in the wild.
The tawny frogmouths were hanging out.
A burrowing owl took a break from lunch to say “hi.”
Outside, there was a bald eagle.
His wings were impressive.
Overall, we had a great time at the Saint Louis Zoo.
My mom lives right on Lake Charles. The region seems to attract a wide variety of birds, and we often go feed them. Unlike last year, we saw no pelican. However, two Muscovy ducks were hanging around.
My daughter and her cousin named them Marvin and Lucy, but truly, I’m not even sure of their gender. We didn’t exchange names.
They were pretty however.
They seemed to enjoy looking out on the water like we did.
Until they decided it was time to fly off.
The seagulls were all too happy to eat the bread my daughter and her cousin were offering.
Special shout out to Laurie and @twitricia for helping to identify the Muscovy ducks. I honestly had no clue.
Santos, the ocelot cub (“ocelittle”) at the Cincinnati Zoo is about the size of Eddy when I first met him. I have to remind myself that he was only two weeks old, and will sleep a lot more than he plays. I decided to check on him today, at the three-week mark. He was still a sleepily little boy.
Love the chin!
But he did start to wake up a bit. I got to see his eyes!
Clearly, he’s more capable. I got to see him walk around a bit…
And even play with a keeper, and the plush animals in his enclosure.
I was a bit crazy going out to the zoo–the temperature never saw above thirty. I stopped into Night Hunters, in part to warm up. A black footed cat was in plain sight.
And a sand cat fell asleep on top of his hill.
The bobcat looked like he had some news for me…
Miss Caracal was back!
I hadn’t seen her since at least the spring. I don’t know where she was, but I was getting a bit worried. It was really good to see her again!
While humans weren’t fond of the cold day, snow leopards live for it. Renji and Nubo were up front, and happy to have a chat.
Nubo was a bit of a show-off.
Renji maintained her mysterious composure.
While there are plenty of unusual animals in the official collection, there are “wild” animals that pass through. The problems squirrels were causing made news lately. Today, I saw a domesticated cat, probably a stray, on the grounds.
I had mentioned I didn’t get to see puffins too often. My wife pointed out the Cincinnati Zoo had them, we just don’t go in the exhibit that often. I was passing it, it looked warm, so I popped in.
I also got a family picture of all three red pandas!
While cold, it was a good day to see the zoo, and I am glad to see little Santos growing up.
The Cincinnati Zoo wrapped up HallZOOween this weekend. We always enjoy going. My daughter went as Hello Kitty.
We got to see Gizmo, the African white-faced owl, again. He had just come to Cincinnati last time we got to meet him. He’s really a cool bird.
Nearby, we got to see all three members of our giraffe family.
John the lion looked increadibly regal.
He was very interestedin what we were doing.
The artic foxes are changing from their summer to winter coats. Still, there were a fwe spots of grey.
The black bear was taking a nap.
I’m really not sure what this cougar was looking at (I can’t tell if it was Joseph or Techumseh without seeing their face). Watching them, I could see my cats’ moves in them.
Nubo was looking for something, too.
It simply bored Renji.
Nubo then wandered off.
We’ve become quite taken with red pandas–they’re definitely towards the top of my non-cat list.
The zoo has a baby red panda, but he wasn’t out. I suspect this was one of his parents, eating bamboo.
Overall, it was a great day at the zoo.
I’ve been making trips to Oxford, Ohio on my bike a couple times this month, even doing a loop of Hueston Woods State Park. While doing a loop of Hueston Woods was one of my favorite bike rides while in college, I rarely went beyond it.
However, we were looking for something to do on a Saturday afternoon, and I came up with the idea of going out there. I figure we could be nostalgic alumni, having a late lunch at Bagel and Deli. This was one of our favorite places to grab a sandwich while my wife and I were in college. Afterwards, we could go to Hueston Woods State Park, and hike some of their trails. My wife thought it would be fun to go down to Acton Lake, which centers the park. The other advantage is that it set us up for going to the original location of Jungle Jim’s, as we needed some things we thought we could only get there.
The deal was sealed when we discovered their nature center had a cougar. The web page suggested they just got it–cougar cubs are awesome! There was no date on the post, so it could well have grown up by now. Still, it would be great to see the cat.
We got a bit of a late start–we didn’t get to Oxford until a quarter of Four. Our late lunch (or is it now and early supper?) would be a picnic. We drove to the Nature Center. One neat thing was that most signs not only detailed facts about the animal, but also their names. Timber, the cougar, was in his enclosure, hanging out in his house.
Next door Eli, a bobcat, was having supper. Eli was originally a pet, but his owners could not continue to care for him, so he was surrendered to a wildlife rescue. Prior to that, he was declawed, so there is no way he could be released into the wild. Things I believe that this underscores: wild cats aren’t pets, and declawing is bad.
The Nature Center was also home to a Raptor Rehabilitation Center. Several birds of prey were present. Nannok is a rough tailed hawk.
Next to Nannook was a great horned owl, whose name I didn’t catch.
The largest enclosure was for a bald eagle.
Rose is a red-tailed hawk.
A close-up of the hawk’s eye.
Clyde, the barred owl, kept looking away. I finally said, “Clyde, can I please take your picture?” He turned to look at me. Handsome owl!
My personal favorite, however, was Rachel the kestrel.
After checking out the nature center, we had our bagels, enjoying the unseasonable-for-August weather, which was absolutely pleasant. Then, we went to the Cedar Falls trail, and started hiking.
We saw wild crawfish.
“Daddy, can I take a picture with your camera?”
After our hike, we went to the beach at Acton Lake.
Seagulls and geese…an odd combination.
We left as the sun was starting to set. As we drove around the loop, we noticed all the other things at Hueston Woods: horse rental, archery, even tree climbing. It’s amazing how many things are in this area–and it’s not that far from home. We’ll definitely have to come back.
The Cincinnati Zoo opened up their new “Africa” section while we were on our trip. One of the older parking lots was converted to a large exhibit space, between the rest of the zoo and the Cathryn Hilker Running Yard. Some parts of Africa, such as the flamingos and giraffes, have been there for a while. Other parts, such as the hoofed animals, will be joining next year. This year, we got tawny lions. The first to come out was John.
He was one of the “Magnificent Seven” born at the National Zoo in 2010. No word on if he knew Rusty.
He’s still exploring his enclosure, and making it his. Here is an example of some of the marking behavior he did to some trees.
Could someone get a kitty a scratching post?
This handsome young man will be joined with a female from another zoo, as part of a Species Survival Plan. As I keep telling Renji and Nubo, Cincinnati is a great place to raise kids.
Or just spend an afternoon dozing back-to-back.
The snow leopards are still in Cat Canyon…I just had a good segue.
While there have been cheetahs running continuously, since they closed the old cat canyon, none have been on exhibit until the new Africa section.
Paws up, y’all!
Speaking of kids, the nursery had a baby skunk!
Baby skunks are cute.
Pygmy Falcon Babies are cute, hanging out next to the skunk. Are they plotting an escape?
Are they consulting with the red panda? Probably not–looks like he’s getting his nap on.
…Or that’s what he wants us to think!
We stopped by Night Hunters to check on the little ones there. The pallas kittens were dozing in a “bowl,” showing how their coats camouflage them.
The ocelittle was being groomed by his mother.
Mom! Not in front of the primates!
Sand cats aren’t worried about it.
The black footed cat didn’t care, and was right up in front to let us know he didn’t care.
Another day with a bobcat but no caracal. I hope “Miss Lop-Ears” is OK.
We enjoyed checking out the Africa section, seeing old friends, and making new ones.
A six hour drive westward brought us from Montreal to Toronto, where Canada’s largest zoo is located. The Toronto Zoo has a large collection of animals, as well as visitors in the parking lot.
In terms of area, this is the largest zoo I’ve seen with the exceptions of the Wilds and the San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park. Most of the large animals had enormous enclosures. For example, the bison practically had a prairie.
The Bison were in the Canadian Domain section. Half of the small cats we saw were there. Two Canadian Lynxes were hanging out in the drizzle. One was trying to hide from the rain.
The other didn’t let it deter him.
They also had a pair of cougars. When we were standing there, we learned that a government agency released a couple of cougars to take care of an overpopulation of fishers, a fierce member of the weasel problem.
We saw plenty of “moose crossing” signs as we drove through Quebec, but never saw a moose (or a deer, for that matter). We watched this gentle giant enjoy his lunch.
The big thrill in Canadian Domain was the grizzly. One appeared to be juvenile.
The boisterous youngster seemed to be intent on playing with an older bear. Personally, I wouldn’t mess with her.
Adjacent to the Canadian Domain was the Tundra Trek, showing the animals of the Arctic.
Our favorite was the Arctic wolves.
The Arctic fox was displaying his summer coat.
I liked the snowy owl.
The polar bear was having a lazy afternoon.
One thing I found interesting was an inuksuk, a marking stone used by the Inuit.
The America’s section was home to the otters.
We always love the antics of river otters.
The spectacled owls watched us as we entered.
One enclosure had parrots and capybaras. A capybara got a bit too curious about the parrots’ goings on.
He was escorted off their perch.
The Toronto Zoo has two jaguars. One is tawny, taking a bath.
The other was melanistic. It looked a little like Luna.
The cheetah keeper was giving a talk at 1:30. We got there at 1:27, and saw no cats. Right as my watched hit half-past, we saw a head.
Zeek the cheetah knew when he’d get a snack.
Such a handsome cat.
Next door was a white lion pride. A male.
…and two females.
We watched them for a bit. I think we bored him.
Obviously, this was in the Africa section, also home to Southern white rhinos.
The antelope played in the drizzle.
And African elephants. African elephants have larger ears than their Asian counterparts.
I’ve seen plenty of pictures of sugar gliders, but I don’t think I’ve seen one in person before.
This was in the indoor Australia exhibit. I liked the reptiles, such as a one year old emerald tree boa.
The bearded dragon just watched.
A sign indicated that their clouded leopard was an older cat, and the zoo keepers were trying to keep her comfortable. She simply dozed as an older feline should.
The gaur is a fairly rare species–from what I can tell, the Toronto Zoo is the only one in North america who has them. Also known as the Indian Bison, it is the tallest species of wild cattle.
The spider tortoise is one of the smallest of the tortoise species.
Only one of the two subspecies of tiger, the Sumatran tiger, was visible when we went.
A reindeer was sprinting around his enclosure. It was fun to watch him run.
The Toronto Zoo is getting two giant pandas on a five-year loan.
There was a large “Interpretive Center” on the way in, speaking about these creatures. It left me perplexed: they eat only one species of bamboo, but only get nutrients from about half of what they consume. They eat all of their waking life. Have they become overspecialized?
The Eurasian exhibit was, for the most part, closed. A tram went through part of it. We were told we could see the snow leopard, and given a series of wrong directions, leading us to circumnavigate much of the zoo, only to finally find out that, while the snow leopards were still at the zoo, they could not be seen while we were there. This exhibit is being remodeled, set to open in 2014. This was a major disappointment to me.
However, it was still a very impressive zoo. We were there pretty much from opening to close, and I’m not entirely sure how we would have fit in another section during our time there. The exhibits were well done, and there was a lot of space for the animals living there.