As I walked through the zoo in the early morning, the sound of something howling loudly was echoing across the grounds. It sounded very cat-like, but it was coming from the full opposite side of the zoo from the lions and tigers. The only possible explanation was it being the sound of a cheetah, although I can’t say I ever heard the cheetahs make such a noise before.
Upon approaching the cheetah habitat, I saw this one stretching from its den, investigating the source of the sound as I was.
Afterwards, it looked quite annoyed at being woken so early.
One of the Dwarf Mongooses decided to play peek with me. Abiding, I knelt on the floor and watched it run from hiding space to hiding space, peering at me quickly and then ducking its head away and tearing off to a new location in the habitat.
I captured a dozen or so blurry shots as it sped back and forth, up and down, watching me from various locations.
After about ten minutes of this, it finally stopped for a quick break, letting down its guard so I could snap a focused shot.
The Flamingos are always a fun visit. There are dozens of the birds, squawking loudly, and breaking their beautiful stances to spontaneously run for no apparent reason.
Sharing their space, these two ducks were putting on a show of their own. As you can see, the lighter duck was performing a mating-neck-bite (that, weirdly, we see our cats do from time to time) that the darker duck was trying hard to escape. Eventually they ran through the crowd of standing flamingos; this in no way made the flamingos happy, and a riot-like rush of bright birds charged through the habitat as a result.
The Gray Seal was taking a leisurely swim early in the morning.
The Sea Lions, on the other hand, were swimming like mad. This one came to the glass and decided to say hello, following my hand back and forth for a good five minutes.
If I ever saw a raven before, I’ve forgotten the experience. But I’ll say, after seeing this raven at the zoo last weekend, it is hard for me to imagine I could have possibly forgotten the creature. It was truly fantastic to watch.
I made the first zoo trip of the year this past weekend. Although I had seen the newly renovated American Trail before, this was the first time I had a quiet run with the animals on what was a chilly, early morning.
The wolves were quite stunning.
This guy was watching the zookeepers ready its breakfast. Look closely and tell me that isn’t the universal “give me food” animal look.
No trip to the zoo is complete without a tour of the Small Mammal House.
The mammals are very aware of early morning visitors, and often wary of them as well.
The Pale Faced Saki’s are one of my favorite small guys. They were a bit disinterested in me last weekend; of course, it was breakfast time.
The Meercats are always fun to visit.
Although I can honestly say I have never, ever seen one of the speedy guys lay down before.
The baby howler money was quite a sight.
I forget what type of bird this was, but it kept pecking at me from behind the glass. Hence, this aggressive looking shot.
Heading down the steep hill of the zoo.
I’m sure we all have felt this way before.
Perhaps I wasn’t the only one who woke at 5:00 to visit the zoo that day.
I really enjoy visiting Murphy, the Komodo Dragon. I was watching him intently knowing there was a man with his small boy approaching behind me. Sure enough, as I have seen in the past, a very disinterested Murphy turned suddenly aware of a new visitor. Komodo Dragons seem to really, really like visiting children…
One of the zoo’s two beautiful Caracals.
And finally, with the newly reopened American Trail, the return of the wonderful Bald Eagle.
Continuing the Asian Trail journey.
Nothing has more energy or cuteness in the early morning than the Red Pandas. Two were racing around their habitat, showing off for me and each other. Unfortunately, there were no zoo staff present; the Red Pandas really seem to ham it up for those they are familiar with (and, of course, who feed them).
Sloth Bear! Two of them, actually (although only pictures of one). I am not sure I have ever seen the zoo’s sloth bear; if I have, it was a very long time ago. But there were two bears out this past weekend, wandering around with playful enthusiasm.
I’m almost ashamed at how much I take the Giant Panda for granted. They are so beautiful and rare, yet oddly common for the periodic zoo visitor. Mornings are a good time to watch them chow down on bamboo…and this one was chowing down…on bamboo.
The two young, newborn fishing cats (fishing kittens?) were putting on quite a show. Like the cheetahs and lions, they are cats in the pure sense of the word. Jump, play, run, jump some more, and in the last shot, attack mom’s tail.
A pile of spots just beyond the Asian Trail.
Cheetahs, of course.
I continued around the bird area to the flamingos.
Beyond photogenic, these birds have one of the craziest group squawking noises one would ever want to hear. As I start to grow close to their habitat, I can hear them yapping away, and the noise is incredible once I’m staring straight at them. Then, as if on command, they will all put their heads down and rest. However, all I have to do is wait a few minutes; one will start the cry, and soon many are yelling again.
The Double-Wattled Cassowary is my favorite bird at the zoo. Looking like it was put together from spare parts of an emu, turkey, rooster, and who knows how many other animals, this peculiar creature is just remarkable to watch. It was eating from a batch of weeds right in front of me, so I got some interesting, if not a bit blurry, macro shots.
The Stanley Crane cracks me up for no real reason other than it just always looks so happy to see me. Flanked with a sign that says, “caution, aggressive crane” on the fence of its habitat, Mr. Stanley has learned to crawl through the high hedges that were placed a year or so ago to see me close up.
I forgot to post this Kori Bustard pair yesterday.
This Crested Screamer looked like it had something rather angry to say to me, but it held its tongue.
The Red-Legged Seriema, on the other hand, made up for the Screamer’s silence in spades.
I don’t care how noble other animals in the zoo are; whether it be the lion, the Komodo Dragon, or the Giant Pandas, few creatures give me that ruler of all around them more than the King Vulture does. It is truly an ominous sight.
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The Older Blog
Something OffSomething Off
There is no hole deep enough to stifle the sound of protest
There is no man ridiculous enough to quiet the world
Maria Alyokhina must be freed
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova must be freed
Viet Khang must be freed
Tran Vu Anh Binh must be freed
Vladimir Putin there is something off in your world
Truong Tan Sang there is something off in your world
I hope so
Contemplating Silent Wishes
Contemplating Silent Wishes, the second release from Fertanish, presents minimalist, experimental rhythms and sounds that patiently travel through a complicated and mesmerizing composition.
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