Monthly Archives: February 2012

Shoebill at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

The shoebill: Some birds just look weird

I had a home inspection up in Escondido today, and when I’m in that area I always try to make it by the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park for a little while. Safari Park comprises about 1,800 acres, eighteen times larger than the San Diego Zoo. That makes it feasible to have some animals that require more room to roam than what the Zoo can provide.

The mountains are bigger….

The lakes are bigger….

The gardens are bigger….

Some of the birds are bigger:

Shoebill at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Shoebill at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

That’s a shoebill (Balaeniceps rex), named for its massive shoe-like bill:

Shoebill at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

I don’t have any shoes like that, but it does remind me of those wooden shoes that they wear in Holland.

The shoebill gets up to 59 inches tall, weighs up to 15 pounds, and has a wing span up to 100 inches. It is indigenous to tropical swamps in east Africa.

Known to ancient Egyptians, the shoebill was not classified until the 19th century when the scientific community got some live birds. Originally it was classified with the storks but recent DNA studies indicate that it is more closely related to pelicans. Some ornithologists consider the shoebill to be the missing link between pelicans and storks.

Habitat destruction and hunting have resulted in the shoebill being listed as a vulnerable species.

There are two shoebills at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park. Check out the look that this one is giving me:

Shoebill at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Belinda SpillmanThis post is dedicated to Belinda Spillman, a real estate agent with Cornerstone Homes/Metro Brokers Marina Square in Aurora, Colorado. I have known Belinda for a couple of years through significant interaction on the Internet at a real estate professional networking site. I highly recommend her for anyone needing real estate services in the Denver, Colorado, area.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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The ocellated turkey: Not your average Thanksgiving turkey!

One of the advantages of having an annual pass to the San Diego Zoo is that if I miss seeing something today, I can go again tomorrow, or the next day, or next week. In fact, if I’m in the neighborhood, I can run in real quick just to see if the animal I haven’t seen is out and about. If it’s not, no big deal.

One of the birds that I have been wanting to see based on its picture plate is the ocellated turkey (Meleagris ocellata). This bird is not your average Thanksgiving turkey:

Ocellated turkey at the San Diego Zoo

The ocellated turkey is indigenous to the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, as well as the northern parts of Belize and Guatemala. Females weigh up to eight pounds with males weighing up to fifteen pounds. The feathers are quite irridescent, as better seen in this picture:

Ocellated turkey at the San Diego Zoo

Females lay up to 15 eggs in a nest on the ground, and incubation is about 28 days. Although the feathers are very beautiful, the face is one that only a mother could love:

Ocellated turkey at the San Diego Zoo

This post is dedicated to Peg Barcelo-Jackson, a home stager and owner of Fluff My House Home Staging in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I have known Peg for a couple of years via the Internet and can highly recommend her for anyone needing home staging or decorating services in the Edmonton area.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Victoria crowned pigeons at the San Diego Zoo

Picture of the momentAlthough most people go to the San Diego Zoo to see the big wildlife — giant pandas, elephants, giraffes, rhinoceroses, polar bears, zebras — I find it much more relaxing to walk through the many aviaries and visit the other bird exhibits. Maybe that’s because I really don’t enjoy the big crowds that gather around the big animals.

One of the birds that I always enjoy seeing — and taking pictures of — is the Victoria crowned pigeon (Goura victoria):

Victoria crowned pigeon at the San Diego Zoo

Victoria crowned pigeon at the San Diego Zoo

Victoria crowned pigeon at the San Diego Zoo

Victoria crowned pigeon at the San Diego Zoo

Victoria crowned pigeon at the San Diego Zoo

I love the red eyes.

The Victoria crowned pigeon is the largest of the pigeon species, weighing an average of 5¼ pounds. It is named in honor of Queen Victoria and lives in the lowlands and swamp forests of New Guinea and the surrounding islands. It is listed as a vulnerable species due to habitat loss and being hunted for meat and its beautiful plumes.

This post is dedicated to Steve Loynd, a real estate agent in Lincoln, New Hampshire. Today happens to be Steve’s birthday, but you’ll have to ask him how old he is. I have known Steve via the Internet for about three years and can highly recommend him for anyone needing real estate services in the Lincoln, New Hampshire, area.

Find other posts in my Picture of the Moment series by clicking on the logo at the upper right.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Music on Mondays — #4: I walk the line

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

#4
I walk the line

I don’t remember much about my father because he killed himself in 1961 when I was just six years old. One thing I do remember is that he loved Johnny Cash. Cash’s music was always playing around the house.

I remember one time when I was laying on the floorboard in the back seat of the car, dad was driving, and mom was in the other front seat. Not sure where my older brother and younger sister were. As we were going wherever we were going, “I Walk The Line” came on the radio and I started singing along with it. To this day it’s my favorite Johnny Cash song.

“I Walk The Line” was originally released on May 1, 1956. Cash wrote the song in 20 minutes and recorded it in one day, tasks that take much longer in today’s world.

“I Walk The Line” became Cash’s first #1 country hit on the Billboard charts and crossed over to the pop charts to peak at #17 (some sources say #19), selling over two million copies. The song was originally on his album With His Hot and Blue Guitar.

Cash re-recorded the song four times after its initial release: for the I Walk the Line album in 1964, for the At San Quentin album in 1969, for the I Walk the Line soundtrack in 1970, and lastly in 1988 for the Classic Cash: Hall of Fame Series album. The original recording is still the best, as original recordings often are. It’s hard to compete with that initial surge of enthusiasm and creative genius.

This post is dedicated to Michele Miller, Executive Assistant and Realtor for Keller Williams in Worcestor, Massachusetts. At the site where I had been hanging out for the past three years, Michele was instrumental in my Music on Mondays series. She also has a Music on Mondays series, but she started hers a good nine months or more before mine. I copied her, a fact which she didn’t mind. If you are needing the services of a Realtor in the Worcestor, Massachusetts, area, I can highly recommend Michele as I have known of her excellent work for the last three years through my interaction with her on the Internet.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

An inherent desire to help others

Alpha Phi OmegaThis post is dedicated to the men and women of Xi Delta chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, National Co-ed Service Fraternity, at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

Throughout my life I have had this inherent desire to help other people. It started at Henrietta M. King High School in Kingsville, Texas, when I joined Key Club, a service organization that is in many high schools throughout the nation.

It continued at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, when I pledged Alpha Phi Omega, National Service Fraternity. Texas A&M was founded as a military college in 1876. Women were admitted for the first time in 1964, and social fraternities finally found their way to campus in the mid-1970s. Alpha Phi Omega was one of the first Greek letter organizations allowed on campus; Xi Delta chapter was founded at Texas A&M in 1962.

Alpha Phi OmegaAlpha Phi Omega introduced me to Special Olympics, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Red Cross, American Heart Association, blood drives, assisted care facilities, animal shelters, and so much more. I became aware of the world and the people who were suffering, hungry, homeless…. Xi Delta chapter at Texas A&M awarded me its Distinguished Service Key in 1977, its highest honor.

I remained involved with Alpha Phi Omega for fifteen years after college but I also broadened my experiences by becoming directly involved with Special Olympics, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Red Cross, and American Heart Association.

When I moved to San Diego from College Station, Texas, in 1993, helping other people had to take a back seat to helping myself get established in a new locale. Although I haven’t spent a lot of time helping others since 1993, I do make it a point to donate money to the organizations that I was involved with in the past. They need money just as much as they need volunteers.

Xi Delta is celebrating fifty years of service to its members, the Texas A&M campus, the Bryan/College Station community, and the United States of America.

Here’s to another fifty years of service…. In the Southeastern Conference! Gig ‘em, Aggies!

Texas A&M University

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Golden eagle at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park

Picture of the momentI have been a member of the San Diego Zoological Society for many years, mostly because the cost of an annual membership is just twice that of a one-day visit. Just one visit a year, then, to the Zoo and to the Safari Park pays for the membership.

More important than that, though, is that I can go anytime I want and spend just a couple of hours, not feeling it necessary to try to see everything and do everything to get my money’s worth.

I have found that by going at different times of the day at different times of the year, I can see things that often are missed on just a one-day visit, specifically the various Ambassadors. Ambassadors are not what you might think; they are not human. They are various animals that the Zoological Society uses for educational purposes at schools and various other events. At any specific visit, you don’t know whether or not you’ll see an Ambassador, or which Ambassador it will be.

At various times I have seen echidnas, alpacas, cheetahs, and mccaws. At a recent visit I was privileged to see a golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) Ambassador and got some great pictures which I share with you today.

Golden eagle Ambassador at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Golden eagle Ambassador at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Golden eagle Ambassador at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Golden eagle Ambassador at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Golden eagle Ambassador at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Golden eagle Ambassador at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Golden eagle Ambassador at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

This golden eagle was rescued from the wild where it had been injured. Although it has been rehabilitated, it has also been imprinted. Imprinting happens when people feed a wild animal with the result being that the wild animal no longer understands that it needs to hunt for food. Instead, it sees a human and believes that the human will give it food. That, of course, makes it dangerous for an imprinted bird to be out flying about where it might see humans.

Interesting facts about golden eagles:

  • The highest density of nesting golden eagles is in Alameda County, California, where Oakland is located.
  • Golden eagle territories can be as large as sixty square miles.
  • They are monogamous, usually mate for life, build huge nests, and lay one to four eggs, although only one or two birds survive.
  • Its wing span in the wild can be up to 7.7 feet, up to 9.2 feet in captivity. Captive birds also usually weigh more, up to 27 pounds.
  • The female is the larger of the sexes.
  • The only known predators of golden eagle nests are wolverines and brown bears.
  • The golden eagle is the most common national animal in the world.
  • It is the eighth most depicted bird on postage stamps throughout the world.

Scot #4198b - Golden Eagle

Find other posts in my Picture of the Moment series by clicking on the logo at the upper right.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Friday Flower Fiesta — #5: February 24, 2012

Friday Flower Fiesta

Today’s Friday Flower Fiesta post is dedicated to Sally and David Hanson.

Sally and David are real estate agents with Keller Williams in Brookfield, Wisconsin. I have known Sally and David as virtual friends for several years and had the privilege of actually meeting them over in Palm Springs in 2010. If you need a real estate agent in the southeast Wisconsin area, I can highly recommend Sally and David — two great agents for the price of one!

Sally and David, this Friday Flower Fiesta is for you!

The pictures in today’s Friday Flower Fiesta were taken this past week at the properties where I was doing home inspections.

Picture 1 & 2
Purple irisPurple iris

Purple iris

 

Picture 3
Purple ice plantPurple ice plant

 

Picture 4
Blue agaveBlue agave

 

Picture 5 & 6
TulipsTulips

Tulip

 

Picture 7 & 8
CliviaClivia

Clivia

 

Picture 9
Unknown bromeliad Unknown bromeliad

 

Remember the power of flowers to brighten your day!

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat