Category Archives: Birds

Eye to eye & nose to nose

SeaWorld

This past Sunday I renewed my annual pass to SeaWorld, this time for two years (they have a cool EZ Pay monthly payment plan!) at the Super Duper Platinum level, and took off to spend four hours at SeaWorld.

SeaWorld San DiegoThe construction they did in preparation for their 50th anniversary here created a really amazing time, especially at the new entrance where there are seven or eight (I lost count) touch pools. I touched the horseshoe crabs and the mantas.

What I like most about SeaWorld is the excitement of the children. I have no doubt that they will grow up with a greater appreciation of wildlife than if they had just seen pictures in a school textbook.

The 50th Anniversary version of SeaWorld also has three flamingo exhibits. One of them is the bestest flamingo exhibit ever because the flamingos walk right up to you, separated only by a fence. You can be eye to eye and nose to nose with them. In fact, I was thinking that the public can get too close to them. If one of those big flamingos decides to go bad, to go rogue, and peck someone in the face, SeaWorld’s going to have problems. Nonetheless, here are a couple of pictures and a video of the new bestest flamingo exhibit ever:

IMG_3108 framed

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Flamingo at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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I’m off to see the Orcas, the wonderful Orcas of….

SeaWorld

Dining with Shamu at SeaWorldI have no problem saying that I’m a big fan of SeaWorld, Zoos, and Aquariums. Those who thought that Blackfish was a balanced documentary are the same people who DID NOT think that Bowling for Columbine or Fahrenheit 9/11 were balanced documentaries. And it’s true. There is no such thing as a balanced documentary because they are told from the point of view of the director, producer, and/or writer. Documentaries have a story to tell, even if it is only part of the full story.

Porcupine at Seaworld San DiegoI have watched a lot of documentaries in my life, and I have done a lot of research to get the rest of the story (smile if you remember the famous person responsible for always giving us the rest of the story).

Documentaries are one of my favorite genres because I love history and reality, except that type of reality that television gives us with The Bachelor, American Idol, and other crap (can I say crap on a family WordPress blog?).

Recently a friend with opposing views said, “Look what happened to Keiko!” Keiko was an Orca whale which starred in the movie, “Free Willy!” Knowing that said friend had no idea what happened to Keiko, I decided to help him improve his knowledge base. Here’s what happened to Keiko:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/19/freeing-willy-documentary_n_3957369.html

SeaWorld San DiegoFor those who don’t want to spare time watching an 11:43 documentary video about a whale, here’s the Cliff Notes version (smile if you remember Cliff Notes):

After $20 million and many years of teaching Keiko to hold his breath for long periods, catch his own food, and swim in harsh waters, Keiko wound up seeking out people wherever it went in the vast and free ocean. Keiko loved people.

SeaWorld San DiegoThe many whales at SeaWorld also love people. All you have to do is go watch a show at SeaWorld to see the love that is shared between the SeaWorld staff and trainers and the whales.

What people fail to realize is that Orcas are pretty big. If one is not careful, an Orca can kill you, even unintentionally in an accident. That is true with all life, though. Dogs kill people quite often. Cats can kill people with their bites and scratches. Heck, even people can kill people! So to use four accidental deaths in SeaWorld’s 50-year history and millions of shows is disingenuous at best, stupid at worst. Dogs kills more people each year than SeaWorld’s Orca whales, so carrying SeaWorld opponents’ thoughts to their logical conclusion, we should not have dogs captive in our homes or yards. They should all be released back into the wild from which they came. Cats, too. Not to mention all the marine life in aquariums, wildlife in zoos.

Starfish at SeaWorld San DiegoThe two most important reasons why I support SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo, and the Scripps Aquarium :

  1. A great deal of the money they make each year goes to rescue marine life along the Southern California coast (beached whales, yes; dolphins, porpoises, sea otters, turtles) and injured wildlife in the interior, such as eagles, osprey, owls, big cats.
  2. Without the aquariums and zoos, I would never have had the opportunity to see elephants, giraffes, octopuses, bears, whales, tigers, jaguars, flamingos, spoonbills, eagles, leopards, penguins, and most of the other species at zoos and aquariums.

Since I go to the Zoo and SeaWorld quite often, I can also tell you that many people have told me that they have a greater appreciation for wildlife after they visit the Zoo and SeaWorld, and that’s important for the survival of species in the wild.

Here are some more pictures of SeaWorld:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Flamingo lagoon at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Monitor at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Beluga whale at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sea turtle at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orca whales at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sea lion at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Walrus at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Polar bear at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sea turtle at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Penguin at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Starfish at SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

SeaWorld San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Now I’m off to see the Orcas, the wonderful Orcas of SeaWorld! Happy Sunday to everyone!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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San Diego Zoo—Three bird pictures and a hummingbird video

San Diego Zoo logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Usually when I go to the Zoo I don’t hang around one spot for more than fifteen minutes.

This past Saturday, though, I spent three hours in the hummingbird aviary because the birds were putting on such a show.

Following are three bird pictures with a hummingbird video at the end.

Crested Screamer

The Crested Screamer (Chauna torquata), also known as the Southern Screamer, is native to South America. These birds do know how to scream and my goal is to get a video of them screaming. It is something to hear, up to two miles away. Even though they live in large flocks, they mate for life, estimated to be about fifteen years.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Twin-spotted Rattlesnake

The Twin-spotted Rattlesnake (Crotalus pricei) is native to Mexico and the United States, although only to southeastern Arizona in the United States. It is a venomous pit viper, as are all rattlesnakes, but we never hear them called pit vipers. They grow to about two feet in length.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Plate-billed Mountain Toucan

The Plate-billed Mountain Toucan (Andigena laminirostris) is native to Colombia and Ecuador, living in Andean forests among the bromeliads and mosses where annual rainfall is about fourteen feet. Yes, feet. It is the most vocal of the toucans and the flagship bird of the La Planada Nature Reserve in Colombia. It is in decline due to deforestation and poaching.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The White-necked Jacobin (Florisuga mellivora) is native to Mexico and South America where it hangs out in the canopy of forests. According to Wikipedia, it will come down to lower levels to visit hummingbird feeders, proven here since the San Diego Zoo is about 45 feet above sea level. :)

Smile if you think one of those bird pictures isn’t a picture of a bird at all!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Erotica & Pornography

Feather? Or the whole chicken?

Did you know?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Erotica & Pornography

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

And don't come back!

And don’t come back!

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I’m really having a lot of fun with all of my uncatalogued pictures.

And don't come back!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Can birds read?

Can birds read?

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Can birds read?

Can birds read?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

It does seem to only have one leg….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

California Least Tern

Which is the weed?

Did you know?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My wise old grandmotherMy wise old grandmother,
a Master Gardener
before there was such a designation,
always told me that a weed
is any plant
that is growing
where you don’t want it to grow.

Okay then.

Picture 1, weed or not?Weedy rose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Picture 2, weeds or not?Not weeds

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The first, a yellow rose, grows in my cactus garden. I cannot get rid of it. I have tried cutting it down, chopping it down, drowning it, withholding water, digging it out. It keeps coming back. It is a weed because it grows where I don’t want it to grow.

The second picture shows weeds that are not weeds because they grow where people want them to grow. Who are these people?

Oh, I’m so confused….

Weeds…. Not weeds…. Weeds…. Not weeds….

The weeds that are not weeds surround a runway at the San Diego International Airport.
Hmmm.
Great picture for those looking out the window while their plane is landing

 “Wow, honey, look at all the weeds.
Why doesn’t someone mow them down or something?”

Well, the weeds that are not weeds are a nesting site for a rare colony of California Least Terns.

California Least Tern

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In 1973, there were only about 300 nesting pairs of California Least Terns in all of California. Today, thanks to projects like this one run by the San Diego Zoo and the County Regional Airport Authority, there are over 6,000 nesting pairs in California, still not enough to ensure their survival because there are only thirty colony nesting sites in the State.

Birds lay their eggs directly on the sand/gravel surface. The warmth of the sun and sand apparently helps the birds develop within the egg. Areas like this near the airport are critical because the birds don’t have to compete with beach-goers, the planes chase away most predatory raptors, and the airport fence keeps out dogs, foxes, and other four-legged hunters.

Look at the second picture and you can see a little fence in the bottom foreground. That fence is a whopping ten inches high and defines the actual nesting site within the airport fence. During nesting season you can see eggs laying on the surface, and parents closely guarding them.

Their wintering location remains unknown, which I thought was interesting, but biologists suspect that they winter along the Pacific Coast in South America.

I intend on going back to this site during breeding season (April to mid-June) to see if I can get some pictures of parents and eggs, maybe even some little chicks.

For more about the California Least Tern, see the Wikipedia page.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Elephant trunk

Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo through January 5, 2014

San Diego Zoo logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Jungle Bells started at the San Diego Zoo on December 14 and continues through January 5.

All sorts of holiday activities throughout the Zoo, including the Twinkle Light Trolley, costumed characters entertaining everywhere, Santa’s igloo, Carols at Camp Critters, Jingle Brass, Light Up The Night, Dr. Zoolittle’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, Carol of the Jungle Bells, and much more.

For a complete list of events, times, and durations, see the San Diego Zoo web site.

Jungle Bells

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Extra Christmas presents for you if you can name all of the Jungle Bell animals above. Good luck! I made the graphic and I can’t name them all!………..lol

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sun bear at the San Diego Zoo

All tuckered out

San Diego Zoo logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Although many of the larger animals at the Zoo were out and about, many of them seemed to be all tuckered out after Thanksgiving:

Immature flamingoImmature flamingo at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

KoalaKoala at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

CamelCamel at the San Diego Zoo

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LlamaLlama at the San Diego Zoo

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Striped hyenaStriped hyena at the San Diego Zoo

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Sun bearSun bear at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
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James Frimmer, Realtor
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If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!

Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Lonely day on the seawall

Lonely day on the seawall

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Lonely day on the sea wall.

Lonely day on the seawall

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I thought that would be a good picture to apply some special effects to, so I did.

Fractalius filter by RedfieldLonely day on the seawall

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The following renditions all came about using the Topaz plug-in for Photoshop.

SunsetLonely day on the seawall

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

DuskLonely day on the seawall

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

MoonlightLonely day on the seawall

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The following, though, is my favorite. Compare the original to the following. Notice that the original has a significant blue tint throughout the picture. There simply was too much blue around me in the blue sky and the blue water. I tried changing the white balance but was not satisfied.

What I decided to do was place a mask on everything except those 13 posts making up the part of the seawall that the pelican is sitting on. Then I took the unmasked posts to the Topaz plug-in and applied some filters to it until I got the grungy brown posts, which I think make a much better overall picture.

Smile if you love pelicans….

Lonely day on the seawall

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos