I usually go to the San Diego Zoo first thing in the morning; it opens at 9:00. I have three reasons for that preference: First, there are not as many morning people as there are afternoon people, so it’s less crowded. Second, It’s a time that overlaps between the day and night animals; the day animals are waking up and the night animals are finding a place to sleep. Third, it’s feeding time for many of the day animals and it’s always fun to watch them eat.
During the summer the Zoo stays open until 9:00 p.m., and that allows one to get pictures of fauna that normally are hiding during the height of daylight.
Such as this Steller’s Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus):
There are eight living species of sea eagles, of which the Bald Eagle is one. Steller’s is the largest of the sea eagles, weighing up to almost 21 pounds.
Steller’s Sea Eagles are native to the northeastern coast of Asia and feed mostly on fish and water birds. They have a wingspan of as much as 8’2″. For comparison, that maximum wingspan is two feet wider than I am tall. Mama mia!
The IUCN classifies the Steller’s Sea Eagle as vulnerable due to loss of habitat, industrial pollution, and overfishing by man. They are classified as a National Treasure in Japan. The current population is estimated at 5,000 and decreasing.
Recent flooding of the Russian rivers resulted in almost complete nesting failure for Steller’s Sea Eagles because the parents’ ability to capture fish for their nestlings was compromised.
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