Category Archives: Fauna

Out & About—Non-birds at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park

Out & About

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures taken at the Safari Park with the rented Tamron 150-600 mm G2 lens on April 26, 2017. These are the non-birds. If you want to see the birds, see yesterday’s post.

Sumatran Tiger
Tiger at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Male bighorn sheep
Bighorn sheep at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Female bighorn sheep
Female bighorn sheep at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Meerkat
Meerkat at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Lowland Gorilla
Gorilla at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Contemplation
Gorilla at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Chillin’
Gorilla at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Baby Lowland Gorilla
Gorilla baby at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

African Lion Paw
Lion paw at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

African Lion tongue
Lion tongue at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Three adults examining baby Giraffe
Giraffes at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Baby giraffe.
Giraffe baby at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Awwwww.
Mama and baby bighorn sheep.
Mama and baby bighorn sheep at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Unknown mama and her baby.
Mama and baby at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Unknown hoofed animals
At the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

It’s Russel!
He wants to put us in his blog!
Run for the hills!
At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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

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Out & About—Safari Park birds

Out & About

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

At the beginning of 2017 I decided to upgrade my camera equipment. I was getting frustrated going to the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park but not being able to get to some of the wildlife because their enclosures were too big and, in the case of the birds, enclosed with screen and wire. I knew that a longer lens would take care of both of those problems.

My daily walkaround lens since 2007 was a Tamron 28-300 mm, so I decided to look at the 150-600 mm lenses. They come in three versions: Tamron G2, Sigma Contemporary, and Sigma Sport. At that time they ranged in price from $1,399 to $1,999, so they weren’t cheap.

Online reviews led me to believe that I would be buying the Sigma Sport for $1,999. I decided that real world use would be better than online reviews for that price, and it just so happens that one of our local camera stores specializes in renting all things camera. So I rented the Sigma Contemporary first (the cheapest), then the Sigma Sport (the most expensive), and then the Tamron G2. Rental period was one week each, so I went out each day to places like the railroad tracks, Ramona Grasslands, San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, the beaches, and the mountains to see if I could lug those things around for 10 hours a day, get good pictures, and be ready to do it again the next day without being too tired.

To make a long story short, for handheld pictures, I did not notice any difference in sharpness between the three lenses. The Sigma Sport was very heavy because it is all metal construction. The weight coupled with it getting too hot to handhold after a couple of hours in the San Diego sun coupled with its price dropped the Sigma Sport out of the competition.

The Sigma Contemporary lost out to the Tamron G2 based on one factor: which direction the zoom ring rotated. I discovered that Nikon and Sigma zoom rings rotate clockwise and Tamron and Canon zoom rings rotate clockwise. Remember that I handhold my equipment, not being a fan of tripods and monopods because of their bulkiness and difficulty in using in crowded areas. Zooming from low to high in a counterclockwise manner using the left hand is not natural, thus difficult and, due to the size and weight of these lenses, sometimes painful for someone 62 years old. Additionally, I had been using the Tamron 28-300 for ten years, so I already was quite comfortable with a clockwise rotation.

Lastly, at the end of three weeks, I compared the pictures from the three cameras. I found that the Tamron G2 gave me better blurred backgrounds than the other two lenses when I really wanted to get up close and personal. Following are bird pictures from the Safari Park taken with the Tamron 150-600 mm G2 lens on April 26, 2017. I have not cataloged these pictures yet so the only birds I know the name of are the the same ones you know the name of, so we’ll start with those.

Spoonbill at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Bald eagle at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Safari Park opens at 9:00 a.m., and that’s when I go to avoid
the huge afternoon crowds. So I guess this bird was eating breakfast.
At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

This great white pelican turned its pouch inside out, which makes
it look like something out of a Stephen King movie.
The mallard doesn’t look impressed.
At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

And now for the unknown birds.
At the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari ParkAt the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Mama and her little one.
At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

As I was leaving Safari Park, I saw a hawk soaring
overhead so, of course, I took a picture. Duh.
At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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

Out & About—12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon

Out & About

This past Sunday was the 12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon in Del Mar, California. Dogs at the beach never fail to bring a smile to my face. And after those two sucky songs in yesterday’s Music on Mondays, I think we need some smiles!

The Surf-a-thon takes place at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California.

Dog Beach, Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

Not all the dogs were there to surf. Some wanted to play fetch in the water, some wanted to get all wet, some wanted to get all sandy….

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

Some wanted to go back home….

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

Some were limited in what they could do….

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

Of course, most were there to surf, some looking unsure of themselves, some looking quite relaxed….

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

There were five categories: small dog, medium dog, large dog, and extra large dog, as well as the freestyle category, which is always a lot of fun because you get dog tandems, dog trios, human/dog tandems, human/human/dog trios, and even an impostor this year.

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

Impostor!
12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

My wise old grandmother told me that dogs quite often look like their owners. Who am I to argue?

12th Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California

Coming up next: Sports Car Club of America auto racing.

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

Out & About—Residents of the Jetty Cats feral colony at the San Diego Jetty

Out & About San Diego

As promised, many pictures of some of the residents of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colony.

San Diego jetty

Resident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colony

Show me some fangs and tongue, baby!
Resident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colony

Zoey the Cool Cat said that I should include pictures of the non-cat residents because, even though they aren’t cats, they are residents.
Resident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colonyResident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colony

This was one of my favorite cats from this visit.
S/he wouldn’t come to eat anything. Didn’t even move.
Just sat there with its back to me. I felt so ignored.
Resident of the San Diego Jetty Cats feral colony

Coming up next: Music on Mondays

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

 

Friday Flower Fiesta (9-8-2017)—San Diego summer flowers

Out & About San Diego

San Diego summer flowers for all you people who soon will be heading into fall and winter.

Lantana in the center and bougainvillea at the left.
Two of my favorites because they bloom throughout the year,
and it seems the more you neglect them, the more they bloom.Lantana and bougainvillea

Kangaroo paw
Also comes in yellow, but red is my favorite.
Kangaroo paw

Yucca, called Spanish Dagger in some areas.
In 1966 my uncle planted two of these at the sides
of the driveway entrance. When they bloomed, I was sold.
Yucca, or Spanish Dagger

Unknown wildflower
Unknown wildflower

Orchid treeOrchid tree

Water lily
Green water always bothers me.
Next Photoshop goal: Color replacement
Water lily

Hummingbirds visiting Grevillea flowers
The kind of picture I can get with my new
Tamron 150-600 mm lens, hand-held, no tripod.
No need to chase these flyers on foot anymore.
Hummingbird visiting a grevillea
Hummingbird visiting a grevillea

Jimsonweed, this one Datura metaloides
Datura are quite poisonous but they smell oh so good, especially at night.
It grows profusely in the wild here in San Diego. About every 5 years,
a group of high school students will pick the flowers and make a soup out of them. Drinking the soup provides a natural high. Unfortunately, one can also lose one’s voice, damage one’s vocal chords, burn one’s throat and upper intestines, and even die, usually from kidney failure. I am quite allergic to this plant myself so I have to admire it from afar.
Thank you, Tamron, for my 150-600 mm lens!
Datura metaloides

Silk oak
I spent years trying to find out what this tree was.
Then I went out hiking with some bird photographers
one of whom knew all the plants along our hike.
A good reason to hang out with other people.
Silk oak

Castor bean
The beans are very beautiful but toxic due to the presence of ricin,
and since they look like beans, people will eat them.
Four to eight beans will kill an adult.
Often ranked #1 on the list of most poisonous plants in the world.
This plant grows everywhere and is considered
an invasive species here in San Diego.
Castor bean

Wild rose
This flower is only about an inch in diameter.
Wild rose

Thistle
This plant bugs me when it’s by itself,
but a thistle patch can be quite beautiful.
Thistle

Unknown flower with dew drops
Unknown flower dew drops

Unknown flower
Unknown flower

Unknown flower
Unknown flower

Coming up next: The San Diego Jetty Cats.

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

 

Out & About—The San Diego Jetty

Out & About San Diego

Once a month I go out to the San Diego Jetty to see how the feral cat colony there is doing. We old timers call them the Jetty Cats.

San Diego jetty

San Diego jetty

Feral cats on the San Diego jetty

The Jetty is a great place to see beautiful sunsets because there always is something to put in the picture to add interest to the sunset. It’s also a great place to go for a walk, as so many people do.

Following are some pictures from my trip to the Jetty in August, featuring everything except the Jetty Cats, although a few can be seen in these pictures. The Jetty Cats will be featured in Saturday’s post since tomorrow is Friday Flower Fiesta day.

Sentinel SeagullSentinel Seagull

Dogs at Dog Beach in Ocean Beach,
across the San Diego River from the
San Diego Jetty and the Jetty Cats.Dogs on Dog Beach in Ocean Beach across from the San Diego Jetty

Throw it already!A woman and her dog

The San Diego Jetty is an active fishing area.
Sadly, that means the some fisherpeople leave
fishing line behind which the birds often get
entangled in, quite often losing a leg. This juvenile
already has to go through the rest of its life with just one leg.One-legged bird at the San Diego Jetty

It’s probably too late for this bird’s leg.
You can see the scar where the fishing line
was wrapped around the bird’s leg.
Bird with an injured leg at San Diego Jetty

There are quite a few cormorants and pelicans.
The cormorants are relative new visitors to the Jetty.
Cormorant at the San Diego Jetty

Pelican and sunset at the San Diego Jetty

The Jetty might be the only place where the birds are bigger than the cats,
and the cats have no interest in trying to catch those birds.Cats and a seagull at the San Diego Jetty

Bird mug shots.
I love it when wildlife cooperates with me.
Seagull mug shot at the San Diego Jetty

Seagull mug shot at the San Diego Jetty

ImpostorCats and skunk at the San Diego Jetty

Yes, there is a family of skunks that lives right alongside the Jetty Cats.
Neither the cats nor the skunks seem to care but it does make it
interesting when people like me show up to leave a little water and food.Skunk at the San Diego Jetty
Skunk at the San Diego Jetty
Skunk at the San Diego Jetty

Bushy tails.Skunks at the San Diego Jetty
Skunk at the San Diego Jetty

Tour boat coming back in at sunset.Tour boat at the San Diego Jetty

Wrong side of the fenceWrong side of the fence

Into the sunsetOff into the sunset

Coming up tomorrow: Friday Flower Fiesta. The Jetty Cats will have their own feature on Saturday!

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

Picture of the Moment—Run! He wants to put us on Facebook! Run!

Picture of the Moment

I like to get action pictures of wildlife. That was difficult until recently. I bought a Tamron 150-600 mm lens and replaced my 9-year-old Tamron 28-300 mm lens with a Tamron 18-300 mm. The 18-300 is my daily walkaround lens although the 150-600 is always in the trunk of the car. The 18-300 is best for outdoor spontaneous action because it is lighter and focuses faster. The 150-600 is best for getting through wire fences such as those which surround many enclosures at the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, SeaWorld, Lions Tigers & Bears, Discovery Nature Center, and others.

Following is one of my best action pictures ever, taken at the San Diego Jetty while I was visiting the Jetty Cats feral colony.

Run! He wants to put us on Facebook! Run!Seagulls running

Many decades ago I was reading an interview with a photographer from National Geographic magazine. One of the questions concerned how he got such great shots of wildlife. His answer was that he always focused on the eyes. If he did that, everything else would fall into place.

I focused on the eyes of that first seagull, but by the time I pushed the shutter button, the birds had moved so that it looks like I focused on the eye of the second seagull because it’s just ever so slightly more in focus. I was about 50 feet from these birds and the picture metadata shows a shutter speed of 1/250, which is why I got such good motion in the wings and legs. It was taken with the 150-600 lens but the focal length was 150 and the f/stop was 5.0.

I will have more pictures in the next few days of wildlife from the San Diego Jetty, including, of course, the Jetty Cats.

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