Tag Archives: bald eagle

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

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Should we not release our dogs and cats back into the wild?

Opinion

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I freely admit that I support zoos, aquariums, sanctuaries, and even SeaWorld to the max, 100%.

I even support circuses when it is done right, and I’ll define “done right” as using positive reinforcement rather than negative reinforcement.

To me, it’s pretty obvious when animals in our care have been trained with positive reinforcement.

It’s no different from you teaching a dog to roll over, sit, play dead, shake.

It’s done with treats, not whippings.

Perhaps that’s why I don’t like horse racing. I have been to the Del Mar Thoroughbred Races twice with a Photographer All Access pass. A total of twenty hours on two different occasions two years apart. I have yet to see anyone give a horse a treat. Rather, they prod them, poke them, whip them…….. Why are people not protesting that instead of SeaWorld? I don’t understand.

Do animals in our loving care remember those who care for them? I submit that they do:

Here’s another one:

Did zoos, aquariums, SeaWorld, and circuses abuse animals in the past? I believe they did. I believe taking animals out of the wild can, in many circumstances, be considered abuse.

However, I would rather have some of these animals in Zoos to save them than in the wild where they get slaughtered by poachers:

100,000 elephants killed by poachers in 3 years

I would also submit that in today’s world, if you were able to ask these animals if they would prefer to be in the wild struggling to find food each day, fighting for their lives each day…. or in a zoo or aquarium where they get love, attention, food, and medical care…. I believe I know the answer.

Without the leadership of the San Diego Zoo in getting other zoos and sanctuaries to sign on to its California Condor Conservation program, the California Condor would now be extinct. It actually was extinct in the wild as recently as 1987. Through the successful breeding programs of the San Diego and Los Angeles zoos, the California Condor was re-introduced to the wild beginning in 1991 in southern Utah, northern Arizona, central and southern California, and northern Baja California, Mexico. Here are a few of the California Condors at the San Diego Zoo:

Andean condor at the San Diego Zoo

California Condor at the San Diego Zoo

California Condor at the San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has a northern white rhino as a resident. Northern white rhinos are functionally extinct, which means that the seven rhinos that exist in zoos throughout the world are beyond breeding age and that none exist in the wild. When these seven remaining rhinos die, there will be no more unless we can figure out cloning.

Northern white rhinoceros at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Many times each year the Zoo and Safari Park announce the arrival of big babies: orangutans, elephants, giraffes, gazelles, monkeys, and gorillas. If not for the Zoo, I would never have had the opportunity to see orangutans, elephants, giraffes, gazelles, monkeys, and gorillas. And my annual membership supports the Zoo’s conservation and breeding programs, to ensure that the California Condor continues to exist in the wild.

The Zoo also re-introduces wildlife to other parts of the world when possible. Unfortunately, people in other countries don’t have the economy that we have in the United States, so they don’t mind slaughtering animals for food and other products.

I try to go once a week to SeaWorld, the Zoo, and Safari Park because one never knows what’s going on each week and which animals will be photogenic for me.

Without Zoos, many millions of people, including me, would never have had the opportunity to see these beautiful creatures:

Mom and baby gorilla at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sumatran tiger at Tiger Trail at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Himalayan Monal at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Burmese Python at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Black mangabey at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Camel at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Giraffe at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Elephant at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Giant Panda at the San Diego Zoo May 2013

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Male lion at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mama koala and her joey at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Forest buffalo at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Caracal at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Desert bighorn sheep at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Johnston's crocodiles at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Fishing cat at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Zebra at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Secretary Bird at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cheetah at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Polar Bear at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Knobbed Hornbill at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Meerkat at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Red kangaroo at the San Diego Zoo

(Got the kangaroo in there for you, Laurie!)

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Flamingos at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Although I can cite no research to support me, I firmly believe that people who have visited a zoo, sanctuary, or aquarium are more likely to contribute to conservation efforts to save these beautiful creatures from extinction in the wild.

For those who want to release all of these creatures back into the wild, that cannot be done with many of them because they are injured and would not be able to survive. The two bald eagles at Safari Park come to mind, both injured in the wild and rescued, and both unable to fly.

Bald eagles

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

If we take this to its logical conclusion, then all dogs and cats should be released back into the wild. After all, both species adapt quite quickly to life in the wild, so why are we keeping them penned up in our homes and teaching them tricks? For our entertainment, pleasure, and companionship….

Spoiled dog

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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San Diego Nighttime Zoo starts today!

San Diego Zoo logo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Today marks the beginning of the San Diego Nighttime Zoo for 2014. Instead of being open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m each day., the Zoo will stay open until 9:00 p.m. each and every day through September 1, 2014.

I love the Nighttime Zoo! Yahoooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! (Smile if you think I’m excited!)

Remember that if you come to San Diego on business or vacation, contact me because I often have free tickets to the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, or SeaWorld. With enough notice, I can usually play docent for a day!

Also, if you fly into San Diego, sit on the left side of the plane. The view of downtown San Diego as you are landing is awesome!

Following are some of my favorite pictures from past visits to the Zoo. Eventually, Photographic Art will be created from these pictures and Julian will upload them to my galleries at Fine Art America for purchase in many different forms (traditional prints, prints on metal or acrylic, posters, cell phone cases, etc.).

Komodo dragon at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Necking flamingos at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Albino burmese python at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Shoebill at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Ocellated turkey at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hippopotamuses at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Giant panda at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bakka, cheetah ambassador of the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Peacock at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Koala female and one-year-old joey at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bald eagle in residence at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Woma at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Maned wolves at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sudanese striped hyena, San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Polar bear at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Flamingo chick at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cape clawless otter, San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Malayan tiger at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hibiscus blooming in November at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Monkey at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Red kangaroo at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Camel at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Red Panda at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Serval at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Desert Bighorn Sheep at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Knobbed Hornbill at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Meerkat at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Female red-cheeked gibbon at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bornean Sun Bear at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Elephant at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Striped hyena at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Two of the biggest, baddest birds to ever fly the skies

Halls of History

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I have always loved history. A history teacher was my second desired profession when I was a youth — my first was an anesthesiologist, simply because I could spell it.

My interest in history demands that I attend air shows whenever and wherever I can. Started that as a freshman at Texas A&M University in 1973.

Our “Wings Over Gillespie” air show was this past weekend in El Cajon, and I was there to see one of the biggest, baddest birds to ever fly the skies:

Douglas C53-D Sky Trooper

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Douglas C53-D Sky Trooper

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Douglas C53-D Sky Trooper

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Douglas C53-D Sky Trooper

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Douglas C53-D Sky Trooper

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That’s a Douglas C53-D (DC-3) Sky Trooper — parked to takeoff to flight to landing. It is based in Riverside, California, as part of the Commemorative Air Force. This specific Sky Trooper, M2-R 268830, actually took part in delivering paratroopers to the beaches of France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. A big, bad bird.

And here’s the second of our biggest, baddest birds to ever fly the skies:

Bald eagle in residence at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That big, bad bird is a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), the national bird of the United States of America. Rescued as an injured juvenile and rehabilitated by the San Diego Zoo, its injuries prevent it from being released back into the wild. It has to live out its life at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park. Big, bad bird.

And one final picture from the “Wings Over Gillespie” Air Show in honor of our living soldiers and in memory of our fallen soldiers who gave their lives so we could live:

U.S.A!

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bald eagle at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

I could watch bald eagles all day

Picture of the momentI have many pictures of bald eagles, but I cheated to get them — I went to the San Diego’s Zoo Safari Park where they have two of them, both only a couple of years old.

They were injured when they were young, and rescued and rehabilitated by the San Diego Zoo.

Since they cannot be released back into the wild because of their injuries, they are relegated to living out their lives at the Safari Park. (Maybe if I injured myself I could live out my life at Safari Park….)

That means they always have food, there are no irresponsible kids (or adults) shooting at them, and people like me stop by all the time to gawk at them and take pictures.

Here is my most recent picture from this past week:

Bald eagle at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

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