Tag Archives: san diego zoo

Playing docent for friends at the San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo logo

Remember that if you come to San Diego for any reason and need a personal docent for the day, I’m always up for it. I often have free tickets to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. They can be YOURS, free, just like I got them!

Yesterday I played docent for two old friends that I had not seen since 1983, other than Facebook, of course. Here are some pictures from our trip to the Zoo:

Grizzly BearGrizzly bear

Panda. Remember that these are not bears. Just pandas.
Panda

Baby monkey, although I don’t know what species.
Baby monkey

A female gazelle, looking very pregnant
and being checked on by her previous child.
Pregnant momma

Polar Bear enjoying the San Diego sunshine.
Polar Bear

Reindeer, but not Rudolph, obviously.
Reindeer

Arctic fox. There were two of them yesterday. In 23 years of going to the San Diego Zoo at least once a month, and usually once a week, these are only the second and third pictures I have gotten of the arctic fox.
Arctic fox

Arctic fox

Got a group photo of some well-known people.
Group photo

California Condor. Extinct in the wild as recently as 1987 with only 22 birds still living, all in captivity. The San Diego Zoo’s breeding program has resulted in the re-introduction into the wild. It still is one of the world’s rarest birds, with 446 now living both in the wild and in captivity.
Ccalifornia condor

Hyrax. I got up close and personal with my 150-600 mm lens.
Hyrax

Meerkat. One of my favorite animals. They are so much fun to watch.
Meerkat

Hyrax momma and her two young ones. The look on her face! Is she thinking that some sort of pervert is taking pictures of her young ones sucking on her teats and is going to put them on the Internet?
Hyrax

Squirrel. This is a “local animal” according to the Zoo,
meaning that it is free to come and go at will. Of course, it knows
where the best food is, not to mention lots of friends!
Squirrel

Kookaburra. It’s difficult to get a good picture of these birds because of the tiny mesh surrounding their enclosure. They have to be at just the right distance from the mesh for my 150-600 mm lens to get through the mesh.
Kookaburra

Silverback Gorilla, pondering.
Lowland gorilla

Orangutan, also pondering.
Orangutan

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

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Out & About—Here, There & Everywhere

Out & About

Many readers who like my San Diego Historical Landmarks series might think that I have given up on them. Not so. I simply want to do them in order, and I got stuck at #15. Its name is “Conception,” and it’s on the United States Naval Submarine Base at Point Loma. In other words, it’s not accessible to the general public….

….Except for one day each year. Guess which day that is? Yep. Today. “Cabrillo Festival” day. So you know where I’ll be going later today, and I can resume my San Diego Historical Landmarks series. I have no idea what I’ll find there since I have not done any research on #15 year.

Meanwhile…. September has been a very active month for getting Out & About, and I’ll have blog posts on everything as the summer comes to a close and the cold, wet, fall and winter months arrive. To whet your appetite, here’s a sample of some of the places I’ve been.

We’ll start at home with Zoey the Cool Cat. I continue to take care of her every need—boxes, tummy rubs, food, clean litter box, food for the squirrels and rabbits so she can get her daily exercise running from window to window watching them, and what does she do? Turns her back on me.

Zoey the Cool Cat turns her back on me

September 3—Wildlife Corner at our new home

Rabbits & squirrels coexisting

September 9—Queen Califa’s Magical Circle in Kit Carson Park, Escondido

Queen Califa's Magical Circle in Kit Carson Park, Escondido

September 10—Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar

Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Dog Beach in Del Mar

September 13—San Diego Zoo

Rattlesnake at the San Diego Zoo

September 15—Getting some kicks on Route 66 in Rancho Cucamonga

Overturned tanker on Route 66 in Rancho Cucamonga

September 16—Chili Cook Off & Classic Car Show in Alpine

Pirate Chili at the Chili Cook Off in Alpine

Classic car show in Alpine, California

September 18—Big Border Baby in Tecate

Border Wall baby

September 21—Watching trains in Colton

Union Pacific's West Colton Yard

September 22—MCAS Miramar Air Show in San Diego

MCAS Miramar Air Show in San Diego

September 23—San Diego Bonsai Show

San Diego Bonsai Show

September 23—Wavecrest Woody Meet at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas

Wavecrest Woody Meet at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas

September 24—Cuyamaca Rancho State Park near Julian

Deer in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

September 24—Apple Days in historic Julian

Apple Days in Julian

September 24—Gold mine tours in Julian

Gold mine tour in Julian

September 24—Cool shopping in Julian at The Warm Hearth, The Birdwatcher, and the Julian Jewel Box

The Warm Hearth in Julian, California

Hummingbirds at The Birdwatcher in Julian

Julian Jewel Box in Julian

September 25—Newest visitor to our new home

Praying mantis in Winter Gardens

September 29—San Diego Quilt Show

San Diego Quilt Show

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

 

Make sure all is well before taking possession

Did you know?

Many of the birds at the San Diego Zoo have nests with eggs in them.

The flamingos are the most noticeable but if one looks closely one can see a pair of southern screamers (Chauna torquata), also known as crested screamers, taking care of three eggs in their nest in Flamingo Lagoon.

Southern Screamer pair and three eggs at the San Diego Zoo

Those two were having a changing of the guard. It’s virtually impossible to distinguish mama screamer from daddy screamer, so I have no idea whether mama was taking over or whether daddy was taking over. You can see the one taking over was checking out the eggs just to make sure that they were okay before taking possession of them.

Southern Screamer and three eggs at the San Diego Zoo

According to Wikipedia,

The southern screamer establishes monogamous relationships that last its lifetime, estimated to be 15 years. Courtship involves loud calling by both sexes, which can be heard up to two miles away. For the nest, the couple makes a big platform of reeds, straws, and other aquatic plants in an inaccessible place near water. The female lays between two and seven white eggs. The couple share incubation, which takes 43 to 46 days. Chicks leave the nest as soon as they hatch, but the parents care for them for several weeks. The fledging period takes 8 to 14 weeks.

Southern Screamers live in southeastern Peru, northern Bolivia, Paraguay, southern Brazil, Uruguay, and northern Argentina. And, of course, the San Diego Zoo.

The following picture shows what the little ones will look like, although this little one from 2010 was giving me a little attitude:

Southern Screamer chick at the San Diego Zoo

Remember, if you get to San Diego, give me a call. I often have free tickets to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. I also have been known to play docent for a day or two at no charge!

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Complements the swamp monkeys in the White House

Picture of the Moment

It’s spring time at the San Diego Zoo,

which means little ones are everywhere.

Here’s an Allen’s Swamp Monkey mama

with her little one.

Complements the swamp monkeys in the White House……..

Allen's swamp monkey mama & her baby

Remember, if you get to San Diego, give me a call. I often have free tickets to the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. I also have been known to play docent for a day or two at no charge!

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Silly bird

San Diego Zoo logo

Considering that I got started in photography in 1966, one might think that I would know everything there is to know about photograph. As someone more famous than me said several times: “Wrong, bison breath!”

Computers have turned the world of photography upside down, so when digital photography came along, some old dogs had to learn new tricks.

One of those new tricks is the burst mode. My Canon 760D is capable of taking 5 pictures per second, and that’s on the low end of digital cameras. I’ve read reviews of cameras taking 60 pictures per second, which is on the order of quality video without actually being video.

I have been playing around with the burst mode on my camera using my new Tamron 150-600mm lens since it allows me to get so much closer to wildlife.

Today, at the San Diego Zoo, the Great White Pelicans were preening themselves. Watching that is kind of like watching cats groom themselves. I could sit there all day long and just watch.

I got quite a few funny pictures of these pelicans preening. This is one of the best:

Great White Pelican preening at the San Diego Zoo

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

…and we have #4

Picture of the Moment

When I was young and living in Kingsville TX, if I wanted to see dragonflies all I had to do was set out a bucket of water.

Multiple dragonflies within minutes.

Kind of like setting out a box if you want to see a cat.

In the 24 years I have been in San Diego, I have seen four dragonflies, with the fourth coming two days ago at a pond at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Since I was testing a Tamron 150-600 mm lens, my rental lens, I was able to get several shots of this beauty. Of the other three dragonflies, I only have a picture of one, and it’s not a great picture because you just can’t get close to these things without them taking off.

Here are three of the best from the Safari Park:

Orange dragonfly at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Orange dragonfly at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Orange dragonfly at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Out & About—Free Zoo passes and your own personal docent

Out & About

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

San Diego is a destination for Christmas for those who want to get away from the snow. However, we do have snow in San Diego county, but you have to travel about 60 miles from the airport to play in it.Ice in the snow (!)

If you are traveling to San Diego by plane, sit on the left side. Best views of downtown as you’re landing.

If you are coming by train from Los Angeles, sit on the right side. Best views of the beaches, piers, and ocean.

Giant panda at the San Diego ZooOnce you get to San Diego, if you are looking for things to do, I can highly recommend the San Diego Zoo and the Wild Animal Park. The Zoo is just a couple of miles from the airport and the train station while the Wild Animal Park is about 45 miles northeast.

I have an annual Keeper’s Club membership to the Zoological Society so I get four free passes each year. The four passes on my desk right now expire June 30, 2017. I normally give them away on Christmas Day when Jim and I go to the Zoo or Wild Animal Park, a Christmas tradition for us.

If you are coming to San Diego and would like a free pass, let me know. And if you want your own personal docent for the day, for Zoo, Wild Animal Park, or general tourist stuff, I have been known to do that, too. Give me 12 hours notice and I’m yours.

USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) from the sky

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat