Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Another trip to the N.C. Zoo and of course there are two cameras around my neck.

The Lions were taking a Royal nap in the sun...

the Elephants were strolling about and mostly eating

and the absolutely beautiful Ocelot granted my wish for a picture.

But this...this was really exciting and it was not in a cage. This is a Blue-headed Virio and I've never seen one before (at least that I know of). This small bird winters down in Florida, summers in the north ( and some in our higher N.C. mountains) and only migrates through our part of North Carolina. Yet, here it was and it paused just long enough for me to capture this image. Although we go to our Zoo to see animals (and plants) not native to our state this is a good example of why we should also keep our eyes open as we stroll around. Who knows what else we might see.
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The Tropical Rain Forest is a great place to spend a lot of time on a cold day...or actually any day

The always lovely Scarlet Ibis is a real eye catcher.

This quiet, definitely not gaudy member of the duck family, is a Hottentot Teal.
Just for the name it is worth seeing.

This sighting was definitely the absolute high point of my trip. They are a couple of
White-Crested Mousebirds who are sitting so sweetly together. I recall a
time when I was courting my wife, Sue, sitting on a park
bench just enjoying the moment.

Of course, we didn't do what these birds did next. Yep, they a making whoopee
and they look to be deeply in love and definitely not at all
embarrassed doing it in public.
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I belive I could stay in this beautiful tropical rain forest and never discover all its secrets.

For instance. This beautiful bird must be new and isn't listed on their chart of Rain Forest
inhabitants so I don't know its name. If you know it please let me know.

This is the lovely Blue-Gray Tanager which I missed on two previous visits here.

Here was another unidentified (and I suspect new as well) that was way high up on a tree limb
looking down and this was the best photo I could get. It is an absolutely beautiful member
of the Parrot family and I'd also be grateful for someone to identify it for me.

This is a Fairy Bluebird.
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The Sonoran Desert is a wonderful place to visit and you can do it right in Zoo.

This is a male Verdin, a flighty little beauty

and this is an Anna's Hummingbird. These smaller birds take a bit of
patience to see but it is well worth the effort

Of course almost everyone recognizes the Roadrunner, but no,
\Wiley Coyote in not in here with him.

This bird, a Pyrrhuloxia, is actually related to our Cardinal, but lives
in the extreme southwest and Mexico.
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and while you're in the desert....

Here's where you can get up close, safely, to the Side-winder Rattlesnake

and the Speckled Rattlesnake

and Americas only venomous lizard, the Gila Monster.

You can also meet this lovely but shy Blue-colored Lizard.
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Zoo Sculptures

Even if you don't care much for lizards yourself, the sculpture (only about 8 inches long) is
absolutely beautiful. A trip through the Zoo is also a trip through many of the finest bronze
animal sculptures to be found anywhere.

This Rhino looks like he is just taking a break from a stroll through the Zoo.
Of course he's just a little to big for the benches.

This magnificent Cheetah, perched upon a rock, is intently surveying the African Plain
for perhaps a Gazelle for dinner.

Of course children (this my grandson Ethen) love the sculptures.
Ethen and the Chimp were exchanging kisses.
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And then there was the Polar Bear

I've been to the Zoo many times wanting to get some nice images of the Polar Bear but always it
was my bad luck that all he (or she) wanted to do was to just lay much for exciting shots.
This trip was different! In this picture the bear is just coming out of the "Artic" water and shakes it off.

This was a great face to face and swear the bear said cheese.

There is something almost comforting in watching such a large bear
actually playing with a least I think it was play as it wasn't food and
it certainly looked like fun!

This was really unbelievable. Five miles from the zoo, waiting at the light to turn onto US 64
toward home, this car was in front of me! I mean, like WOW! How unbelievable was that?
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