A Great Zoo Day

Vacation continues…  I got up around 7:00 this morning.  (It’s gonna be difficult to get up at 5:00 again next week’… But then, the time change happens over the weekend, so maybe it won’t be too difficult.)

I had a leisurely breakfast while I did some journaling and perused my email and Facebook posts.  Then a little before 9:00 am I headed out to the Sacramento Zoo.  I’d been wanting to see their new exhibit (with bats and small hornbills and an aardvark), and, wow, this was the time of day and the day of the week to go there.  Because the zoo is going to be having a bunch of kids’ activities for Halloween at the end of the week, “no one” was at the zoo today.  I actually had some docents all to myself for a while, and got to pet a 6-foot+ boa constrictor.  Kewl!  I kept the camera on multi-photo mode for most of the time (so I could get time-lapse stills of the animals when they were moving around), and I think I overwhelmed my camera: 800 photos!  Yikes!  Taking pictures through the screen and mesh on some of the cages is the hardest part; sometimes the camera focuses beyond the mesh to the animal, and sometimes it focuses on the mesh itself.  (I have some of the same problems shooting through the glass enclosures, especially if there’s a lot of reflection.) That makes picture-taking a little frustrating at times.  I couldn’t get a decent photo of the King Vulture or the female tiger for anything.  Rrrrrg!

I got to see most of the critters I wanted to (except the Bongos who weren’t out yet and the male lion.  He was inside his enclosure but was hiding in the den.  You could hear him roaring though.  Boy, was he LOUD!)  The aardvark wasn’t awake either, so I only got a photo of his butt.  But I think I spent about 20 minutes watching the bats.  They were awesome!  The keepers had put the bats’ food in trays suspended from the top of their enclosure, so they’d crawl out of their little cave, hanging upside down, stick their faces into the tray and eat that way.  And looking through those photos I realized I got some great shots of one of the bat’s “male junk”… unintentionally of course.  I’m sure he’s very proud of his set, but I really didn’t need them in the middle of my photo.  Hah-ha-ha-ha-ha!

There were ducks, ducks, ducks everywhere.  I asked one of the docents if they all belonged to the zoo or if some were migrating, and she said most of the ducks were theirs, but this time of year they get a log of mallards, mergansers, and wood ducks stopping off to feed at their pond.

And the Red River Pigs and Ground Hornbills were out.  The hornbills are so funny.  I must’ve looked like their keeper today (had my hair in pigtails), so when they saw me coming up to their enclosure, they both picked up knotted pieces of string and ran over to show them to me – like they were offering gifts.  Hah!  So cute.  I love those ugly things.  Ooo, and the Snow Leopard was especially gorgeous today.  She came right out to the front of her enclosure and posed on a rock for photos, then hopped down and started chewing on a pile of crushed ice set out for her.  I got 20 photos just of her face…  Such a beautiful animal!  She always looks sooo soft, you just want to wrap yourself up in her…

The weather was perfect, too: right around 73º with a little breeze.  It was a great day at the zoo….

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