A Full Day of Fun and Nature, 11-20-19

My friend and fellow Certified California Naturalist, Roxanne, picked me up around 6:30 and we went over to the Fox and Goose Pub for breakfast.  It’s an old-style English pub that serves a “full English breakfast” and just about anything else you want. It’s in an area off of 10th and R downtown where the warehouses are all being refurbished and has turned into a real artsy-fartsy area with live theaters, restaurants and art galleries.  I didn’t even know it was there. She always finds the neatest places. 

Me at the Fox and Goose Pub

Because it was so early in the morning, we were able to park right next to the front door. (No other traffic around.) All of the food was very good, and the service was excellent.  Next time I go there I’ll try the full English breakfast even though it sounded like a LOT of food to me: two eggs, grilled banger, bacon, grilled tomato and mushrooms and authentic Heinz baked beans, served with your choice of toast.  [Every time I hear the phrase “full English breakfast” I think of Simon Pegg in “Run Fat Boy Run” in which, while he’s trying to deal with his stress he has “a full English breakfast with extra breakfast”.  Hah!]

After breakfast, I wanted my photo taken with the bronze fox and goose sculptures outside the building, so Roxanne obliged me. Then we headed over to William Land Park to walk the ground there until the zoo opened at 9:00 am. We walked around the pond there and cut through the WPA Rock Garden.  We saw a variety of ducks and some Cackling Geese and watched a Belted Kingfisher zip back and forth from one tree to another around the pond. (It moved too fast more me to get any pictures of it.)  We also spotted a small flock of Dark-Eyed Juncos near the open amphitheater stage and some of the ubiquitous Black Phoebes.

There were gingko trees in the garden that were shedding their lovely yellow leaves – and their incredibly stinky fruit.  I told Roxanne that the fruit smelled exactly like vomit, and, of course, she had to sniff one to make sure.  Hah! I wish I had taken photos of her reaction!  That fruit really smells awful.

Because Roxanne and I always find the weird stuff… We noticed ice plant covered with these weird white structures. They were actually female scale bugs with their white “ovisaco” behind them (in which they lay their eggs). I couldn’t tell if we were seeing the species Pulvinaria delottoi or Pulvinariella mesembryanthemi. Pulvinaria delottoi is found in California (from Africa), but most of the images I researched made me think the ones we saw might be Pulvinariella mesembryanthemi which now seem to be all over the place. In the closeup photo in the album, you can sort of see the insect a little bit better. They’re actually quite intricate little buggers under their shields.

Ice Plant Scale bugs, Pulvinaria delottoi or Pulvinariella mesembryanthemi

Right about 9:00 am, we walked across the street to the Sacramento Zoo and spent several hours there, just walking around and taking photos of all of the critters.  We’d especially wanted to see Gizmo, the new baby Red Panda, but when we went to the Red Panda enclosure he wasn’t there.  So, we walked over to where the lions were and got some great photos of them.  Both the male and female lion got up off of their giant cat tree and walked through the glass corridor that takes them to the other end of their enclosure. The corridor bows out so people can gather all around it to see when the lions pass.  I got some photos and video of the female lion walking through it in front of the male, looking at the people like she was picking out food cafeteria-style. Hah!

Lions in the hallway.

As we were walking around the lion’s enclosure, Roxanne and I found where Gizmo and his mom were being kept when they weren’t in the big exhibit. They were in the area where smaller cats and other little animals were normally kept.  Usually, the Red Pandas sleep for most of the day, but because Gizmo is growing, he needs to be fed a lot and is more active.  Both he and his mom were walking around their temporary digs, which included a raised platform that let them walk over visitors’ heads.  I thought it was funny that people were standing under the platform taking photos of the pandas with their cell phones – but all they were getting were shots of the animals’ bellies and the bottom of their feet.  Hah!

Gizmo, the Red Panda baby

I tried to get some pictures of Gizmo – who had more white on his face and body than the adults do – but the enclosure was small with a lot of weird angles and fencing separating the pandas from us humans, so I didn’t feel that any of the pictures really turned out the way I’d hoped they would.

Along with Gizmo, we also got to see Coconut, the young Snow Leopard.  I saw his mom, Misha, at first but didn’t see him, and then the docent pointed him out. He was right against the fence near my feet!  I’d never seen him that close to the fence before and was surprised to see him there.  Some kids and their parents came up to the enclosure to look at him, and when they started to walk away, Coconut got up and “stalked” them across the front of the enclosure. Yikes!

Misha the Snow Leopard

The other baby we saw was this year’s young flamingo. It was standing on the shore of the duck pond, sort of to the left of the flock of adults that were half in and half out of the water.  So, it was kinds of a babies’ day.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

The meerkats were hilarious, as they always are, and the Mongoose Lemurs were eating breakfast when we saw them, so all of them had their heads in buckets. When we were watching the River Otters, their keepers approached with their food, and both of the otters ran to the door of their enclosure and stood up straight on their hind legs trying to see their keepers.  So funny.

Meerkat madness.

Part of the big pond in the front of the zoo is being refurbished for a new alligator exhibit, and all the work has rousted out the rats that used to live in the overgrowth there.  In response to the now more visible rat population, I think, we saw a young Cooper’s Hawk sitting on the fence around the work area.  Roxanne spotted it first and took me softly by the arm and pointed the bird out.  It sat there, unphased by the people all around it, for quite a while, so we were able to get quite a few photos of it. Along with the wild hawk, we also saw quite a few wild Wood Ducks taking advantage of the protected pond and the free food the zoo supplied.

A juvenile Cooper’s Hawk, Acipiter cooperii

Around lunchtime, we went into the zoo’s café and shared a big plate of fries and glasses of beer before heading over to the reptile house to finish off our visit.

Species List:

  1. Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Bucorvus abyssinicus
  2. African Lion, Panthera leo
  3. Aloe, Aloe maculata
  4. American White Pelican, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
  5. Azure-winged Magpie, Cyanopica cyanus
  6. Beaver Tail Cactus, Prickly Pear, Opuntia basilaris
  7. Bird of Paradise, flower, Strelitzia reginae
  8. Black and White Ruffed Lemur, Varecia variegata
  9. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  10. Blue Agave, Agave tequilana
  11. Cackling Goose, Branta hutchinsii
  12. California King Snake, Lampropeltis getula californiae
  13. California Newt, Taricha torosa
  14. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  15. California Tiger Salamander, Ambystoma californiense
  16. Caribbean Flamingo, Phoenicopterus ruber
  17. Cayuga Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Cayuga
  18. Chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes
  19. Chinese Three-striped Box Turtle, Cuora trifasciata
  20. Common Bracken Fern, Pteridium aquilinum
  21. Common Carp, Cyprinus carpio
  22. Common Chuckwalla, Sauromalus ater
  23. Cooper’s Hawk, Acipiter cooperii
  24. Crested Coua, Coua cristata
  25. Crested Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Crested
  26. Dark-Eyed Junco (Oregon morph), Junco hyemalis
  27. Eastern Bongo, Tragelaphus eurycerus isaaci
  28. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
  29. Fir Tree, Abies sp.
  30. Five-Fingered Fern, Adiantum aleuticum
  31. Fulvous Whistling Duck, Dendrocygna bicolor
  32. Gingko, Maidenhair Tree, Ginkgo biloba
  33. Golden Mantella Frog, Mantella aurantiaca
  34. Golden Raintree, Koelreuteria paniculate
  35. Green & Black Poison Dart Frog, Dendrobates auratus
  36. Green Crested Basilisk, Basiliscus sp.
  37. Green Mantella Frog, Mantella viridis
  38. Green Tree Python, Morelia viridis
  39. Grevillea, Grevillea sp.
  40. Grevy’s Zebra, Equus grevyi
  41. Hawk-Headed Parrot, Red Fan Parrot, Deroptyus accipitrinus
  42. Hellebore, Fragrant Hellebore, Helleborus odorus
  43. Henkel’s Leaf-tailed Gecko, Uroplatus henkeli
  44. Himalayan Monal, Lophophorus impejanus
  45. Ice Plant Scale, Pulvinaria delottoi or Pulvinariella mesembryanthemi
  46. Jaguar, Panthera once
  47. Knight Anole, Anolis equestris
  48. Laughing Kookaburra, Dacelo novaeguineae
  49. Madagascar Flat-tailed Tortoise , Pyxis planicauda
  50. Madagascar Giant Day Gecko , Phelsuma grandis
  51. Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  52. Masai Giraffe, Giraffa tippelskirchi
  53. Meerkat, Suricata suricatta
  54. Mexican Palo Verde, Parkinsonia aculeata (yellow flowers and large seed pods)
  55. Mock Orange, Philadephus lewisii californicus
  56. Mongoose Lemur, Eulemur mongoz
  57. Naked Lady Lily, Amaryllis Belladonna
  58. Narrowleaf Milkweed, Asclepias fascicularis
  59. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  60. Northern Pacific Rattlesnake, Crotalus oreganus oreganus
  61. Okapi, Okapia johnstoni
  62. Orpington Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Buff Orpington
  63. Pekin Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Pekin
  64. Phantasmal Dart Frog, Epipedobates tricolor
  65. Prehensile-tailed Skink, Corucia zebrata
  66. Puerto Rican Boa, Chilabothrus inornatus
  67. Red Amaranth, Amaranthus cruentus
  68. Red Kangaroo, Macropus rufus
  69. Red Panda, Ailurus fulgens
  70. Red River Hog, Potamochoerus porcus
  71. Red-billed Hornbill, Tockus erythrorhynchus
  72. Reticulated Giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata
  73. Rhinoceros Iguana , Cyclura cornuta
  74. River Otter, North American River Otter, Lontra canadensis
  75. Sacred Lotus, Nelumbo nucifera
  76. Silver Hedgehog Holly, Ilex aquifolium, ‘Ferox Argentea’
  77. Smoky Jungle Frog , Leptodactylus pentadactylus
  78. Smooth-fronted Caiman, Paleosuchus trigonatus
  79. Snow Leopard, Panthera uncia
  80. Southern Crested Screamer, Chauna torquata
  81. Southern White-faced Owl, Ptilopsis granti
  82. Spider Tortoise , Pyxis arachnoides
  83. Spur-winged Lapwing, Vanellus spinosus
  84. Standing’s Day Gecko, Phelsuma standingi
  85. Sumatran Orangutan, Pongo abelii
  86. Swedish Blue Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Swedish Blue
  87. Sword Fern, Polystichum sp.
  88. Tawny Frogmouth, Podargus strigoides
  89. Thick Billed Parrot, Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha
  90. Tokay Gecko , Gekko gecko
  91. Western Pond Turtle , Actinemys marmorata
  92. White-faced Whistling Duck, Dendrocygna viduata
  93. White’s Tree, Frog, Smiling Tree Frog, Litoria caerulea
  94. Wolf’s Guenon, Wolf’s Mona Monkey, Cercopithecus wolfi
  95. Wood Duck, Aix sponsa
  96. Yellow-banded Poison Dart Frog, Dendrobates leucomelas
  97. Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby, Petrogale xanthopus