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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
- Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, Bucorvus abyssinicus
- African Lion, Panthera leo
- Aloe, Aloe maculata
- American White Pelican, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
- Azure-winged Magpie, Cyanopica cyanus
- Beaver Tail Cactus, Prickly Pear, Opuntia basilaris
- Bird of Paradise, flower, Strelitzia reginae
- Black and White Ruffed Lemur, Varecia variegata
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Blue Agave, Agave tequilana
- Cackling Goose, Branta hutchinsii
- California King Snake, Lampropeltis getula californiae
- California Newt, Taricha torosa
- California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
- California Tiger Salamander, Ambystoma californiense
- Caribbean Flamingo, Phoenicopterus ruber
- Cayuga Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Cayuga
- Chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes
- Chinese Three-striped Box Turtle, Cuora trifasciata
- Common Bracken Fern, Pteridium aquilinum
- Common Carp, Cyprinus carpio
- Common Chuckwalla, Sauromalus ater
- Cooper’s Hawk, Acipiter cooperii
- Crested Coua, Coua cristata
- Crested Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Crested
- Dark-Eyed Junco (Oregon morph), Junco hyemalis
- Eastern Bongo, Tragelaphus eurycerus isaaci
- Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger
- Fir Tree, Abies sp.
- Five-Fingered Fern, Adiantum aleuticum
- Fulvous Whistling Duck, Dendrocygna bicolor
- Gingko, Maidenhair Tree, Ginkgo biloba
- Golden Mantella Frog, Mantella aurantiaca
- Golden Raintree, Koelreuteria paniculate
- Green & Black Poison Dart Frog, Dendrobates auratus
- Green Crested Basilisk, Basiliscus sp.
- Green Mantella Frog, Mantella viridis
- Green Tree Python, Morelia viridis
- Grevillea, Grevillea sp.
- Grevy’s Zebra, Equus grevyi
- Hawk-Headed Parrot, Red Fan Parrot, Deroptyus accipitrinus
- Hellebore, Fragrant Hellebore, Helleborus odorus
- Henkel’s Leaf-tailed Gecko, Uroplatus henkeli
- Himalayan Monal, Lophophorus impejanus
- Ice Plant Scale, Pulvinaria delottoi or Pulvinariella mesembryanthemi
- Jaguar, Panthera once
- Knight Anole, Anolis equestris
- Laughing Kookaburra, Dacelo novaeguineae
- Madagascar Flat-tailed Tortoise , Pyxis planicauda
- Madagascar Giant Day Gecko , Phelsuma grandis
- Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Masai Giraffe, Giraffa tippelskirchi
- Meerkat, Suricata suricatta
- Mexican Palo Verde, Parkinsonia aculeata (yellow flowers and large seed pods)
- Mock Orange, Philadephus lewisii californicus
- Mongoose Lemur, Eulemur mongoz
- Naked Lady Lily, Amaryllis Belladonna
- Narrowleaf Milkweed, Asclepias fascicularis
- Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
- Northern Pacific Rattlesnake, Crotalus oreganus oreganus
- Okapi, Okapia johnstoni
- Orpington Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Buff Orpington
- Pekin Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Pekin
- Phantasmal Dart Frog, Epipedobates tricolor
- Prehensile-tailed Skink, Corucia zebrata
- Puerto Rican Boa, Chilabothrus inornatus
- Red Amaranth, Amaranthus cruentus
- Red Kangaroo, Macropus rufus
- Red Panda, Ailurus fulgens
- Red River Hog, Potamochoerus porcus
- Red-billed Hornbill, Tockus erythrorhynchus
- Reticulated Giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata
- Rhinoceros Iguana , Cyclura cornuta
- River Otter, North American River Otter, Lontra canadensis
- Sacred Lotus, Nelumbo nucifera
- Silver Hedgehog Holly, Ilex aquifolium, ‘Ferox Argentea’
- Smoky Jungle Frog , Leptodactylus pentadactylus
- Smooth-fronted Caiman, Paleosuchus trigonatus
- Snow Leopard, Panthera uncia
- Southern Crested Screamer, Chauna torquata
- Southern White-faced Owl, Ptilopsis granti
- Spider Tortoise , Pyxis arachnoides
- Spur-winged Lapwing, Vanellus spinosus
- Standing’s Day Gecko, Phelsuma standingi
- Sumatran Orangutan, Pongo abelii
- Swedish Blue Duck, Anas platyrhynchos domesticus var. Swedish Blue
- Sword Fern, Polystichum sp.
- Tawny Frogmouth, Podargus strigoides
- Thick Billed Parrot, Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha
- Tokay Gecko , Gekko gecko
- Western Pond Turtle , Actinemys marmorata
- White-faced Whistling Duck, Dendrocygna viduata
- White’s Tree, Frog, Smiling Tree Frog, Litoria caerulea
- Wolf’s Guenon, Wolf’s Mona Monkey, Cercopithecus wolfi
- Wood Duck, Aix sponsa
- Yellow-banded Poison Dart Frog, Dendrobates leucomelas
- Yellow-footed Rock Wallaby, Petrogale xanthopus