Lots of Deer on a Birding Trip, 02-22-23

Around 9:00 AM this morning I headed out to the Gristmill Recreation Area for a walk even though my cancer was making my left leg hurt a lot (around a 7). I was hoping the movement would help to unbind the affected muscles in my thigh and hip area, but it actually started to make it worse. So I only stayed out there for about an hour.

In that hour, though, I saw quite a bit. There was a huge Bay Tree that was in bloom., the only tree in bloom besides the Almond Trees in the park. The Boxelder Trees were starting to push out their leaves and catkins, and the Mugwort plants and Manroot Vines were starting to come up.

The willow trees were all starting to “pussy” getting their early catkins. On the Arroyo Willows there were the old galls of the Willow Rosette Gall Midge, Rabdophaga salicisbrassicoides. They were all silvery black with age.

I saw a few birds including Ruby-Crowned Kinglets, Lesser Goldfinches, Bewick’s Wrens, and a Nuttall’s Woodpecker. I also caught sight of a Red-Shouldered Hawk sitting in the top of a tree with her breast to the morning sun. I saw it just as a group of birders further back on the trail behind me saw the bird. One of the birders with a huge camera on a tripod tried moving in closer to the tree to get some pictures of the hawk. I was able to get one shot in before the bird, spooked by the approaching birder, flew away. The birder was still moving and didn’t get any photos.

I went back to the car and took some pain pills and waited for a few minutes before heading over to the nearby American River Bend Park. By the time I got to the park the pain pills had kicked in and I was able to walk more freely.

The first critters I encountered at the park was a bachelor group of Wild Turkeys. During this time of the year their coloring is especially brilliant. I know some people consider the birds a nuisance, but I think they’re such handsome birds.

There were also deer all over the place on both sides of the road: does, yearlings and bucks. Most of the bucks were younger ones, spike bucks and 2-pointers. But among them was a large 4-pointer (going on 5-). He was stunning.

When I was getting a video snippet of one group of the deer, I saw something zooming back and forth in the grass, and I didn’t know what it was. When I got a better look I realized it was Black-Tailed Jackrabbits chasing one another. I got a video snippet of one of them dashing around.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

There were Pipevine plants starting to show off with their calabash pipe flowers and heart-shaped leaves. They’re the precursors of the Pipevine Swallowtail butterflies and caterpillars.

Among the birds I saw were a Red-Shouldered Hawk, a Western Bluebird, Oak Titmice, Audubon’s Warblers, Acorn Woodpeckers [one of them chasing a Nuttall’s Woodpecker out of its granary tree], and a Northern Flicker. In the water, I saw Common Mergansers, Crows, Common Goldeneyes, a flock of Bufflehead flying over the river, Mallards, gulls, and a small Spotted Sandpiper.

On the other side of the river I watched some Great Egrets fighting over fishing spots, and a Belted Kingfisher nattering angrily at a pair of Canada Geese that decided to float through its fishing grounds.

As I was leaving the park, I came across a Eastern Fox Squirrel that was “bathing” itself on the perch of a tree stump. It was soooo cute!

I was out in the park for about 3 hours, so I walked for a total of 4 hours on this excursion. It was fun, and wonderful to be outdoors, but it was also very wearing and I crashed when I got home. This was hike #6 in my #52HikeChallenge for the year.

Species List:

  1. Acorn WoodpeckerMelanerpes formicivorus
  2. Almond Tree, Prunus dulcis
  3. Anna’s HummingbirdCalypte anna
  4. Audubon’s Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
  5. Bay Laurel, California Bay, Umbellularia californica
  6. Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon
  7. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  8. Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
  9. Boxelder, Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
  10. Bufflehead Duck, Bucephala albeola [flyby]
  11. Bumpy Rim-Lichen, Lecanora hybocarpa [tan to brown apothecia]
  12. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
  13. California Buckeye Chestnut Tree, Aesculus californica
  14. California Camouflage Lichen, Melanelixia californica 
  15. California MugwortArtemisia douglasiana
  16. California Pipevine, Dutchman’s Pipe, Aristolochia californica
  17. California Scrub JayAphelocoma californica
  18. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  19. Columbian Black-Tailed DeerOdocoileus hemionus columbianus
  20. Common Chickweed, Stellaria media
  21. Common GoldeneyeBucephala clangula
  22. Common Merganser, American Common Merganser, Mergus merganser americanus
  23. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  24. Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  25. Eastern Fox SquirrelSciurus niger [rusty belly]
  26. Flies, Black-Margined Flower Fly, Syrphus opinator
  27. Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
  28. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  29. Gull, Herring Gull, Larus argentatus
  30. Gull, Larus sp.
  31. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  32. Mallard DuckAnas platyrhynchos
  33. Manroot, California Manroot, Bigroot, Marah fabaceus
  34. Mistletoe, Broadleaf Mistletoe, Phoradendron macrophyllum
  35. Mosses, Bonfire Moss, Funaria hygrometrica
  36. Mourning DoveZenaida macroura
  37. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  38. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
  39. Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
  40. Oak TitmouseBaeolophus inornatus
  41. Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  42. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  43. Powder-Edged Speckled Greenshield , Flavopunctelia soredica [pale green, lots of soredia]
  44. Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus elegans
  45. Rio Grande Wild TurkeyMeleagris gallopavo intermedia
  46. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
  47. Spotted Sandpiper, Actitis macularius
  48. Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus [heard]
  49. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  50. Western Bluebird, Sialia mexicana
  51. Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus
  52. White HorehoundMarrubium vulgare
  53. Willow Rosette Gall Midge, Rabdophaga salicisbrassicoides [on stem]
  54. Willow, Arroyo Willow, Salix lasiolepis
  55. Wren, Bewick’s WrenThryomanes bewickii

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The Slime Mold Was My Favorite, 02-18-23

I got up around 7:30 AM and had some breakfast before heading out for a walk at the Effie Yeaw Nature Preserve. I hadn’t been out there in “forever”, so I was anxious to see what was going on there. It was clear, sunny and chilly outside, around 42º F.

My friend Roxanne had been there and told me about how changed the landscape was there in the aftermath of the recent rains. Lots of trees were felled, shrubbery was chopped down, and flowering plants around the nature center were either cut down or completely culled. Everything looked either naked or totally messy. I’m assuming the work is continuing.

One of the trails I wanted to take was closed because of fallen/falling trees, so I had to take the trail that had steps to walk down. With my cancer and the pain in my left hip area, stairs are not really my thing, so I took a long time to navigate the less than a dozen wide, steep wooden steps. But I made it — yay! — and continued on through the preserve. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular and so kept my eyes open for just about anything.

Near the bottom of the staircase was a tree that caught my attention because there was some Giraffe Spot fungus on one part of its trunk. As I took photos of the Giraffe Spot, I saw there was also some bright pink Carnival Candy Slime Mold on another part of the trunk. In its fruiting body stage this slime mold starts outlooking like a collection of bright pink “bullets”, and as it goes to spore, it “unravels” and looks like cotton candy. This was the first slime mold I’ve seen this year.

Slime molds are fascinating to me because they start out like single-celled animals, gather together into mobile plasmodia, and end their lives like fungus – going to spore.

There were a lot of Wild Turkeys running, gobbling and strutting around; all bachelor groups showing off to one another and readying for battle in anticipation of the breeding season. I love their brilliant colors and sassy attitudes.

I could see and hear other birds, of course, but wasn’t able to get photos of all of them. I heard California Quails and Northern Flickers, for example but couldn’t catch sight of them, and with some other birds all I got were “butt shots” or “blur in flight” photos. The plight of every nature photographer, I know, but it’s still frustrating.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

I spent a lot of time looking for lichens, and found about a dozen species but most of the specimens were dried out and shriveled. So that was a bit of a disappointment. There was one black lichen on rocks that I haven’t been able to identify yet.

I saw quite a few Columbian Black-Tailed Deer in different areas throughout the preserve, including does, bucks and yearlings. One 4-pointer buck was especially stunning; took my breath away when I saw him.

What was distressing to me was seeing a young man and what I assume was his girlfriend going off-trail and chasing down the bucks trying the grab their antlers. There are signs that clearly state that collecting anything from the nature area is prohibited (it’s illegal, and can be considered a form of “poaching” by the authorities). Obviously, the man and his girlfriend didn’t care about the rules.

I didn’t see it, but I heard the CRACK! when the antler of one buck the man was chasing, clipped a tree. The antler fell and the man retrieved it. When he tried chasing after other bucks, the girlfriend stood by the trail and hid the stolen antler in the grass so no one could see it. Eventually, when more people showed up in the preserve, the two gave up their pursuit. I turned the images and narrative over to the Executive Director of the preserve.

I walked for a little over 2½ hours and covered a s-l-o-w mile or so and felt pretty strong physically afterwards. It was a nice trip, and hike #5 in my #52HikeChallenge for the year.

Species List:

  1. Acorn Woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
  2. Azolla, Water Fern, Azolla filiculoides
  3. Bark Rim Lichen, Lecanora chlarotera [looks like Whitewash Lichen but has apothecia]
  4. Bitter Wart Lichen, Lepra amara [like rim lichen; white with heavy white apotheca]
  5. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  6. Bumpy Rim-Lichen, Lecanora hybocarpa [tan to brown apothecia]
  7. California Camouflage Lichen, Melanelixia californica [dark green with brown apothecia, on trees]
  8. California Camouflage Lichen, Melanelixia californica [dark green with brown apothecia, on trees]
  9. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  10. California Mugwort, Artemisia douglasiana
  11. California Quail, Callipepla californica [heard]
  12. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  13. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis [flyover]
  14. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  15. Cumberland Rock-Shield Lichen, Xanthoparmelia cumberlandia [gray, brown apotheca]
  16. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger [rusty belly]
  17. Farinose Cartilage Lichen,  Ramalina farinacea [like Oakmoss but very thin branches]
  18. Fluffy Dust Lichen, Pacific Fluffy Dust Lichen, Lepraria pacifica [blue-green dust lichen]
  19. Giraffe Spots Crust Fungus, Peniophora albobadia
  20. Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
  21. Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  22. Hidden Goldspeck Lichen, Candelariella aurella [small, scattered, yellow, on rocks]
  23. Hoary Rosette Lichen, Physcia aipolia
  24. Hooded Rosette Lichen, Physcia adscendens [hairs/eyelashes on the tips of the lobes]
  25. Hooded Sunburst Lichen, Xanthomendoza fallax [with soredia]
  26. Italian Arum, Lords-and-Ladies, Arum italicum
  27. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  28. Mold, Green Trichoderma Mold, Trichoderma viride
  29. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  30. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus [heard]
  31. Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii
  32. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  33. Oak, Interior Live Oak, Quercus wislizeni
  34. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  35. Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri [like strap but with soredia]
  36. Pin-Cushion Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona polycarpa [bright orange, apothecia, close, piled]
  37. Poison Oak, Pacific Poison Oak, Western Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
  38. Powder-Edged Speckled Greenshield,  Flavopunctelia soredica [soredia on the edges]
  39. Red-Shouldered Hawk, California Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus elegans [flyover]
  40. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  41. Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
  42. Shrubby Sunburst Lichen, Polycauliona candelaria
  43. Slime Mold, Carnival Candy Slime Mold, Arcyria denudata
  44. Smokey-Eyed Boulder Lichen, Porpidia albocaerulescens
  45. Sparrow, Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  46. Speckled Greenshield Lichen, Flavopunctelia flaventior
  47. Split Porecrust Fungus, Xylodon paradoxus [crust fungus with split surface]
  48. Strap Lichen, Western Strap Lichen, Ramalina leptocarpha [without soredia]
  49. Swallow, Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor [flyover]
  50. Towhee, California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
  51. Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  52. Turkey Tail Fungus, Trametes versicolor
  53. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  54. Wavy-Leafed Soap Plant, Chlorogalum pomeridianum
  55. Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus
  56. White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
  57. Whitewash Lichen, Phlyctis argena
  58. Willow, Goodding’s Willow, Black Willow, Salix gooddingii
  59. Wren, Bewick’s Wren, Thryomanes bewickii
  60. ?? black lichen on rocks

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Gray Lodge in February, 02-15-23

My friend and fellow Naturalist, Roxanne, left the house around 7:00 AM and stopped first for coffee before heading on toward the Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. We stopped again at Huckleberry’s restaurant for breakfast. What struck us as odd when we arrived there was seeing a flock of domesticated chickens running loose in the parking lot. It seemed so random. Why were they there? We later saw chickens along Highway 99 as we continue through the county so maybe it’s a “thing” there.

On our way to the wildlife area we saw about 14 hawks along the road, and an adult Bald Eagle flew over the car. We also saw a handful of Sandhill Cranes in an ag field along the road. That bode well for today’s outing.

When we got to Gray Lodge we stopped first at a turnout/parking lot with lots of eucalyptus trees and piles of brambles — rose and blackberry vines — intertwined in the privet and pyracantha bushes. There were Turkey Vultures and Tree Swallows flying overhead. The swallows were moving so fast, I couldn’t get any photos of them. Among the brambles we saw Mockingbirds, a Hermit Thrush, some Dark-Eyed Juncos, California Towhees, and other little “twitty” birds we couldn’t catch photos of.

When we got to Parking Lot 14, where the trails and auto tour route start, we walked out into the viewing platform and saw quite a few different species including a Great Blue Heron, Black-Crowned Night Herons (an adult and a juvenile), Ring-Necked ducks, American Wigeons and Gadwalls, and, of course, lots of Coots. It was cool to see so many species in such a confined area.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

We stayed in the car most of the time we were there and didn’t walk the trails or check out the blinds because it was so cold and windy there. When we got back to the car from the viewing platform, our hands were so cold we couldn’t bend our fingers, and our faces were so cold we could hardly talk because we couldn’t move our lips!

Further along the auto-tour route, we saw more ducks, and quite a few Common Gallinules that were sporting their candy-corn colored face shields, getting ready for the breeding season.

From the car we also saw two species of egrets — Snowy Egrets and Great Egrets — more Great Blue Herons, and three different species of geese: Greater White-Fronted geese, Snow geese and Ross’s geese.

In one of the ponds — and there was lots of water on the landscape — we saw quite a few Ruddy Ducks in among little flotillas of Buffleheads Gadwalls, and a few Pied-Billed Grebes.

We also saw quite a few hawks, including Red-Tailed hawks and Red-Shouldered hawks. And we came across a few empty nests including a hanging pendulum nest, a cupped nest (that was probably that of a blackbird), and a mud-rimmed nest. I’m crap at identifying birds’ nests, though, so I wasn’t sure what we were looking at.

Near the end of the auto-tour route we saw a female Belt Kingfisher, and she led us on a chase down the road, trying to get photos of her. I had to settle for shots through the windshield, but Rox got a nice clear photo of her.

Before we left the preserve, we saw a few Columbian Black-Tailed deer including a solitary female and some very curious fawns (that were out of their spots).

We were out for about 8 hours, and I was pretty thrashed by the time we got home. I think the cold sucked a lot of my strength and energy out of me. I went to bed at 7:00 PM. .. But it was a fun and productive day.

Species List:

  1. American Avocet, Recurvirostra americana
  2. American Coot, Fulica americana
  3. American Kestrel, Falco sparverius [4 along the highway]
  4. American Robin, Turdus migratorius
  5. American Wigeon, Anas americana
  6. Audubon’s Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
  7. Azolla, Water Fern, Azolla filiculoides
  8. Bald Eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus
  9. Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon
  10. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  11. Black Walnut, Eastern Black Walnut, Juglans nigra
  12. Blackberry, Armenian Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus [red canes]
  13. Black-Crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
  14. Black-Necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
  15. Blessed Milk Thistle, Silybum marianum
  16. Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  17. Bufflehead Duck, Bucephala albeola
  18. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
  19. California Quail, Callipepla californica
  20. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  21. Cattail, Broad-Leaved Cattail, Typha latifolia
  22. Chicken, Domestic Chicken, Gallus gallus var. domesticus
  23. Chinese Privet, Ligustrum sinense
  24. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  25. Common Gallinule, Gallinula galeata
  26. Coyote Brush, Baccharis pilularis
  27. Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  28. Dark-Eyed Junco, Junco hyemalis
  29. Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus
  30. Duckweed, Common Duckweed, Lemna minor
  31. Dunlin, Calidris alpina
  32. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger [rusty belly]
  33. Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus sp.
  34. Field Mustard, Brassica rapa
  35. Gadwall, Mareca strepera
  36. Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
  37. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  38. Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
  39. Grebe, Pied-Billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
  40. Hermit Thrush, Catharus guttatus
  41. Hooded Merganser, Lophodytes cucullatus
  42. Jointed Charlock, Raphanus raphanistrum
  43. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
  44. Lesser Scaup, Aythya affinis
  45. Lesser Yellowlegs, Tringa flavipes
  46. Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  47. Mistletoe, Broadleaf Mistletoe, Phoradendron macrophyllum
  48. Mullein, Great Mullein, Verbascum thapsus
  49. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus [heard]
  50. Northern Harrier, Marsh Hawk, Circus hudsonius [3]
  51. Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
  52. Northern Pintail, Anas acuta
  53. Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
  54. Oak, Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
  55. Olive, Olea europaea
  56. Parasitic Wasp, Subfamily: Mesochorinea
  57. Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum
  58. Pyracantha, Firethorn, Pyracantha sp.
  59. Red-Shouldered Hawk, California Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus elegans
  60. Red-Tailed Hawk, Western Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis calurus [15 along the highway]
  61. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  62. Ring-Necked Duck, Aythya collaris
  63. Rose, California Wild Rose, Rosa californica [pink]
  64. Ross’s Goose, Anser rossii
  65. Ruddy Duck, Oxyura jamaicensis
  66. Sandhill Crane, Grus canadensis
  67. Snow Goose, Anser caerulescens
  68. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
  69. Sparrow, Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  70. Sparrow, White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
  71. Striped Skunk, Mephitis mephitis [roadkill]
  72. Swallow, Barn Swallow, American Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica erythrogaster
  73. Swallow, Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  74. Towhee, California Towhee, Melozone crissalis
  75. Towhee, Spotted Towhee, Pipilo maculatus
  76. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  77. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  78. Western Gray Squirrel, Sciurus griseus [roadkill]
  79. Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
  80. White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
  81. White-Faced Ibis, Plegadis chihi
  82. Willows, Salix sp.
  83. Wren, Marsh Wren, Cistothorus palustris

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Hoping to See the Baby Giraffe, 02-09-23

I got to the Sacramento Zoo around 10:30 am. It was clear and sunny outside, a lovely 63º. I was able to be in my shirt sleeves all the while I was outside. This time of day there are no handicapped spots available, so I had to drive down to the overflow parking lot and park in there. I could hear a lot of little birds in the trees along the sidewalk, but I couldn’t see any of them. I did see Black Phoebes and Scrub Jays, but not a lot more than that.

At the zoo, I saw a LOT of mechanical dragons all over the place. I might have been more impressed with them if they moved more, but the majority of them just stood still and dropped their lower jaw to roar. One little kid walked up to one, and his mom was trying to get him to be excited about the thing. He looked at her and said, “It’s fake, mom,” and she laughed. There was a blue dragon that was a storyteller with a female voice, and every once in a while you could hear it laugh with a bad-actress, trilling, “Ha. Ha. Ha,” kind of laugh. Creepy!

Because of reconstruction in some of the habitats and the complete draining of the large bird pond, there were a lot of species I wasn’t able to see. And I mostly wanted to see the new baby giraffe, and she came out for a trot once while I was there, but the zoo had two different kinds of fencing between visitors and the giraffe enclosure, so I couldn’t get any photos of the baby. It was funny, though, to see the other giraffes straining to look over the fences to see the baby while her mom, Shani, and while they were doing that, the big male, Chifu, was sniffing up all the females to see if any of them were heat. Had to laugh.

You can see more information on and some video of the baby giraffe HERE. She’s soooooo cuuuuute.

It was cool to see Padme, the Aardvark, sitting in close to the window on her den – which she seldom does — across from the giraffe enclosure.  She stood up for a moment, and I was hoping she’d walk outside where it was sunnier, but she just rearranged her butt and laid back down to sleep again. I feel you, honey.

A lot of the monkeys were either indoors or off exhibit, but I did get some pix of the chimps, orangutans, and White-Ruffed Lemurs.

I got to see all of the big cats, but everyone was very sleepy. The female lion was lying in the sun on the top of her giant cat tree, and the male jumped up there and tried lying next her, but she bit him in the butt so he had to move over a little bit. Hah! The male jaguar, Tikal, was out by himself lounging in the sunshine. You can tell him from the female, even without seeing his junk, because his tail is foreshortened. A metal door had closed on his tail, and as a result part of it had to be amputated. There was some confusion at the Snow Leopard enclosure. A male docent who was talking about the big cat sitting on the rocks in its enclosure at once referred to it as Misha (the name of the female Snow Leopard) and later referred to it as a male. The male Snow Leopard there is Blizzard, and based on the cat’s facials pots, I think we were looking at Misha. [Each cat has its own unique spot pattern.]

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

Partway through my walk at the zoo, I stopped for lunch at their Kampala Café. The café has changed their menu, removing the majority of the junk food, and replacing it with higher-end food choices like shrimp and specialty hamburgers. I ordered a shrimp bowl. I was a little worried that it would come to me dark, greasy, and overcooked, and was happily surprised to find it was a large melamine bowl filled with about a dozen plump beer-batter-covered shrimp on a nest of thin fries. Very yummy. I had them with a hard blackberry cider –and cotton candy for dessert.

I was already tired by then, but still wanted to see the reptile house, so I headed over there. About ¾ of the way through the reptile house, though, my stamina completely gave out and I had to “rush” (as much as I could) outside to find somewhere to sit down.

Right outside the house there was a bench, so I sat there and breathed through my feeling of extreme fatigue and dizziness. When I tried to get back up, of course, I found I couldn’t get my legs to lift me, and no matter how I rearranged myself on the bench I couldn’t stand up. [They need to make old lady benches that are taller and easier to get off of.] So, I waited until someone else came out of the reptile house to ask for help. Two women and their kids came out and I asked, “Can I impose on you?”

One of the women growled, “What?” like she was expecting me to beg for money or something.

I said, “I got down on this bench, but now my chemo legs won’t let me get up…”’

The woman’s whole demeanor changed. “Oh, darling”, she said, “Let me help you!”

She helped me up, gave me a hug, and got my cane for me. So sweet. I thanked her effusively, and then headed out of the zoo to my car. It felt like such a l-o-n-g walk, but I got there…and sat in the front seat, drinking some water and resting before heading back home

Even though I didn’t see all of the animals I wanted to, and didn’t catch sight of the Summer Tanager that’s supposed to be hanging around there, I had I nice afternoon out in the fresh air

I was out for about 3 hours. This was walk #4 of my #52HikeChallenge for the year.

Species List:

  1. Aardvark, Orycteropus afer
  2. African Lion, Panthera leo
  3. Axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum
  4. Ball Python, Python regius
  5. Black and White Ruffed Lemur, Varecia variegata variegata
  6. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  7. California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  8. Catalina Island Rattlesnake, Crotalus catalinensis
  9. Chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes
  10. Common Bird-of-Paradise Flower, Strelitzia reginae
  11. Common Chuckwalla, Sauromalus obesus
  12. Crested Coua, Coua cristata
  13. Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger [rusty belly]
  14. Eastern Gray Squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis [white belly]
  15. Frog, Amazon Milk Frog, Trachycephalus resinifictrix
  16. Frog, Golden Mantella, Mantella aurantiaca
  17. Frog, Phantasmal Dart Frog, Epipedobates tricolor
  18. Frog, Smoky Jungle Frog, Leptodactylus pentadactylus
  19. Frog, Yellow-Banded Poison Dart Frog, Dendrobates leucomelas
  20. Grevy’s Zebra, Equus grevyi
  21. Jaguar, Panthera onca
  22. Madagascar Giant Day Gecko, Phelsuma grandis
  23. Laughing Kookaburra, Dacelo novaeguineae
  24. Madagascar Tree Boa, Sanzinia madagascariensis
  25. Masai Giraffe, Giraffa tippelskirchi
  26. Meerkat, Slender-Tailed Meerkat, Suricata suricatta
  27. Mongoose Lemur, Eulemur mongo
  28. Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  29. Red Kangaroo, Macropus rufus
  30. Red-Billed Hornbill, Tockus erythrorhynchus
  31. Reticulated Giraffe, Giraffa reticulata
  32. Rhinoceros Iguana, Cyclura cornuta
  33. Smooth-Fronted Caiman, Paleosuchus trigonatus
  34. Snow Leopard, Panthera uncia
  35. Spider Tortoise, Pyxis arachnoides
  36. Spiny-Tailed Gecko, Strophurus sp.
  37. Spur-Winged Lapwing, Vanellus spinosus
  38. Sumatran Orangutan, Pongo abelii
  39. Thick-Billed Parrot, Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha

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