Walking Around William Land Park

I got up around 7:30 this morning, and headed out with Sergeant Margie to the William Land Park for our walk.  First I stopped at the bank to make a small deposit, and then we went to the park.  We spent about two hours walking around the duck ponds and through the WPA Rock garden.  I didn’t get a lot of photos, but I did see several caterpillars I hadn’t seen before, and got some neat photos of the ducks and geese with the “star filter” twinkle all around them…

A Lovely Morning at the Zoo

The first day of my vacation!  I treated myself to a trip to the Sacramento Zoo, and got there just a little after they opened, so some of the animals weren’t out on display yet.  But because the weather was so nice, a lot of the animals that WERE out were very active.  The Masai giraffe was playing with a bucket, kicking it back and forth like a soccer ball with his feet, and making it roll all over the place.  “CJ” the tiger cub was out with his mom, and they were rolling and wrestling around for a while, then they went into a mock cave in their enclosure for a nap.  There was a notice up saying that CJ’s dad Castro was recently diagnosed with cancer. So sad.  Along with the regular cast of characters, I also got to see the Margay (a kind of small wild cat), their King Condor, and the big sloth for the first time.  When I was taking photos of the sloth, one of the zookeepers was walking by and said, “Wow!  I’ve been working here for a year and I’ve NEVER seen him come out into the display before.”  I also noticed that in one of the bird enclosures a mama rat had settled in and she and her babies were running back and forth stealing birdseed and drinking from the fountains.  Eeew.  In the lions’ enclosure the male kept pacing so I was hard to get photos of him, but he came right up to fence — you could almost reach out and touch him. I got some great shots of the female… and I got some good shots of the river otters, too.  One came stood up in front of me and another came right up to the glass so I could get a close-up of him.  Oddly enough, one of my best photos of the day was of a praying mantis that flew down in front of me when I was looking at the anteater enclosure, and then did a big raised-arms-spread-wings display for me.  Weird!  The River Hogs and hoglets weren’t out when I was there so I missed them… I took a few videos, but for some reason they’re all in slow-mo; Hmmmm, I’ll have to check the camera setting to see why that is.  I walked around for almost 2½ and got about 250 photos, so I was happy.  I also picked up a toy sloth on my way out.  Hah!

Against the Wind…

Wooooosh!  We all got blown all over the place by the heavy winds today (gusts up to 35 mph), but the temperature was gorgeous (73°).  After work, it was so lovely outside, I stopped over at the WPA Rock Garden for a short walk.  Because of the wind, I didn’t expect to see a lot a bug or other critters, but there were quite a few.  Lots of dragonflies hugging onto the plants to try to keep from be whacked around by the wind.  I was following one big Darner dragonfly around the garden, trying to get a photo of it.  He moved too quickly, though, so I wasn’t successful in getting a shot of him — but, he DID lead me to a dead bush that had a newly laid praying mantis egg case on it.  Kewl!  I also saw a medium-sized Gulf Fritillary caterpillar.  It had just shed its old skin and was all shiny: blue and orange stripes with black spines all over it.  It was still not fully mature yet, so its colors will change a lot before it forms its chrysalis.  These caterpillars only eat passionflower vines, and most of the vines in the garden have been cut down almost to the ground for some reason, so this guy was practically lying in the dirt… I also found a big Carpenter Bee hugging onto the side of a plant.  She was just too tired to fly against the gusts… So it was a fairly good photo day afterall.

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Travels of a Certified California Naturalist

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