Tag Archives: Abyssinian Ground Hornbill

Went to See the New Okapi at the Zoo, 02-21-19

I headed over to the Sacramento Zoo with the hopes of being able to see their new okapi. When I got there, I realized that the electronic membership pass I had to get into the zoo had not transferred from my old phone to the new one, so, I had to go see the membership department to get that resolved. I also got a printed pass just in case the fix for the electronic one fails again.

As I mentioned, I’d come mostly to see the new okapi – which look like a cross between a zebra and a giraffe. Only one was out in the enclosure, but, wow, what a beautiful weird-looking animal. The coat is amazing; smooth, glossy, brown here, striped there. It’s tongue is so long it can lick its own eyeball.

Thursdays are “bone day”, so all of the big cats had cow bones to gnaw on. Coconut the baby Snow Leopard was out with his mom, Misha, hoarding all the bones for himself and pouncing on his mom whenever she came near them. I could watch those leopards all day; they’re so gorgeous. While I was there, an English couple with their two small children came up. The dad was enamored with the big cats and kept taking photos and video with his phone. As if they knew he was interested, Coconut and Misha put on a show for him, running and jumping around, rolling on the ground, leaping from rock to rock.

I asked the couple if they knew coconut’s story, and they said no, so I told them all about him (how he had swimmer’s legs when he was a cub and couldn’t walk, his physical therapy, the operation he had on his eyelids, etc.) I think the dad videoed that, but I’m not sure. The mom said, “Thank you so much for that!”, when I was done. What was funny about the whole thing was that while I was talking, the parents were totally enthralled – and behind them their kids were totally bored. “Can we go see the giraffes now?” they kept saying. Hahahaha!

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

The lions had bones, too, but the big male was generous and let the female eat what she wanted to. He’s feeling amorous right now, so I was figuring that any second the kids at the zoo would get an eye-full. They didn’t get that from the lions, but they did see some of that from the River Otters. Horney little dude kept chasing the dark female all over the place, and then one or the other of them would dance-poop all over the place. At one point, the male went right up to the glass wall of their enclosure, and put his hands on the glass, glaring at us humans. The “do you people mind?! I’m trying to get busy here!” was so obvious on his face that it made me literally laugh out loud.

All of the chimpanzees were out and crowded into the sun-shiny parts of their enclosure, so it was easy to get photos of them. They’d just been given branches of leaves and piles of grass with veggies hidden in them, so everyone was munching away or digging through the grass looking for tidbits. The orangutans were also out, but one was lying in a hammock so you could only see his fuzzy shoulder, and the other one was snuggled in her blankets in a little cave. So, not as many cool photo ops there.

At the kangaroos’ exhibit, they were all in the sun, too, and while I was photographing them, two of them decided to lay down and stretch out in a warm spot and scratch their butts and bellies. Animals. They crack me up.

Around 11 o’clock, I stopped to get some lunch from the café and ended up with a plate of veggie nachos (no beef) and a Sobe water. Then I made another round past my favorite exhibits – and skipped the reptile house – before heading out.

I stopped briefly at the middle pond at William Land Park (across the street from the zoo) and took some photos of the ducks, a couple of cormorants and a Great Egret hanging around the pond. I got home around 1:00 pm

It Was an Awesome Photo-Day at the Zoo, 01-20-18

Wow, the dog really let me sleep in this morning! We didn’t get up until about 8:45 am. Day 2 of my 4-day Birthday Weekend: Zoo day! But the zoo doesn’t open until 10 o’clock, so I was able to have some coffee, go through my emails, and do a little journaling before I headed over to the Sacramento Zoo (I’m a zoo member, so I get in for free.)

It was an awesome photo-day at the zoo. I got my favorite parking spot, saw a female Western Bluebird perched in a tree near my car (which I took as good omen)… The air was cool, the sun was warm, and all of my favorite critters posed for photos – even the Roadrunner, who “never” stands still was standing still for me.

Saw lots of babies today, including the young boy Bongo, and the new Wolf’s Guenon (who is almost as big as his slightly older sibling now). He’s still not used to all of the people walking around the enclosure, so he’d run to mom for hugs and then scamper off to play with his siblings or eat his breakfast. I also got to see the baby flamingos again. They’re getting really tall (almost as big as the adults now) and are just starting to get their pink blush.

The chimpanzees and orangutans were out, but they didn’t like the chill in the air and were huddled together or wrapped in their blankets, not looking thrilled to be outside at all.  Two critters that were loving the cool air, though, were the Red Pandas and the Snow Leopard. I’d never seen the pandas so active before. They were moving all over the place inside their enclosure.

The Snow Leopard was waiting for her breakfast, and would go to the door of her enclosure (where she could hear the zookeeper setting things up for her), sniff around, then turn around and walk through her enclosure.  She’d get up on a ledge, go back to the door, turn around and walk back through her enclosure again, then repeat that: up on a ledge, back to the door, turn around and walk back through her enclosure, up on a ledge, back to the door, turn around and walk back through her enclosure… I left before I saw if she actually got her breakfast or not.  The African Lions were out, but very sleepy, and the Tiger was out but sitting in the rear of her enclosure, dozing in the sunlight.  The Jaguar put on a show of movement I’ve seldom seen him do. He’s usually lying around, but this morning he was walking, jumping over the little “river” in his enclosure, coming right up to the fence and looking at the people…

I heard one of the docents say that the jaguar doesn’t show any interest in the small children who walk past his enclosure, but the male Lion often singles out a kid in the crowd and stares it down. “You can see his prey drive kick right in,” she said. “The little kids looks like snacks to him.”  Yikes!

In the middle of my time there, I got some lunch. The café was shut down because they’re refurbishing the floors, but they’d brought out some grilles and hot plates and were cooking outdoors in front of the building. I had a bratwurst sammich with chips, coleslaw, and some sweet tea.  Before leaving I also got a soft-serve ice cream cone and  some cotton candy. (Must haves whenever I go to the zoo.)

The funniest thing I saw at the zoo today were the River Otters playing with one another. When I usually see them, they’re dashing back and forth in the water and it’s hard to get picture of them. Today, the two of them were rollicking right in front of the glass along the front of their enclosure, rolling over one another, scratching and rubbing each other’s bellies.  One of them got under some fallen branches around their pond and started doing bench presses with them: pushing them up with his feet, letting them down, pushing them up again…

CLICK HERE for the album of photos.

One thing I’d noticed at the zoo that I’d never seen before were bat boxes posted in the trees throughout the zoo.  I asked one of the docents about them, and she said they’d been slowly going up since last year. I wonder what species of bat they’re attracting: most likely Little Brown Bats and Mexican Freetails…

The only disappointment of the day was when I tried to get some photos of the Abyssinian Ground Hornbills, my favorite birds.  They were doing their courting ritual of serving one another dead mice, and for some reason my camera decided that THAT would be the moment when it froze up and refused to function properly.  Arrrgh!! I got a few photos of the birds, but none of them were very good. Still, having only that one disappointment didn’t dampen my spirits.  I had a fun day at the zoo.

Lots of Babies at the Zoo, 08-20-16

I got up around 8:00 am this morning, and headed over to the Sacramento Zoo. I’m still fighting off a little bit of the vertigo and the drowsiness from the medication, but I needed to get moving and get some fresh air… and I felt that if I got super-dizzy while at the zoo, at least there would be a lot of people around who could help me… I walked slowly and used railings wherever I could and I made it through most of the zoo.  I didn’t get over to the chimpanzee house or the reptile house, but I still got to see a lot of stuff.


Over the previous several months a lot of babies had been born to the zoo, and I got to see several of them today which was fun.  The Red River hoglets are getting big and are out of their stripes and into their more adult coats now. They’re still smaller than mom and dad, and don’t have the tassels on their ears that the adults have but I still think they’re cute.

Then I saw the baby Masai giraffe.  When you see it in photos by itself, it doesn’t look all that small.  But then its dad walked by and, wow, the baby is still small.  Like all of the giraffes, it has such a gentle face, and gorgeous long eyelashes… I actually sat down on a bench next to the giraffe enclosure and watched it for almost 20 minutes…

Next to the giraffe enclosure is the on-site animal hospital. They have windows along the front of it, so you can look in at the exam rooms and see what’s going on, if anything.  Today, there were two female veterinarians in there working on one of the guinea fowl.  They had the bird sedated and on a table with IV’s, but I don’t know exactly what they were doing to it…

Then I went to see the new baby Wolf’s Guenon (born on June 5th); it’s just a little stick with fur that is always on the go.  It was sometimes hard to get pictures of him, he was moving so fast.  But he was soooo adorable.  It’s mom was right near the baby and huffed and growled at me when she felt I getting too close to their habitat. I’d never heard her make any kind of noise before, so it was kind of a surprise.

None of the big cats were out today except for the male lion – and he sat with his back to the fence, so I didn’t get any really good photos of him. I did get to see a lot more animals, though, including the aardvark who was out of his cave; this was the first time I’ve seen him out in the sunlight…

After about 2 hours, I was getting a little nauseous and tired, so I headed back home.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy birthday to me!  I’m 60 years old today.  I actually woke up feeling sorry for myself because I was “house-bound” on my birthday and couldn’t get out into nature.  I did my morning ablutions stuff, feeling weepy, and went into the kitchen to make myself a pot of coffee… and found on the kitchen table a birthday card from Marty, along with a bottle of my favorite Pink Moscato wine AND the keys to his classic car telling me to use it for the day if I wanted to.  [[That’s like getting the keys to the Millenium Falcon for the day!]] Woo-hoo!  I literally burst into tears.

I decided to go to the Sacramento Zoo.  I figured there wouldn’t be a lot of people there on a Thursday, AND I’d get to add more critters to my “1000 Species” list for the year.  Yes, I’m counting zoo animals.  ((I also figured that if I had any problems with the car, I’d be close enough for a tow home without too much expense.))  It took a little while to get used to driving the Reatta but I think I did well.  I accidentally set off the alarm on it though, and it took me a few seconds to figure out how to make it shut up (put the key in the door lock).  Had lots of people staring at me – especially as I was in my zombie-hoodie at the time…

When I first walked into the zoo, there were a bunch of docents hanging around inviting people to come into their presentation room by the front gate.  (I didn’t eve known that was there.)  And I got to see and touch a Rainbow Boa, a hedgehog (which was actually on my “bucket list”, right under wanting to touch a live whale), and a Blue-Tongued Skink.  Happy birthday to me!  I also got to see the new baby Duiker (born in November) and the Wallaby, and got to watch the lion triplets play with their mom and dad.  So cute!  While I was getting photos of the Wallaby, there was a docent there talking about kangaroos and how hard it was to get shots of the Wallaby because he was so shy.  I showed her some on my camera, and she said, “Wow!  When did you get those!”  I told her, “Just now… He’s right over there.”  Hah-ha-ha!

The baby Duiker was up and running around after mom.  He doesn’t have the stripe of yellow fur down his back yet and is brown over-all, but he already has his little horns and his top-knot of reddish-brown hair.  Dad was off in another pen by himself.

I think the lion cubs know how darling they are because every time they make an appearance, they put on show for the crowd.  Today they were pouncing and rolling all over each other, grabbing their daddy’s tail, and trying to knock mom over.  At one point, the dad picked one of the cubs off up, set him off to the side and smacked him in the head with his paw.  Behave!  While I was watching the cubs, I felt someone bump in next to my left calf.  It was a little kid who was fascinated by the pins on my carry-all camera bag… so I gave her my Zoo pin.  (Marty did something unexpected and nice for me, so I did something unexpected and nice for someone else… Pay it forward, people.)

The Jaguar was off exhibit while I was there, but I got some good close-ups of the Snow Leopard and the Tiger.  The Snow Leopard walked right down the side of her enclosure and sat on the rocks with her paws hanging down in front of her, totally chillin’.  And the tiger was sitting on his ledge by the window of his enclosure. I got some shots of him through the bamboo on the front of his enclosure, too; he is sooo handsome.  His son, CJ, was sent off to another zoo late last year to he’s an “empty-nester” right now.  Doesn’t seem to mind.

I got some short video snippets of the Wolf’s Guenon baby swinging from his mama’s tail; the lion cubs playing; the flamingoes doing their open-winged greeting; and the Mallards having a quickie in the flamingo pond.  I took so many photos that I literally filled up the entire memory card on my camera; over 1100 photos.  I’d never done that before. Yikes!

I walked around for about three hours and would’ve stayed a little longer if my camera wasn’t filled to capacity.  When I got home, I baked some chicken and had that with mashed potatoes and asparagus (one of my favorite meals).  The only thing I DIDN’T have for my birthday like I usually do was a cherry pie.  Maybe I can get that over the weekend.  It was a nice day – thanks mostly to Marty who let me use his classic car.