Tag Archives: Spur-Winged Lapwing

Cosmo the Baby Flamingo and Other Critters, 01-22-19

I treated myself to a walk at Sacramento Zoo to celebrate my birthday. It was bright and clear outside, and on the cold side. It was about 44° when I got to the zoo and only in the 50’s when I headed back home.

Tuleyome’s post-wildfire restoration project was up on one of the wishing wells in the zoo (and it will stay up there all year).

You get a metal token when you winter the zoo, and you can toss it into one of the three wishing wells lined up along the front of the zoo. There’s a pot of money set aside for the well projects, and whoever gets the most tokens, get the most money out of the pot… So, I’m trying to get as people as I can to put tokens into Tuleyome’s well. Hah! We’re up against a wildcat rescue group and a Grevy’s Zebra project.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

Because it was chilly, some of the animals were vying for sunny spots in their enclosures. The White-Ruffed Lemurs, for example, were lined up along the fence, some of them stretched out in the sun with their arms over their heads to warm up their limbs and bellies.

On top of their enclosure, there was an Eastern Fox Squirrel who found a warm metal corner on the screen and was stretch out on top of it with his chin resting on top of it. Hah-2!

The Wolf’s Guenon monkeys weren’t out when I went by their enclosure. Their latest baby, Rori, died suddenly of a respiratory illness last week, so maybe the momma was still in mourning.

I had never heard the big Crested Screamer birds scream before, but today, the keepers had returned one of the Screamers on exhibit, and the other two Screamers yelled when they saw him. What a racket! The one that had been returned had been off-exhibit for several weeks because it had a bad case of vertigo and couldn’t walk. Tests couldn’t find any indication of infection or disease, so they just kept the bird quiet for several weeks until it recovered by itself. It was still walking a little bit like a drunk today, and the other two Screamers kept close to it to help it along.

What was extra cute about the situation was the fact that the Screamers were followed everywhere by a little brown Fulvous Whistling Duck. The keepers said, that particular duck had bonded with one of the Screamers and followed it everywhere. When the Screamers nest and lay eggs, the duck sits in the nest with them… Awwwww… I guess he doesn’t mind the screaming.

Although I didn’t get to see Coconut today, I did get to see baby Cosmo, the young flamingo chick. She was walking with her keepers and went to the flamingo pond for a bath. At first, she didn’t want to go into the water, and kept fast-walking, just out of reach of her keepers, when they tried to grab her to set her into the pond. Finally, she walked into the water by herself and gave herself a bath for about 20 minutes. While she was doing that, the adult flamingos on the opposite side of the pond were having a fit, flapping their wings and honking at each other in excitement.

Cosmo didn’t seem to recognize them and didn’t acknowledge them in any way. She was the single hatchling in 2018 and was raised by humans, so I guess she doesn’t know she’s a flamingo yet. She is starting to pink-up, but still had a lot of gray feathers and though fully fledged is still pretty small.

The Meerkats were out, and always make me laugh. They rush all over the place, sometimes chasing their own reflections in the glass around their enclosure. And today, one of them found its way to the top of the high tower in the middle of their exhibit and kept looking around like a little furry telescope. A couple of them also spotted a helicopter flying overhead and tracked it all the way across the sky. So funny.

In the Chimps’ enclosure, one of them was lying in the sun on the floor, while the others were up near the open roof… And two of them decided to pee and pooped all over everything just as I was taking photos of them. I couldn’t help but chuckle. So rude! The orangutan was a little more polite.

The lions came out just as I walked by their enclosure, and the male was feeling kind of randy. He kept following the female around, making overtures to her, trying to get close to her back end, licking her tail. At one point, he put one of his front paws against her inner back thigh and kind of tugged softly at her. She just gave him a dirty look and kept on walking. Snub. Poor dude.

They’ve had several successful pairings in the past. They had their last litter about 5 years ago, though – three cubs – so maybe dad thinks it’s time to have some more.
I noticed the lioness licking at the wooden structures inside their enclosure (which is where the male usually “sprays”). I wonder if she wanted the uretic salt or something. I tried to get some close-up of where she was licking, and it DID look like there was something there, but I couldn’t tell for sure what it was.

I also got to see the sloth today. He’s hardly every out, but it’s really hard to get photos of him because he’s inside an enclosure that has a really tight fence-weave. The camera can’t ready see through the openings.

I had lunch at the zoo — a club sandwich, side salad and tea — but couldn’t eat it all. Their portions are either too large or my stomach is getting smaller (which would be okay with me).

I walked for a little over 3 hours, so I was at the edge of my limit for the day. I wanted to try for one last go-round to see if Coconut the Snow Leopard had come out before I left, but I just couldn’t walk anymore, so I went back to the car.

Vacation Day #3: Sacramento Zoo… Mostly

DAY THREE OF MY FALL VACATION… Columbus Day; the office is closed.  I got up around 6:30 this morning, and initially headed over to the Cosumnes River Preserve to see if there was any water there yet or any sandhill cranes in the rice fields.  I saw some cranes in the distance, but the preserve was dryer than dry.  I walked for a little bit – to the end of the wooden boardwalk and back – and then I decided to leave the preserve and headed back to Sacramento.

By the time I got there, I knew the Sacramento Zoo was just about to open.  I thought with it being a “holiday” the zoo would be packed, but the parking lot was nearly empty when I got to it, so I spent the morning at the zoo instead.

At the zoo, I spent a lot of time watching the Wolf’s Guenon monkeys. The whole family was out: mom, newborn baby, the two older siblings (by the same mom) and dad. The baby is getting more and more brave, and wants to go searching around their enclosure, but mom is very protective of him and won’t let him too far out of reach. At one point, she had all of her children around her, and the baby squirmed away from her and started to climb down a branch. One of its older siblings caught the baby by its tail and slowed it down enough for mom to get up and scoop up the baby.  Hah!

The male Eastern Bongo was out, but the female and her baby weren’t. While I was watching the male, I noticed some tree squirrels running around, and saw one of them climb a sturdy cane of bamboo straight up into the overhanging limbs of a tree… where the squirrel had built a dray (the name for a squirrel’s nest).

Of the big cats, only the lions and jaguar were out. The female lion was perched on top of the “cat tree” in their enclosure, so I was able to get quite a few photos of her. But the male was pacing, so it was hard to get any good shows of him.  I heard him bellowing later, though, and assumed others got pictures of that. The jaguar there is very “secretive”, so you don’t get to see him at all very often.  Today, though, he was standing right by the fence on one side of his enclosure where there’s a small pond.  He was cleaning himself, licking his paws… I’d ever seen him that close before. His was sitting at kind of a weird angle from me, though, so most of the photos I got of him were from over his shoulder. His coat is soooo gorgeous…

I got to see the baby flamingoes again today and, wow, do they look different from the last time I saw them. All of their white baby fluff is gone, and they’re starting to get their fledgling feathers. They’re a mix of dark gray and pink now.

The zoo has built a new bridge and viewing platform the crosses through the middle of the big pond where the adult flamingoes hang out with many other birds (some of them wild, some of them belonging to the zoo). There were several pairs of Wood Ducks in and around the pond, and I got some photos and a video snippet of one pair as they were grooming one another and nibbling at one another’s bills.

In the Kangaroo enclosure, there were quite a few ‘roos and wallabies out hopping around. Usually, I hardly get to see one or two of the critters; today, they were everywhere.  The Red Panda, in the enclosure across the walkway from the ‘roos, was out, but was sleeping in his tree.

Here are some pix & videos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mkhnaturalist/albums/72157686030399802

Around 11 o’clock I stopped and had a hot dog, fries and a beer for lunch. After that, I walked through the reptile house before heading out of the zoo.

By the exit, there was a docent holding one of the zoo’s “animal ambassadors”, Tim (short for Timbuktu), a Mali Spiny-tailed Lizard. It was really cool-looking. His dark skin was really loose-fitting on his body, and he’s able to “inflate” himself in defense if he needs to. His tail looks like a major weapon: covered in rings of hard-scale spines… The docent said Tim was about 13 years old.

I got back to the house right around noon.


Vacation Day 5: The Sacramento Zoo

Red River hoglets. Copyright © 2016 Mary K. Hanson. All rights reserved.
Red River hoglets. Copyright © 2016 Mary K. Hanson. All rights reserved.

Vacation Day Five.  I slept in a tiny bit today and didn’t get up until about 7:15.  I did my morning ablutions stuff and put a pot of coffee on to brew before settling in to a light breakfast.  Around 8:45 or so, I headed over to the Sacramento Zoo for my walk.  The weather was perfect: sunny, breezy, in the 60’s.

I mostly wanted to see the new baby Red River Hogs’ quadruplet hoglets and I wasn’t disappointed.  Just as I got to their pen, their keeper let them out into their run so she could clean their barn area. It was hard getting still shots of the babies because they move so fast, so I took some video of them, too.  At one point, one of the babies must’ve accidentally nipped mama’s tee-tee because she gave it a hard bite on the back to make it stop.  It just stood there for a little bit, like it was stunned and embarrassed.  Poor little thing.  Hah!

Hoglets Videoshttps://youtu.be/oRgp5T86s94 and https://youtu.be/rrmDlpGkOu8

The two American White Pelicans they have there are in the breeding season, so they’re super territorial.  There are picnic tables outside the zoo’s restaurant that are right near the fence where the Pelicans hang out.  There were signs all over the place telling people not to get to close to the fence because the Pelicans might come after them… so, of course, everyone went up to the fence and drove the Pelicans crazy.

I got to see all of the big cats except the Tiger today.  Their female tiger was killed by their male tiger in February when the zoo introduced them to one another.  The male tiger, Mohan, is now being kept of exhibit.  The zoo hasn’t decided what to do with him: if they’ll keep him, send him to another zoo, or have him put down…  The male Snow Leopard was out in his enclosure and sat right next to the fence eating grass and sharpening his claws on the tree stumps.  So beautiful…  The adult lions were out but their cubs weren’t.  Mama and papa just sat, basking in the early morning sun… And I got to see the Jaguar today, which is kind of rare; he hardly ever make an appearance. He recently injured his tail somehow and it had to be amputated, so he has a little bob-tail now…

All of the adult giraffes were out except for the one who just had a baby.  I asked one of the docents when the baby giraffe might go on exhibit, and she said it was really up to the baby’s mom.  She’ll lead him out when she feels well enough to handle it – and when he is confident enough to be safe around the larger adults. Maybe a week or two…

At the flamingo pen there were a lot of duck sharing their space, including several female Mallards with broods od fuzzy ducklings.  So cute!

Around 11 o’clock I stopped for lunch at the café inside the zoo and had a burger, fries and Bud Light.  Then I went to the reptile house and the souvenir shop before heading out.  In the reptile house, I got there just as one of the keepers was feeding the Smooth-fronted Caiman.  They try to train the critters to go where they want them to go when they feed them, and the Caiman was kind of stubborn at first.  The keeper wanted him to go into a white plastic carry-box to get his mice, and he was just not happy about that. He tried snapping the mice away from her without going into the box – she held them out on long tongs to him – but eventually decided that was too much work I guess and he complied.  I got some videos of that exchange, too.

Caiman Videos: https://youtu.be/ab1aCkbJ3Rs and https://youtu.be/McliNbycfnM

At the souvenir shop I got some t-shirts.  I was looking for a new fluffy-animal keychain (because mine is getting pretty ratty-looking) but they had sold out of them, so I’ll have to again some other time.  After that I went home and crashed with the dogs.

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