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Jan. 6: Five from the zoo

2012.01.06
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red panda
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keel-billed toucan
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double-wattled cassowary
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contemplative gorilla
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sunpuddle lions
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I start my new job on Wednesday and once I start, I'm not going to have the freedom I've enjoyed the last few months to go to the zoo on a lark.

Friday, I took advantage of one of my last few days to go. I was thinking that it would be cold, so I'd be spending most of my time in the buildings looking at and sketching the inside-critters (birds, small mammals, reptiles invertebrates, apes). As it turned out it was a *gorgeous* day--in the mid to high 50s with tons and tons of beautiful sunshine and I got to spend lots of time with the outside-critters (and they were actually out, even some of the ones from the tropics).

The red pandas were, as always, awesomely cute (beyond *words*). All four of them are together in the outside enclosure and they were all four active and moving around. The cubs were exploring in the dry grass and mom and dad were eating. This is one of the cubs.

I spent time inside the bird house watching (and sketching) the keel-billed toucan--he was picking up bits of fruit in his beak, then throwing them in the air and catching them to eat them, totally neat to watch. And he's got lime-green skin around his eyes, which is cool. :D

Outside the bird house, I spent a lot of time with one of my absolute favorite individual critters at the zoo: the double-wattled cassowary with the folded crest. The other double-wattled cassowary is striking looking, but this one will hang out by the side of his pen for a long time while you're watching him, and he makes clacking noises with his bill, and he pecks at his own wattles. There's a wonderfully crazed look in his eyes and he's just fun to hang out with. He's my crazy buddy.

I usually visit the gorillas first thing, when the zoo's not crowded, because the humans being rude to the gorillas (staring, pointing, shouting, making ook-ook noises at them) makes me want to slap people. So I visit them in the morning when there aren't many people around to make me dislike my own species. I was very careful with this one to spend most of the time looking down, or away, or with my back to it looking over a shoulder, or behind a bush. Then when he (I think) was in good light, I took a quick picture. Then I thanked him quietly (in sign, I don't *think* they've taught the gorillas at the zoo sign, but if they have he might have gotten the message) and left.

I spent tons of time in the small mammal house and reptile house, but I almost never take pictures there--the glass makes that a very dodgy prospect at best. I do a lot of sketching though. :D

The last critters I visited with were the lions. Apparently when it's really cold, as it was at the beginning of the week, they keep them indoors, so the lions were very happy to be out in the fresh air on such a beautiful day. Most of them were basking in the sunpuddles and looking pretty blissed out.

1 Comment
Keryl I seriously enjoyed this blog. Your shots are beautiful and your writing most entertaining. I've never seen a red panda, love the toucan shot, so colorful! I'm intrigued by the double-wattled cassowary (although that thing on his head is a bit weird looking). The expressions you captured on the gorilla & lions are amazing.

As you can see, I'm working backwards again! Congratulations on the new job.

Oh, one more thing, agreed on the *people-slapping* statement. Lol...
Keryl · 2012-01-10: 22:35
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