Cleveland – November 2018 – A Traditional Zoo

The Cleveland Metroparks is one of the best parks systems in the United States, circling Cleveland in what is known as the Emerald Necklance

One of their main features closer into the city is the Metroparks Zoo, only 5 miles from downtown Cleveland.

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While much smaller than the more famous Columbus Zoo, in my opinion it is nicer in that there is far less commercialization.

The Metroparks Zoo does have a number of themed exhibit areas including the Rain Forest.  This building, as the name indicates, brings together the plants and wildlife of the jungles.

This little guy is a Golden Lion Tamarin, a highly endangered animal from Brazil.

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The bird below is a Scarlet Ibis. The zoo found it was losing it’s natural color, until they added shrimp to it’s diet.

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A Capybara. While he was in his controlled habitat here, we once had the opportunity to meet one up close in British Columbia. The Capybara is known as the world’s largest rodent, but they seem pretty cool to me.

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Bornean Orangutan. So much for that vegetarian diet keeping weight down – this guy can weigh over 300 pounds.

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The Emerald Tree Boa. 8 feet long with fang like teeth!

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We left the Rain Forest and headed up through the main section of the zoo, stopping to check out the elephants.

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Cleveland has some ravines, and the zoo is built in, and up above one. After the hike up the hill we made our way to the Primates, Cat & Aquatics indoor habitat (with some outdoor space as well).

The Mandrill below is a large monkey, weighing up to 80 pounds.

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One of the many Lemurs.

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This cat like animal is known as a Fossa, from Madagascar. Those in the animal business apparently debate if it is more like a mongoose or a cat.

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More Lemurs – the is time Ring Tailed. This is the most common Lemur.

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Another Lemur – I tried to have a staring contest, which I obviously lost.

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But it was time to move over to the Aquatic side of the house. Our first tank we came to gave us this great view!

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And more…

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We headed back down the hill to the African Savanna section for lions…

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And Zebras

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Our final section was the Wilderness Trek. As I always note on trips to the zoo, I am always torn by being in the presence of such great animals, and the fact that they are stuck in cages. But as with the Tamarin without some conservation some breeds would be totally lost.

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New Castle, PA – August 2018 – Living Treasures Wild Animal Park

Early on a Sunday morning we paid a visit to the Living Treasures Wild Animal Park. Located just east of New Castle, Pennsylvania this park has over 70 different animals.

Their claim to fame is you get to get up close to all of the animals, with opportunities to feed many of them carrots or peanuts you buy in the souvenir shop.

As with a zoo, I am always torn to visit places like this – it is great to see the animals but you feel bad for them in their cages. But alas – we went and had a nice time taking photos and feeding them carrots. Feel free to correct any misidentified animals (they do have a nice website with photos and profiles of all of their animals)

Green Winged Macaw

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Magellan Goose

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Egyptian Goose

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Ring Tailed Lemur

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American Alligators

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More Gators

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Scottish Highlander Cattle

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Cockatiel (I think)

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Lovebird

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Kangaroos

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Alpaca

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Prairie Dog

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African Crowned Crane

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Watusi Cattle

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A butterfly (not really part of the zoo – but it was so still on the dung pile it made a great photo)

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Cotton Top Tamarin

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Aldabra Tortoise

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The next two were in the petting zoo – I even took photos of the signs and deleted them. Feel free to update.

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Egyptian Fruit Bats. I took the photo and flipped it over to better see them.

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Chilean Flamingo

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The monkeys knew enough that when you put carrots in their bucket they pulled the chain to get them.

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Fallow deer

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Eurasian Eagle Owl

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You have to scratch where it itches. We had a good time at the park, but glad we were there just when they opened as by the time we left there were a number of people there and the animals I think had had enough carrots for the morning.

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Columbus – July 2018 – Testing the New Lens at the Zoo

Lens envy hit me enough I picked up a new Canon EF 100-400 F/4.5-5.6 lens. With an hour or so we buzzed through the zoo so I could play with my new toy.

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Taken through a dirty window. This new lens is much faster than what I had.

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Another taken through dirty windows.

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The 400mm is enough to pull in some shots.

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The clarity is so much better than my Tamron 150-600mm, although the 600mm does get some really distant shots this won’t.

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Wildebeests from about 100 yards.

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The zoo worker was enjoying feeding the giraffe.

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Vervet monkeys through more dirty glass.

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More shots through the same dirty glass (a recurring theme).

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Camels – finally a non obstructed shot.

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In the bird section.

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An eagle taken through the netting (shown as well).

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With that the last train out of the zoo was leaving. This new lens is great, I am looking forward to sharing better shots on this blog.

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Columbus – July 2018 – Faces of the Fair

Another trip to the Ohio State Fair – my theme for this year is the Faces of the Fair.

Human – Animal – otherwise.

 

First up – the Bee Growers tent representative.

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A completely sheered sheep (except the nose and ears, not sure why that was left that way)

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Hanging out for a week or two at the fair must be boring for this little guy.

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The sheep show contestants were very dressed up.

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While the queen had seen enough.

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A prize winner.

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I like his horns.

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The white sheep of the family.

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There are a number of stages for performers.

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The butter sculptures are always a big hit. The theme this year is the movie the Christmas Story. While it was set in Indiana, it was partially filmed at a house in Cleveland which to this day maintains a steady tourist trade.

They added to the scene with a calf sticking it’s tongue to the cold pole as well.

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Ralphie and his rabbit outfit, along with the Leg Lamp.

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A newborn calf.

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Another newborn calf with a great drool going.

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The poultry barn offered a number of great faces.

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Love ‘birds’.

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The Marvelous Mutts Dog Show.

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The dogs are aces at Frisbee catching.

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Back in the poultry house.

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A giant animatronics Smokey the Bear.

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The Ohio Nut Growers Association had a collection of nutcrackers.

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The clown band always draws bemused looks.

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A guy did a ‘comedy routing/magic act’ show – this young man thought he was opening a box with a live snake, only to have the old ‘rubber snake coming out of the box’ trick pulled on him.

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The magic act continues.

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In the Arts and Crafts section – an award winning cake.

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More faces in the crowd.

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Finally it was time to head home.

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See you next year.

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Southeast Alaska Panhandle – September 2017 – “Uncruise” Part 1

(please note there are 20+ photos on the next few postings, they might take a bit of time to load)

One place we had always wanted to see was Alaska, but much of it is very difficult to get to. We decided the best way to see it was on a cruise.

I had been on a large ship cruise once for 3 days and kissed the ground when I got off, the tacky shows and lines for everything got old fast. For this trip we chose to go on a small ship cruise from a company aptly named ‘Uncruise’. And no this is not an advertisement for them, but an honest assessment on how great this turned out to be.

We set sail on a rainy Saturday evening from Juneau. The next day we arrived at a fjord called Endicott Arm. The walls soar 1000′ above the water for dramatic effect.

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At the end of the fjord is Dawes Glacier, a tidewater glacier.

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The main ship was close enough to get some dramatics up on the glacier with a zoom lens.

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The difference between the large ships that most people cruise on and the small ships like Uncruise is you get off the boat and do things other than shop at trinket stores in ports. For this portion groups of 8-10 people took ‘skiffs’ the last 6 miles up the fjord to within 1/4 mile of the 200′ high face of the glacier.

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As we neared the glacier a guide plucked what she thought was going to be a small piece of ice out of the water. It turned out to be much larger. This piece of ice was brought back on board the ship for a contest when it would finish melting. It took 3 days.

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We spent about an hour at the base of the glacier in the skiffs. Every once in a while you would hear loud cracking sounds and nothing happened. For us though, we were fortunate enough to see a major ‘calving’ event, when a large chunk of the glacier fell off into the sea.

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As noted this face is 200′ high, so the splash it made is likely + 75′. Amazingly it does not create a tidal wave, just some small ones like someone went by with a small boat and created a wake.

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We returned through the icebergs on our way back to the ship.

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The Wilderness Adventurer is about 190′ long with 30 passenger cabins. Our trip had 55 passengers and a crew of 20 (or so – I didn’t do an exact count !). As shown below the ship has a number of 2 person kayaks, some paddle boards and the skiffs (which are missing on this photo since they are out at the glacier.

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After everyone had returned to the ship we continued on our way we came upon a number of whales who were diving for food. They came upon a couple of sea lions, one of which took refuge on the back of the ship, which got the crew all excited as they said they had only heard of this only ever happening once before.

Since we were stationary at the time he sat there for a while. Once the crew was confident these particular whales had moved on they shoo-ed him/her off the back.

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Even things as simple as the wake on the very calm waters made for great photo ops.

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Later we came across more whales feeding.

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Finally (for this portion of the trip) we passed a small island filled with more sea lions.

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The day ended with a great sunset.

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More to come…..