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.

2018 11 03 34 Cleveland Zoo.jpg



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.

2018 11 03 2 Cleveland Zoo.jpg



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.

2018 11 03 6 Cleveland Zoo.jpg



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.

2018 11 03 8 Cleveland Zoo.jpg



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

2018 11 03 14 Cleveland Zoo.jpg



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

2018 11 03 29 Cleveland Zoo.jpg



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

2018 11 03 41 Cleveland Zoo.jpg



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.

2018 11 03 68 Cleveland Zoo.jpg



One of the many Lemurs.

2018 11 03 70 Cleveland Zoo.jpg



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.

2018 11 03 72 Cleveland Zoo.jpg



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

2018 11 03 74 Cleveland Zoo.jpg



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

2018 11 03 77 Cleveland Zoo.jpg



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!

2018 11 03 90 Cleveland Zoo.jpg



And more…

2018 11 03 95 Cleveland Zoo.jpg



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

2018 11 03 102 Cleveland Zoo.jpg



And Zebras

2018 11 03 103 Cleveland Zoo.jpg



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.

2018 11 03 114 Cleveland Zoo.jpg




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

2018 08 05 1 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg



Magellan Goose

2018 08 05 4 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg



Egyptian Goose

2018 08 05 5 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg



Ring Tailed Lemur

2018 08 05 9 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg



American Alligators

2018 08 05 17 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg



More Gators

2018 08 05 16 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg



Scottish Highlander Cattle

2018 08 05 19 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg



Cockatiel (I think)

2018 08 05 20 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg




2018 08 05 23 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg




2018 08 05 27 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg





2018 08 05 36 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg



Prairie Dog

2018 08 05 38 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg


African Crowned Crane

2018 08 05 46 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg



Watusi Cattle

2018 08 05 49 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg



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

2018 08 05 52 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg



Cotton Top Tamarin

2018 08 05 54 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg


Aldabra Tortoise

2018 08 05 55 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg



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

2018 08 05 61 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg




2018 08 05 62 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg



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

2018 08 05 67 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg



Chilean Flamingo

2018 08 05 84 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg



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

2018 08 05 86 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg



Fallow deer

2018 08 05 91 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg



Eurasian Eagle Owl

2018 08 05 95 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg



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.

2018 08 05 99 New Castle PA Living Treasures Animal Park.jpg




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.

2018 07 29 154 Columbus Zoo.jpg



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

2018 07 29 156 Columbus Zoo.jpg



Another taken through dirty windows.

2018 07 29 165 Columbus Zoo.jpg



The 400mm is enough to pull in some shots.

2018 07 29 166 Columbus Zoo.jpg



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

2018 07 29 169 Columbus Zoo.jpg



Wildebeests from about 100 yards.

2018 07 29 171 Columbus Zoo.jpg



The zoo worker was enjoying feeding the giraffe.

2018 07 29 174 Columbus Zoo.jpg



Vervet monkeys through more dirty glass.

2018 07 29 177 Columbus Zoo.jpg



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

2018 07 29 179 Columbus Zoo.jpg



Camels – finally a non obstructed shot.

2018 07 29 183 Columbus Zoo.jpg



In the bird section.

2018 07 29 186 Columbus Zoo.jpg



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

2018 07 29 190 Columbus Zoo.jpg



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.

2018 07 29 185 Columbus Zoo.jpg




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.

2018 07 29 13 Columbus Ohio State Fair.jpg



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

2018 07 29 25 Columbus Ohio State Fair



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

2018 07 29 27 Columbus Ohio State Fair



The sheep show contestants were very dressed up.

2018 07 29 28 Columbus Ohio State Fair



While the queen had seen enough.

2018 07 29 30 Columbus Ohio State Fair



A prize winner.

2018 07 29 32 Columbus Ohio State Fair



I like his horns.

2018 07 29 33 Columbus Ohio State Fair



The white sheep of the family.

2018 07 29 34 Columbus Ohio State Fair



There are a number of stages for performers.

2018 07 29 46 Columbus Ohio State Fair



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.

2018 07 29 51 Columbus Ohio State Fair



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

2018 07 29 57 Columbus Ohio State Fair



A newborn calf.

2018 07 29 59 Columbus Ohio State Fair



Another newborn calf with a great drool going.

2018 07 29 60 Columbus Ohio State Fair.jpg



The poultry barn offered a number of great faces.

2018 07 29 74 Columbus Ohio State Fair.jpg



Love ‘birds’.

2018 07 29 75 Columbus Ohio State Fair.jpg



The Marvelous Mutts Dog Show.

2018 07 29 79 Columbus Ohio State Fair.JPG




The dogs are aces at Frisbee catching.

2018 07 29 86 Columbus Ohio State Fair.jpg



Back in the poultry house.

2018 07 29 96 Columbus Ohio State Fair.jpg



A giant animatronics Smokey the Bear.

2018 07 29 101 Columbus Ohio State Fair.jpg



The Ohio Nut Growers Association had a collection of nutcrackers.

2018 07 29 109 Columbus Ohio State Fair.jpg



The clown band always draws bemused looks.

2018 07 29 114 Columbus Ohio State Fair.jpg



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.

2018 07 29 118 Columbus Ohio State Fair.jpg



The magic act continues.

2018 07 29 125 Columbus Ohio State Fair.jpg




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

2018 07 29 135 Columbus Ohio State Fair.jpg



More faces in the crowd.

2018 07 29 147 Columbus Ohio State Fair.jpg



Finally it was time to head home.

2018 07 29 120 Columbus Ohio State Fair.jpg



See you next year.

2018 07 29 128 Columbus Ohio State Fair.jpg




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.

2017 09 17 12 Alaskan Cruise.jpg




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

2017 09 17 14 Alaskan Cruise.jpg




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

2017 09 17 16 Alaskan Cruise.jpg




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.

2017 09 17 31 Alaskan Cruise.jpg




2017 09 17 32 Alaskan Cruise.jpg




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.

2017 09 17 56 Alaskan Cruise.jpg




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.

2017 09 17 60 Alaskan Cruise.jpg




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.

2017 09 17 66 Alaskan Cruise.jpg




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

2017 09 17 70 Alaskan Cruise.jpg




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.

2017 09 17 74 Alaskan Cruise.jpg




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.

2017 09 17 93 Alaskan Cruise.jpg




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

2017 09 18 30 Alaskan Cruise.jpg




Later we came across more whales feeding.

2017 09 18 36 Alaskan Cruise.jpg



2017 09 18 52 Alaskan Cruise.jpg



2017 09 18 53 Alaskan Cruise.jpg



2017 09 18 64 Alaskan Cruise.jpg



2017 09 18 73 Alaskan Cruise.jpg



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

2017 09 18 96 Alaskan Cruise.jpg




2017 09 18 100 Alaskan Cruise.jpg




2017 09 18 101 Alaskan Cruise.jpg



The day ended with a great sunset.

2017 09 18 113 Alaskan Cruise.jpg

More to come…..