Posts tagged “zoo


Some days I just hang out, pondering what kind of mischief I can next get myself into.  It is kind of a primate thing.


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Did you think I was done with my zoo photos?  Not so quick there Sparky, I’ve still got a few animals to share with you.

Meet the Kilpspringer, the ballerinas of the antelope world.


These tiny antelope forever walk on tiptoe, or more appropriately the leap on tip toe.  Their name means “Rock jumper” for reasons I figure you can figure out pretty easily.

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Adventures In Bird Portraiture

Two shots of birds from last weekend’s trip to the Brookfield Zoo. First, the instantly recognizable Greater Delta Mardi Gras Bird. (Bourbonaisse Plumarius)



And a portrait of the handsome Tufted Blue Gargler (Indigo Emesis)



Sometimes you have stand in the danger zone to get the photo you want.

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Hello down there!

Giraffes? Giraffes!

From a trip to Brookfield Zoo. A giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis, the only extant species in the genus Giraffa which is in the Giraffidae family.



Of Sports And Photography

As a younger man, I played a lot of basketball. Sometimes I would go by myself down to the gym, get on a pick up team, and play. Other times I would have three or four friends with me, a ready made team, and we’d take on whoever we could find. Certain courts or gyms in the area were known to have great competition; we’d seek those out when we could. It was a scene similar to Rucker Park, though on a much lower level, of course.
Whatever the level of play was, the competition was always fierce. The informal rules were that the winning team would stay on the court and play the next challengers; if you were lucky enough to be on a solid team that day, you’d play for a couple hours straight. If, however, you stepped on the court and recognized immediately that you were outclassed, it could be a quick and humbling game.
And so it was when after the Idiot Photographer and I decided on a Saturday trip to the zoo, I knew I was going to be in for a photographic drubbing. My friend and co-blogger knows animals like few others. Animal behavior is mysterious to most of us, but to her, it is clear as day. It really is kind of awesome. And her understanding of animals informs her photography. She seems to know how to wait for a good picture, whereas I wish someone would taxidermy the damned critters so they’d stop moving and I could get my shot.
IP has already posted a couple shots from our trip to Brookfield Zoo, now it’s my turn. It’ll feel a bit like chucking up bricks on the court, but you still have to play the game.




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No cat does regal quite like the snow leopard.

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The Mysterious Okapi

Hi everyone, miss me?  Sorry to have been gone so long, but I’m back, and I finally managed to drag Tabula Rasa to the zoo for a day of animal photography!  I know it isn’t the dust, mold and decay you all usually come here for but I needed something to lift my spirits, and a visit to a well kept zoo fit the bill perfectly. Normally I go to our local free zoo, but this time I decided that we should check out the pay zoo and see what different animals we might find there, and today I saw my first okapi.

Okapi are weird animals, they are known as the “forest giraffe”, and are the only other member of the giraffe family.  No where near as tall and goofy looking as your typical reticulated giraffe, they are built more horse-like and have striped legs.  They are dedicated browsers (meaning they eat leaves and bark) and are on the endangered species list, which squashes my dreams of having one as a pet.  Well, that and the fact that I live in a studio apartment.

Either way, meet the mysterious okapi.

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Where Have the Animals Gone?

We saw this building from the road and knew we had to stop and check it out.

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At first we didn’t know what we were wandering in to, then we realized that we were not alone.

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We decided to not go up the stairs at first and instead  wandered around under the walkway for a bit.  It finally dawned on us that we were in an abandoned zoo.

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I admit,  it was a little eerie walking through here and seeing the overgrown, empty enclosures from the ground level.

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Above us we could hear some people calling out “Marco!”… “Polo!”, and decided to take the chance of meeting the them.  So we headed upstairs.

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The wooden walk ways are in decent shape, but totally overgrown with grape vines and the occasional fallen tree.

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We ended meeting a group of young men who are living the life on the road.  They were nice enough and we had a pleasant chat but sunset was fast approaching.

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All the time I wondered, where have all the animals gone?

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Inca Terns- a study

One of my favorite birds in the Lincoln Park Zoo’s aviary are the Inca Terns.  Every time I am there I try to capture what it is that delights me so much about them, today I offer you a brief study of these charming and silly birds.

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Inca Tern

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Flat Lion

Lion flattened


I’m getting ready for the final workday of my week and all I want to do it sleep.  Even if all I had to sleep on was a flat, hard rock and a lion.

The Truth About Flamingos

Flamingos, are ridiculously colored, fluffy featherballs with stick legs and an angry looking curved beak, they remind me of  those ladies who wish they were high society and make every attempt to give the appearance of it, but they aren’t.  I suspect this is why hideous plastic versions of this creature adorn the yards of people who think tacky plastic lawn ornaments are classy and will make the place look spiffy.

Unlike the common depiction of flamingos, they are loud, quarrelsome and ungainly critters.  Which makes watching one bathe extra funny.

Flamingo bath time

Then you get that magical moment when all dignity is utterly abandoned and one falls over on its side.

flamingo down

Hey JimBob, how about a little help here?

I’ll be gracious here and mention that most creatures tend to squabble on a regular basis, especially when they are in large social groups that have nothing to do with how much the individuals actually like one another.  I will point you to the corporate office dwelling sub-species of Homo sapiens as proof of that.  With that said, flamingos are masters of being argumentative.  Here we have a three way argument between birds that were all initially upset at other birds that were not even involved in this rather loud argument.  Let me set it up for you:

3 way squabble

Nesting flamingo was actually mad at one of the birds behind her for stepping too close to the nest.  That bird retreated immediately but nesting was feeling cranky so she bit the foot of the next closest bird (on the left) who was squabbling with another bird outside of the shot.  He turned around and yelled at the nearest standing bird (on the right) all while nesting bird yelled at both of them.

Conclusion:  Flamingos are jerks.

Green Naped Pheasant Pigeon

Green Naped PheasantBecause if you’re not sure what it is, name it for two different types of bird!  This fella decided it wasn’t hot enough and he needed to warm himself in a patch of sun.

Punk Rocker

Crested Wood Partridge

Meet the Crested Wood Partridge, also known as a Roul-roul.  He is the punk rocker of the partridge family, and you should see him dance!




The hammerkop is an African wading bird, one of its most notable traits after its hammer like head (hence the name) is that it is an obsessive-compulsive nest builder.  A pair of hammerkops will often build 3 to 5 nests a year, even if they are not breeding.

You might think that isn’t a big deal, it isn’t like bird nests are that complicated.  If that is what you’re thinking then you’ve never seen a hammerkop’s nest.  They are massive, sometimes approaching 5 feet across, have dense walls and a domed roof that they decorate with bright objects and sometimes other birds (such as weaver birds) will attach their nests to the exteriors.  The nest itself is so strong it can support the weight of grown human, all this for a pair of birds that combined weigh about 2 pounds.

The Morning Blah

Tiger sleepy face-paw

Sleepy tiger doesn’t want to wake up.  I feel his pain.

Black and White- Naturally

many stripesGrevy’s Zebra

(I just couldn’t resist.)

Nicobar Pigeon

Why can’t all pigeons be this pretty?

Nicobar Pigeon

 Nicobar Pigeon nesting

Black-naped Stilt

Black Naped Stilt lateral view

Black Naped Stilt





meerkats chillingI’ve got the day off work, so I’m taking it easy just like these meerkats.

Spotted Hyena

spotted hyena

So Tabula Rasa went to Iceland; I went to the zoo!  This Spotted Hyena was curious as to what I was up to, standing on the railing like I was.