Photography . . . Travel . . .

Saturday, June 23, 2012

More Baby Jaguar Pictures - San Diego Zoo

It seems like things often take longer than you might expect, and I've found that being impatient rarely helps. This morning's trip to the Zoo was a good example. I got up to the Jaguar exhibit at about 10:00AM, and all you could see was Nindiri, the new mother, sleeping on her side in a dark doorway. The little cubs were nowhere to be seen. There were several other people there, all waiting around for something they thought should have already happened - which was the cubs coming out to play where we could see them. Tikal and Maderas, who were just born on April 26th, obviously had other ideas. So, we waited.

After almost half an hour, some sign of life from Nindiri. It didn't last long.


After a while she finally decided to go outside and sit in the sun. Still no sign of the little ones.


Finally, an hour and a half after I got there, they poked their little heads out. This is Maderas, the female.


Maderas seems to be a lot more adventurous than her brother Tikal. She was wandering all over the place checking out the new surroundings. They've only been allowed outside since Tuesday, and from talking with some friends, it sounds like this morning may have been the first time they've gotten very far from the doorway.

 
Where ever they went, mom kept a close watch on them.



Brother and sister, Tikal and Maderas.


One very protective mother.


I think this next shot has to be one of my favorites from the day. 


On my way across the Zoo at the start of the day I did stop to check out the little crocs that are in the pool that's partway down the Tiger Trail.


Click here to see a few more images from my morning walk around the San Diego Zoo.
     

Minneapolis - You Betcha!

I spent last week in downtown Minneapolis. Here are a few shots from the hotel room window.










I spent some time walking along the Stone Arch Bridge. 






A few of us had dinner at the Monte Carlo one evening. Great atmosphere, and a pretty good steak too.




Not many pictures from this trip, as I was traveling light and only took one little fixed-length lens since it wasn't a vacation trip. 

     

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday Morning at the San Diego Zoo - Baby Jaguars, Baby Giraffe And More

Heather wanted to see the new baby Jaguars up close, so I told her that the best way was to get there right when the Zoo opens, and head straight for their enclosure. So we got there 15 minutes before opening, and as soon as they let us in we made a beeline to the Jaguars (which are about as far from the front gate as you can get) - and then waited almost 20 minutes before something finally happened. No big deal, that's the nature of dealing with cats. Besides, this was worth waiting for.


After a bit their mother showed up as well, but there was way too much glare on the glass to get much of a picture.  The plan was for the keepers to come in and play with the babies for a while, but in order to do that they have to get the mother out of there. They needed something to distract her.

How about a giant fresh femur bone?


That should keep her distracted for a while.


With mom safely out of the way Kimberly and Jacob could now handle the cubs without worrying about being killed and eaten by a protective mother.

 


After hanging out with the Jaguars for quite a while we decided to go check out the new baby Giraffe. On the way we spotted some Meerkats.



The baby Giraffe is less than 2 weeks old.





We had a 12 Noon appointment with the Tigers (or, more accurately, an appointment with their keeper, who was going to toss them some beef heart chunks). When we first got there Christopher and Conner were way up in the back, lounging in the shadows, taking advantage of their natural camouflage, but definitely watching what was going on.


As soon as the keeper called to them they came trotting down the hill for their mid-day snacks. These 2 are starting to look pretty much full grown, but they will put on another 50 pounds or so. They've now been separated from their mother too. They're all grown up - it's hard to believe they're only a bit over 14 months old. I've watched them grow from when they were about 25 pounds, you can scroll back through this blog to see now they've progressed over the last year or so.


Click here to see a few more images from our morning walk around the San Diego Zoo on Sunday, June 17, 2012.
     

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Short Visit to Aiken, South Carolina - Horse Country

We didn't much feel like another plane change in Atlanta, and conveniently Aiken, SC is about halfway between Savannah and Atlanta, so we decided to take 2 days to travel from Savannah to Atlanta, and just board a non-stop plane home there.


It takes about 3 hours to drive to Aiken from Savannah if, like us, you take the back roads. There's not much along the way really.




At one point we thought we saw a Swamp Ape (the local equivalent of a Sasquatch or Bigfoot), but I think we may have been mistaken. We tried for a picture anyway. Other people have become famous with a lot less, so why not try.




Conveniently, some long-time friends retired to Aiken about 7 years ago, so we even had some people to visit and show us around the town a bit. These days the primary attractions to Aiken are the Savannah River Site, a nuclear research facility, and retirement, primarily by horse-people. There are several training facilities for racehorses, the oldest continually operating polo field in the U.S., and several hunt clubs. The climate is noticeably drier in Aiken than in the Low Country of Savannah and Charleston. It's hard to tell, but it was all uphill driving in from Savannah. I can see it being a very comfortable place to live.




All I know about horses is that there is a rounded end and a pointy end - and that it's generally best to stay towards the pointy end. Our friends, on the other hand, know a lot more about them.






If you have horses you have to have a stable or horse barn . . . . 




. . . . and that means a barn cat.




The town of Aiken has a very nice downtown area, with lots of good restaurants and shops, and some very wide streets with wide landscaped medians. The streets in the center of town were originally designed to be wide enough that a wagon pulled by a team of 4 horses could turn without disturbing a wagon on the other side of the street. Many of the streets are covered over with branches, giving them a tunnel effect.






We ended the last day of our trip with an evening stroll around downtown Aiken, and dinner at Davor's Cafe, which was excellent. Aiken is certainly a town we would return to for another visit.




Peaches were in season in that part of the country, and we couldn't end our trip without one last excellent dessert, in this case a fresh peach cobbler right out of the oven.




Click here to see more images from our visit to Aiken, South Carolina.


This is the last post from our June 2-9, 2012 trip to Charleston, Beaufort, Savannah and Aiken. If you would rather read them in the proper order, scroll down to the archives, find Part 1, and then click on Newer Post as you finish each one.
     

Exploring the Low Country - Part 9 - Fort Jackson and Tybee Island, Georgia

We spent one of our days in the Savannah area exploring around Old Fort Jackson and then out to Tybee Island. 


Old Fort Jackson (not to be confused with the U.S. Army's current Fort Jackson) is located just outside of Savannah. Built in 1808, it's the oldest standing brick fortification in Georgia, and one of only eight brick fortifications built prior to the War of 1812 still standing. These old forts are always fun to wander through. We toured one in Maine a few years back, and also Fort Point in San Francisco.










The historical society that maintains the fort today has a number of displays and living history demonstrations, including the occasional cannon firing.






From Fort Jackson we headed out to the Atlantic coast, our first stop was the Tybee Island lighthouse. 




The Tybee Island lighthouse was originally built in 1736, and has been rebuilt 4 times. It is said to be the only lighthouse with all of its original support buildings still intact. In 1933 the U.S. Coastguard installed a 1,000-watt electric light, and it is still used today. The climb to the top is 178 steps. Unlike the lighthouse we climbed at Hunting Island, this circular iron staircase is supported by a center column, which means you can't look straight down the center of the tower like you can at Hunting Island.





The view from the top is nice. There was a warning sign about wasps at the top, but I think the wind was brisk enough to keep them in their hive.




The view straight down the side is equally impressive, if not a bit disorienting.




Here's the First Order Fresnel Lens, still in use today.




We stopped for lunch at A.J.s on Tybee Island, walked out onto the pier for a bit, and drove to the eastern terminus of U.S. 80 to finish out our day trip from Savannah.


That brings us to the end of our visit to the Low Country. On Friday morning we drove to Aiken, South Carolina, a small town not too far from Augusta, GA. We spent one night in Aiken visiting some long-time friends, then drove to Atlanta to get our plane home.


Click here to see more pictures from Old Fort Jackson, just outside of Savannah, Georgia.
     
Click here to see more pictures from Tybee Island, Georgia.
     

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San Diego, California, United States
About me . . . When I'm not working I like to be out exploring and photographing. I do this blog just for fun, and to be able to share these images with friends. I hope you enjoy viewing these images as much as I enjoyed creating them.

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All of the content and images on this site (c) Frank B. Baiamonte. If you would like to use any of these images please contact me via email at frank@frankbaiamonte.com to discuss terms of usage. Note that images from the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park are not available for commercial usage.

Header image: Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, Cibola, Arizona. End image: Downtown San Diego, California skyline from Coronado Island. Profile picture: Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho, by Heather Baiamonte.