Photography . . . Travel . . .

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Big Cats and Little Cats - Malayan Tigers and Fishing Cats at the San Diego Zoo

When we first arrived at the Malayan tiger habitat this morning little Conner was hanging out on a rock ledge, probably trying to figure out which of the people he had the best chance of catching.

After a while little Christopher came down the hill to see what was going on.

It didn't take him long to get bored, and he went up to the rock ledge to enjoy the view.

I'm told these guys are now up to about 60 pounds, which is more than twice what they were when I first saw them not all that long ago. As I mentioned in the previous post, we stopped here for about 1/2 an hour, wandered around a little and then came back so that we could be there when the keeper tossed some fresh meat to them. Conner seems to be quite the impatient one, here he is screaming at Rochelle to toss him a chunk of beef heart. He was getting really agitated.

Mom was right there of course, she doesn't miss any opportunities for treats. She'll push those little guys right out of her way too.

Time for a break - Conner's worn himself out. The misters at the top of the enclosure must have been on, his fur is all wet.

Mother and son. 

Mek might be moving, but she's not taking her eyes off the keeper with the tray of meat.

And now for something a bit smaller - this is Miri, the female fishing cat. Miri lives just up the hill from the tigers. She weighs about 20 pounds, which makes her about 1/10 the size of Mek. She's still just as aggressive though.

Miri is a really fun cat to watch. She seems to like sitting up high in her enclosure watching the people wander by. She reminds me of Aldo, who likes to sit in an upstairs window overlooking the street. When I'm standing at the fishing cat enclosure I'll sometimes hear people say that they think she's just a big house cat and keep going, but she really is special - webbed feet and all. If you want to see her don't wait too long, she's scheduled to move to another zoo in mid-October.

Click here to see more images of Mek, Christopher, Conner and Miri, and even a couple of pretty much unrecognizably blurry shots of Bullet, the male fishing cat, all from Saturday, September 24, 2011 at the San Diego Zoo.

Saturday Morning Walk - San Diego Zoo

I arrived at the Zoo right as they opened this morning. It was cool and completely overcast, very unusual for September in San Diego but great for photography. There was a harpy eagle on the stage right by the entrance, so I took advantage of the opportunity to get a shot of one of these without a fence in the way.

While I was waiting for a friend to arrive I wandered over to see what the flamingos were up to. They were all clustered over on one end of the habitat, and pretty excited about the food the keeper was putting out for them.

We spent some time at the tigers, then went down to the hippos, and got there just in time to catch little Funani leaving.

Just kidding. Actually, we did get to watch Funani and his mother swim around for a while. You can see a few more hippo pictures by following the link at the end of this post. We also spent a lot of time at the tigers, I'll put them and the fishing cat in a separate post.

This Malayan tapir has really blue eyes. She was a bit tough to get a good shot of since she was sitting right behind a piece of glass. You can find her on the Tiger Trail, partway between the fishing cats and the tiger, and almost right next door to the albino Burmese python.

When I first got to the polar bears it was so crowded I couldn't really even see the bear that was in the water right up against the glass. Then as I was walking away I found a spot that most people hadn't noticed, and got this great angle to shoot from. There is still a little glare from the glass I had to shoot though, but it wasn't too bad.

On my way out I stopped to get a shot of this Johnson's Crocodile.

Click here to see more pictures from the San Diego Zoo on Saturday, September 24, 2011.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Well, Now We Know What's Eating Our Herb Garden

Heather has a small herb garden going in a few pots in the backyard. Every now and then we would notice that the leaves were getting munched, but we never saw what was doing it . . . until this afternoon. Apparently he likes parsley.


San Diego Zoo Safari (Wild Animal) Park

You can't miss these guys when you walk in the gate of the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park (formerly known as the Wild Animal Park) in Escondido, California. Well, actually, if you didn't look up high overhead you might not see them, but you certainly can't help hearing them.

This Hyacinth Macaw is named Sampson. I was speaking with one of his keepers for a bit, apparently he really likes attention from people.

I didn't get these guys' names. I'm not sure I would have been able to hear it over the noise they were making.

There were only a few meerkats out today. 

This guy was staring intently, looked he was about to snag something with the pointy beak.

I got there fairly late in the afternoon, and it's starting to get warm again after a few cool days. The male lion was on top of the Range Rover, working on his tan. Out cold, from the looks of it. I was there for quite a while, he never moved.

The two females were napping in the shade of a nearby tree. Every now and then they would stick a head up . . . 

. . . and then it was back to sleep. At one point one of them rolled over onto her back. She looked just like Aldo when he wants his chest rubbed.  

These are some pretty big cats. I wouldn't be surprised if they're close to 200 pounds each.

These two antelopes are probably what that big male lion was dreaming of. Either that or the 2 lionesses under the tree.

Even though it was warm it was still a nice afternoon for a walk around the Safari Park.

Click here to see more from this afternoon at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tigers and Otters (and a Slender-Snouted Crocodile) at the San Diego Zoo

I stopped in to the San Diego Zoo for a few hours this morning, and spent most of my time watching the tigers. Mek and her two cubs, Christopher and Conner, were out when I first got there. As is often the case, I spent more time standing around waiting for them to get up and wander into view than I did actually seeing them.

A little after 11:00AM a keeper showed up and tossed some chunks of fresh meat to them. That definitely got their attention. Here's Mom Mek, and sons Christopher (far left) and Conner (center).

That's not a yawn, he's growling (sort of) at the keeper for more food. It was a strange high-pitched sound though, not at all what you might expect.

One of the chunks of meat wound up in the pond at the bottom of the enclosure.

I don't think he was quite ready to get wet, this was far as he got. Malayan tigers seem to like water, so I'm sure he'll get used to it soon. I don't think he ever found the meat.

 These things sure looked sharp.

A couple of the river otters were chasing around and wrestling with each other. Maybe it's just the light, but they've got really strange looking eyes.

The sun was getting pretty bright, so I decided to call it a day. On my way out I stopped by the African Slender-Snouted Crocodile. He's behind glass - that's probably a good thing, but it does make it tough to get a decent picture, with all the weird colored reflections.

Click here to see more images from the San Diego Zoo on Saturday, September 17, 2011.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Cat Naps In The Sun

The morning sun in our front room can be really bright, even though there is only one window on the east side of the house that opens into that room (it's a little arched window up high above the front door). The cats have gotten pretty good at knowing just where the sun will be, and seem to take advantage of it whenever they can. Here's Aldo, napping in the sun.


An Evening in Balboa Park - SD-dSLR September Monthly Group Shoot

For our September Group Shoot, on Saturday September 10, we met in Balboa Park for a picnic dinner, then wandered off around the Park to shoot some evening photos. These Group Shoots are always a lot of fun. They seem to wind up being as much of social gathering as a photography event. I think most of us spend more time visiting than actually shooting pictures.

Here are a few of my favorites from the night, taken in the Alcazar Garden, a small Moorish-style garden tucked behind one of the museums. There is very little light in the Alcazar after dark, but with some creative flashlight use (painting with light) and an almost full moon popping in and out of the clouds, we had a lot of fun.

It actually was somewhat darker than it appears in this next shot.

Before we went into the Alcazar we spent some time at the Reflecting Pool.

Click here to see more images from Saturday, September 20 in Balboa Park with the San Diego dSLR Photo Group.
Click here to go to the San Diego dSLR club website to see what everyone else saw that evening.

About Me

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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 to discuss terms of usage. Note that images from the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park are not available for commercial usage. You can also see more on my Instagram page @frankbaiamonte.

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.