Author Archives: Nicci

About Nicci

Romance writer published with The Wild Rose Press.

San Diego Zoo hippopotamus & okapi

I found some more photos from the zoo.

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I really wanted to get the underwater part of the hippo too; after all, that’s where most of his or her body was located. But alas, that was beyond what I could do. I love that eye though…

I’ve been a little busy, taming the yard and reaping the harvests. Right now I’m eating around a half dozen plums a day and corn on the cob every other day. Cherry tomatoes are in, along with cucumbers, so salads are on the menu. My husband is really the green thumb. Really really. But I’m good at getting rid of weeds. That’s a new specialty.

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Rare Okapi at the San Diego Zoo

These okapi are really neat looking. I didn’t get a good photo, but this next one shows the stripes and the interesting shape of the body, if you haven’t seen one.

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We leave soon for a trip. We don’t usually travel in the summer as we like to be around for the fruits and veggies, but we want to see a part of Australia that requires dry season travel, which is in the southern hemisphere’s summer. I’m trying to figure out what camera equipment to take. The travel camera is great for most everything, but I’d like to get an off-camera fill flash which would only work for the big camera, and I’ve been wanting a softbox. I haven’t practiced with these things yet, but there’s still a bit of time to learn…what to do…

I’ve been hoping to finish the first draft of the novel I’ve been working on before I go, but I think it will need to overlap with the trip a bit. The writing comes as fast as the writing comes.

I hope you are having a nice weekend. Stay safe on the fourth of July.

 

Tomales Bay California

We’re hunkered down in our heat wave, trying to stay cool. We have the Pacific Gas and Electric deal where we get a discount all year if we agree to pay four times as much on designated days during peak hours (when it’s HOT). They want to motivate people not to use a lot of power during heat waves.

Do you remember California’s rolling blackouts in the early noughts (2000, 2001)? Well, we don’t have those anymore because they ramped up renewable energy sources big time now. Since it’s not really a social issue anymore, we have been regretting being on the energy savings plan. We’d like to end that plan right about now.

We’ve already been to a matinee and out to lunch a few of the hot days this week. We never go to the movies, but they are a great way to escape the heat. We really wanted to see Wonder Woman, so we went to the matinee. We loved it. Well I did, and my husband liked it. I even cried a little.

Here are nice cool shots from the Tomales Point Tule Elk Preserve:

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Today we lowered the temperature as much as possible before the shut-off time (2:00) and are sitting here with all the blinds closed hoping it doesn’t get too hot in here. And writing. Or at least, I am writing. I’m participating in a Book in a Week challenge with the Kiss of Death (romantic suspense) chapter of Romance Writers of America. I consider it a metaphor. I can’t really write a book in a week, LOL. But the challenge has me moving along and I’m chalking up more words than I had been for the past few weeks. I’m so excited about this book, and I want to get the first draft done so I can get it out to my critique partners to read while we are on our big trip. No, I haven’t told you about my next trip yet, but there will be photos!

Where are the tule elk in the preserve, you ask?  Hiding. This is with an 80x zoom.

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But this little guy didn’t hide from me.

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Have a great weekend, and stay cool! Or warm for you southern hemisphere folks.

California poppies

We took an overnight trip to Tomales Bay and I did manage to get some nice shots. Here are California poppies (our state flower).

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Things are getting hot here after a very cool couple of weeks. I’m kind of looking forward to it, but then again, ask me next week after we get through a triple digit weekend!

Have a good rest of the week.

San Diego Zoo giant panda

I was going to make this the grand finale, and it might be, but I do have a few other zoo photos that might be good enough to share.

I am not sure of the name of this bear. I think it’s the daddy bear, Gao Gao.

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These pandas are seriously cute. But they also have big teeth, and keep in mind that’s bamboo he’s munching like it’s potato chips.

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Sweet but big teeth!

When we were in China, we did venture across Beijing using their public transit (which was awesome) to see their giant pandas. I felt that the enclosure was cramped, at least the part where they were at that moment, and it seemed like they wanted to get out. That upset me and I don’t think I showed pictures of them on my blog because of that. Other parts of the zoo were pretty nice. The pollution, sadly, affects everybody, animals and people alike.

The San Diego Zoo doesn’t depress me. The animals seem okay, for being captive. (Although honestly, the big male orangutan I showed in an earlier post looked sad.) I think I’m going to get an annual membership. I want to go back very often and try for more big cat photos without the cage visible, and other things.

This is Xiao Liwu (which means Little Gift). He was born on July 29, 2012.

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This is Bai Yun, which means White Cloud. She is mama bear.

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Bai Yun

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Bai Yun

The zoo keeper told me they’ve bred Gao Gao and Bai Yun and given five of their cubs to China, per loan agreements with China. It’s really great we have this cooperation to help the beloved pandas.

Another interesting thing is Gao Gao was released into the wild in China, but it didn’t work out, (he raided crops), and so now he’s safe and sound in San Diego Zoo. He gets along well with his handlers and is active and interested in everything. I guess some pandas get released, to try to restore the population, so that’s awesome.

I used to think zoos were horrible, but it’s so hard to protect everything in the wild, (though we must keep trying with wildlife sanctuaries and law enforcement to protect the animals from poachers. I saw an award winning photo of armed guards protecting two of the remaining white rhinos in Africa. That’s what it takes.) Zoos play a big role in preservation as well as education. Sure, no wild animal should be captive, and maybe one day we’ll get to that point. In the meantime, I’m glad the San Diego Zoo does such a brilliant job with comfortable environments for the animals. They grow about 70 different kinds of bamboo for their bears and harvest 700 pounds a week for them. That zoo is a labor of love and science.

In other news, I had a happy realization. I can feed the finches in my back yard during the winter when we don’t have a veggie garden…and when they really need the food. Now I have something to look forward to in the winter. The birds delight me all day, and I was so sad to take away the feeder. I can still hear them out there working a bit harder in the neighborhood to get their food. I can’t wait to invite them back in for free food in the winter.

San Diego Zoo snow leopard

I’m going to have to give you a slow feed of the San Diego Zoo photos because I thought I was going to have a lot of photos from the finch feeder, but I had to take it down! I’m so sad, but they started creating problems in our back yard. Turns out in addition to the seed I was feeding them, they loved to devour the leaves on some of our vegetable plants. All those finches you saw on the feeder? Well, when it was full, there was an equal number on the plants. It was a sad day yesterday. I had to keep the blinds closed so I wouldn’t see them looking for the feeder all day. *sniff*

But I have some good photos from the zoo and I’ll dole them out one at a time until I can get out somewhere to take more photos and have more material to share. Here is a favorite of mine.

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Snow Leopard, San Diego Zoo, May 2017, photo copyrighted by Nicci Carrera

Five finches feeding

Actually, there were 8 at one time!

8 Finches

Remember I told you I had a surprise coming?

Finch up close

No? You mean you have more going on than tracking my posts? LOL

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Well, I’m sorry to have been offline so long, and I also owe you the final San Diego Zoo photos, but this particular treasure trove was a long time coming. I bought and installed the feeder but it was windy every single day! I have a lightweight tripod so I had to wait. But today the wind died down.

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It took a week for the first finch to arrive and he must have kept it secret for as long as possible because it was another week before more showed up. As you can see, the feeder gets up to 8 at a time. It’s supposed to hold 15 but those would be very small finches.

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Have a great weekend, what remains of it, and a great week coming up.

Finch with one landing

San Diego Zoo, birds

I didn’t get the info on all of these amazing birds, and I’m kicking myself now for that. The first one is a whistling duck. I had to also capture these birds on video because it is amazing how their throats swell and vibrate, a phenomenon that simply cannot be captured in a still shot.

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All three of these species are in the same habitat. I’m not sure if they are all from the same environment in the wild. If not, that would be interesting that the zookeepers could make it work. Another reason I wish I had photographed all the descriptions.

I have a few more photos to show you, including a grand finale.

Have a great remainder of the weekend.