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.

Xiao Liwu 1

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.

Xiao Liwu 2

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.

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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.

San Diego Zoo, hooved animals

It was fairly hot last Saturday, and a lot of the animals were sleeping.

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Or standing in the shade.

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Look how graceful the antlers are on this one.

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We’re getting through the zoo animals pretty quickly! I’m going to have to do another photography outing.

It is suddenly very hot here and mornings are the only time to do yard work. It was almost 100 degrees the last two days. It’s early for that, but I guess it’s a heat wave. I should go to the beach for some photos. Maybe on the weekend, early though.

I hope you have a good rest of the week. It’s all downhill from here, in a good way I hope!

San Diego Zoo shots!

Hello, I hope you are having a good week. I had the big thrill of visiting the San Diego Zoo, which I loved. I’m ready to start sharing photos.

Growing up, we had an Encyclopedia. It was the only one my dad sold during his very short-lived days as a door-to-door salesman, LOL. Anyway, I loved looking at the animals and the anteater was one of my favorites.

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Anteater

When I looked down and saw it at the zoo, I was so excited. As a child I thought they were really weird looking, but I had no idea they are pretty! This one looks pretty healthy, huh? His coat looks healthy to me. I didn’t know they were black and white with stripes. They move pretty fast. I guess he was out on the hunt for ants.

Another animal I was always interested in was the warthog. My brother and I used to run around calling each other warthogs. So every time I came up to a cage and saw something that I thought was a warthog I would cry out to my husband, “Look, a warthog,” but then it wouldn’t be. Finally I found one, sleeping peacefully by a rock.

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Warthog

Big news, I cancelled my Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. I have an older laptop, not super powerful, and the background processes were slowing down my machine. Rather than investing in a new computer, I canceled the subscription. I would say that’s a tad more economical a solution, LOL!  No new computer, no ten dollars a month.

I am back to GIMP. I might buy Lightroom or another software package someday but not as a cloud service. Anyway, how this affects you is I that can’t batch process, or at least, I don’t know how, so my photos will be coming out a little at a time. That might not be a bad thing since I don’t spend as much time shooting new photos as I should! Maybe I can communicate more often now, sharing a few images at a time and talking to you more. I’ll also be doing less processing. I am going more natural, taking my photography more towards just the photography part and less image processing, although I still will probably do some digital photo painting. I have that software and a little tablet that I haven’t used in a couple years, and I miss working this way.

I certainly have a treasure trove of images from the zoo to share. Here is my favorite image of the day. I’ve never seen an orangutan in person, wow!

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Chronicles of the #CaliforniaDrought The End

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A local creek that has been dry for a long time

I wrote around 10 of these chronicles over the last two years, sort of tracking the whole experience. I really thought it was permanent. I had a moment of fear when we were told if we didn’t cut back, California could run out of water. We cut back a lot. The restrictions and warnings and increased prices resulted in a massive conservation effect. We were successful, yay!

I also was sad taking pictures of Sand Harbor because these shallow waters used to be deep enough to dive into.

Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe

You could still carefully wade out, but even that would be gone soon.

I walked in the Truckee River, the only outlet of Lake Tahoe.

Truckee River

Truckee River bed

The piers weren’t much use any more!

Lake Tahoe winter 2016

Pier

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These rocks aren’t really supposed to be part of Commons Beach

The gates at Fanny Bridge, the mouth of the Truckee River looked like this two years ago:

Gates

Volunteer anglers working with fisheries personnel caught the huge trout who lived there, put them in aquariums, moved them to the lake, and released them…before it was too low for them to live.

Now all 17 gates are open:

Gates open

Just like we couldn’t assume it would always be like the drought, we can’t assume it would always be like this past year, but it’s a massive relief. We now have a gravel front yard. Here’s a photo from the post when we first had it delivered a couple years ago.

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We just have drip watering now.

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Hope you have a nice week!