Tag Archive | animals

Brookfield Bears

Next to the great apes, I think bears are probably my next most favorite animal to watch at the zoo. On this particular day, Hudson the Polar bear was taking a dip in the pool. And what better way to dry off afterwards than a luxurious roll in the grass.

Meanwhile, over in the next enclosure, a grizzly bear was homing in on some lettuce that had been thrown over the wall, while another was diving for carrots in the pool. I was impressed by it’s swimming skills, rather like an underwater ballet, and the ability to hold its breath for quite long periods of time while foraging for these tasty snacks.  To conclude, just let me say, “Go Bears!” both Brookfield and Chicago.

 

The Great Apes

Tropic World at Brookfield Zoo features monkeys, primates and other animals from South America, Africa and Asia and there’s no doubt that among my favorites are the orangutans. Watching their agile antics and the interaction between family members, it’s not difficult to see why they are considered among the most intelligent primates. It’s also a tragedy that they are now a critically endangered species thanks in no small part to poaching and habitat destruction in their native home of Borneo and Sumatra.

Another critically endangered species and arguably the stars of the show at Tropic World are the gorillas. As much as I love taking the grandkids to the zoo, it’s also nice to take a solo trip especially if I want to concentrate on photography and on this particular day I had plenty of time to watch these great apes as they went about their daily business, without being urged to move on to something else.

The babies are always popular, drawing lots of oohs and aahs from the crowd, and the juveniles get plenty of laughs with their boisterous play but when the old silverback male arrives on the scene everyone keeps a respectful distance.

When a tempting snack of lettuces is thrown into the enclosure, he grabs one for now and tucks another under his haunches for later consumption. He’s the boss and nobody is going to argue with that if they know what’s good for them.

Cats

From meerkats to cats. Big cats! Zoo animals are very much creatures of habit, doing more or less the same thing at the same time every day, so I knew exactly where to find the snow leopard. He was taking a snooze on the ledge right by the viewing window.

Both the lions and tiger were also taking their morning siesta. They can sleep like this for hours so I decided to walk around for a while and come back later in the hopes that they might actually be moving around.

This plan paid off, at least as far as the tiger was concerned. He was on the prowl having taken a dip in the pool (something that I just missed) and appeared to be looking for something. He padded around the enclosure a few times and settled down to chew on some grass.  Eventually, feeling that he’d fulfilled his obligation to entertain the customers, he returned to his ledge and went back to sleep.

 

 

Meerkats

Last Thursday I spent five hours capturing images at Brookfield Zoo so be prepared to be bombarded with animal pictures.  I thought I’d devote each post to one particular species or group of animals and I’m starting out with meerkats. They all looked happy and healthy on a zoo diet of cat food, dry dog food, vegetables, bugs, fish and mice, and were, as always seems to be the case, in a very playful mood.

Taking pictures without flash in low light without a tripod was a bit of a struggle but, thanks to the digital camera, I got off so many shots that there were bound to be one or two that were usable. I couldn’t have done that with the old film camera when I could only afford a few rolls of film and then pay to get them developed.

I love meerkats! They play to the camera so nicely. There were two that appeared to be enjoying a game of hide and seek. First one, then both would curl up in a ball and then look out to see if anyone was watching.

It seemed like such a good wheeze that another pair joined them until eventually the whole clan was involved.

From The Window

I spent much of yesterday birdwatching from the kitchen window.  A family of grey catbirds had become resident in the garden but although we could plainly hear them, they proved rather elusive to spot, so I figured the only way I was going to stand any chance of capturing them on camera was to sit and wait patiently by the window. Any kind of bird that isn’t a sparrow is a welcome sight in our garden, we usually see little else, although we do get quite a few goldfinches at this time of year.

Now don’t get me wrong. Sparrows are fun to watch. They are a rowdy bunch and quite resourceful when it comes to finding food. There are a lot of young sparrow families out there right now so there is quite a bit of activity around the birdbath and surrounding area.

Naturally, the birds are very cautious as there is always the threat of attack from the local hawk who is constantly keeping an eye on what’s going on down below.

So I wait to see what develops and, wouldn’t you know it, my old friend the rabbit shows up, followed closely by a squirrel.

 

I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever catch a glimpse of the catbird when all of a sudden, there it is! Gotcha!

Then two more show up!  I think they are nesting in the tangle of shrubs that have grown rampant following earlier rains. Anything could be living in there! I half-expect to see Big Foot step out of the undergrowth first thing in the morning, or at the very least a stray cougar.

Getting one catbird in the frame was great but two was even better. They loved the birdbath and were even willing to share it with the sparrows.

Then, just when everything seemed to be going along splendidly, a shadow swooped overhead and the hawk made a pass across the rooftops. I don’t think he was successful but every creature in the garden scattered, putting paid to any further activity and I had to be content with what I had.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge – Animals

Part of the itinerary during our granddaughter’s visit a few weeks ago was a trip to Brookfield Zoo. I think the temperature was in the nineties so we didn’t stay long. Summer is never the best time to go to the zoo.  I don’t know who was feeling the more lethargic, us or the animals.  We didn’t get to see everything this time but you can bet that I will be making the most of my senior membership later on this year when the weather cools off a bit.

CFFC – Three’s A Crowd

Cee’s topic for this week’s Fun Foto Challenge is 3 items or the number three.  I don’t see too many creatures hanging out in threes. I guess two’s company, three’s a crowd.  But here are a few that didn’t seem to mind sharing space.

Pictured above; snakes and elk in Elk Grove Village, African wild dogs at Brookfield Zoo, ducks at the Chicago Botanic Garden and Frederik Meijer Sculpture Garden in Grand Rapids, turtles in Hermann Park in Houston and pelicans on the river in Davenport, Iowa.

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Delicious!

This week, Patti has chosen Delicious as the subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. One man’s meat is another man’s poison, and the same could probably be said of animals and birds too. Some creatures are quite content to nibble on a blade or two of grass…..

while others might prefer to slurp on the sap from a tree (at least I think that was what this giraffe was enjoying.)

It isn’t only the birds that benefit from the seeds that we put out in the garden. The chipmunks will also help themselves especially if there are peanuts in the mix.

The rabbit’s not proud. He’ll eat anything including the bird’s bread or my carefully tended lilies and other prized plants.

One time, when I looked out of our back door, I was surprised to see two young raccoons sitting on the door step.  I was so excited, I totally lost my head and grabbed the first things that came to hand to entice them to stay long enough for me to take pictures, which included a loaf of bread and an opened tin of peaches. I rushed out of the front door, first picking up the camera, and ran round to the back garden.  They turned up their noses at the bread but evidently thought the peaches were delicious.

The squirrels always enjoy the Halloween leftovers. It’s very entertaining to watch them diving into the pumpkins to retrieve the seeds.

Apart from filling the birdfeeders, I usually grow a few sunflowers and love to watch the goldfinches doing all kinds of contortions to reach the choicest morsels.

And while some birds are tucking into these provisions, others are making a meal out of other birds.  Mmmm! Delicious!  Well, to each his own.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Nature

This week, Patti has selected Nature as the topic for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge.  Ever since I took up photography as a hobby many years ago, I have focused principally on nature, so when I saw the subject for this week I wasn’t really sure where to begin; literally thousands of pictures in the photo files relating to nature.  I decided to whittle down the numbers by eliminating those animals or birds that we’ve come across in zoos and the like. We’ve already covered landscapes in a previous challenge so those were out.  I could have featured some of the gorgeous blooms that we’ve seen in various gardens but instead I concentrated on wildflowers. Add to all that, I included some of the weird and wonderful things that I’ve found while out and about and there we have it.  My take on nature.

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Horns

This week, the subject for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge is horns and, as I discovered when I went through the photo files, they come in all shapes and sizes.

The only longhorn that we saw in Texas was this one, stuffed and mounted, on display outside a restaurant in San Antonio.

Personally, I’m always happy to have a fence between me and any animal that has horns like either of these two critters.

One close encounter with a bison in South Dakota was more than enough for me.  This one was safely lounging in an enclosure at Brookfield Zoo.

These are some of the prettiest horns I’ve seen, belonging to an addax antelope, also at Brookfield Zoo.

And last but not least, some impressive horns on an energetic goat waiting for food to be delivered on a pulley system at a farm in Lowell, Indiana. The grandkids had a great time sending up bucket after bucket.

For more on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge go to Horns.