Big Bird

When I think about large birds I think of condors, pelicans, eagles and the albatross. I forget about the ostrich. Yes it is a bird but it does not fly. Thank god! They can weigh up to 400 pounds and be up to 9 feet tall. Can you image a sky full of these?

They can also sprint at almost 45 miles per hour according to the National Geographic. They are weird but fun to watch. They have a strange gait and when they sprint they make your jaw drop. They share a large habitat in the Highland Park Zoo of Pittsburgh where this picture was taken.

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Big Bird

Big Bird

King of the Hill

As I posted earlier this week, “I was kind of nervous about seeing the Pittsburgh Zoo remembering the cages where animals would just pace. I remember the caged Gorillas would spit at the people and throw their scat at the crowds.”

Now the Gorilla Family ranges over a whole hillside and can be seen from multiple locations. I saw at least five gorillas included this guy who followed me with his eyes as we walked around the hill.

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King of the Hill

King of the Hill

The Highland Park Zoo

Our rediscovery of Pittsburgh continues as we ventured to the Highland Park Zoo for our first visit since the 1970’s. This is the Zoo we grew up with. We both remember walking up the ramps and steps before the giant escalator was built.

I kind of soured to Zoos as an adult. We took our daughter to zoos as a child but I ultimately would become depressed after seeing neurotic animal behavior from being in captivity. As adults we went to the San Diego Zoo and The San Antonio Zoo which are both world class in construction of animal habitats that are more nurturing to the captive animals.

I was kind of nervous about seeing the Pittsburgh Zoo remembering the cages where animals would just pace. I remember the caged Gorillas would spit at the people and throw their scat at the crowds. Who could blame them. However they have done wonders with this zoo and Pittsburgh can be proud of this space.

They still need to do some work on enlarging some of the habitats like the Sea Lion and Otter exhibits. However the new habitats and the Aquarium are really wonderful! For a small city Zoo it is worth the visit.

This is a baby gorilla in the new habitat for these animals. A far cry from the old smelly gages.

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The Pittsburgh Zoo

The Pittsburgh Zoo

Sky Diver

If you follow this blog you have come to realize that I love pelicans. I photograph them whenever I can and even offer pelican apparel on my commercial site. Yet as many as I have photographed, I have still not captured the “money shot”. The shot that I visualize is a pelican rising out of the water with a fish in his mouth. I guess I have to keep taking pictures of them. This one was captured in a dive at sunrise from the beach at Laguna Mar in Cancun.

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Sky Diver

Sky Diver

I am The Iguana!

I can not see an iguana without thinking of the character that Tim Kazurinsky created on Saturday Night Live in the 1980’s. There are Iguanas all over Mexico. We had one near our condo which we named Iggy Pop for some unknown reason. We found this gal in ruins of Tulum Mexico. I found out that the females are smooth like this and the males have spikes along their spine.

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The Iguana

The Iguana

Bambi Lives!

I took this picture of a fawn in 2002 at the end of our first summer living on the mountain. People that lived there full time like us said wait a year and you will start to think of them as vermin. It never quite got to that level for me because the next year our community voted for a deer cull in a heated political battle between the “full timers” and “weekenders”. The herd grew at a rapid rate in our community because no hunting was allowed. Deer are not dumb and they began to migrate into our community. DCNR noticed that some deer had wasting disease and fawns that were born were small and struggled to survive. The amount of deer/auto accidents increased dramatically.

The size of the herd was unhealthy according to DCNR and our local environmental experts. After the first two years of deer culls the herd reduced to a more normal size. We began to see fawns again and the herd was restored to health. This deer has all but lost the markings fo a fawn as it munched in my back yard waiting for its first summer to end.

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Bambi Lives

Bambi Lives

Things I Will Miss–Black Bears

If you follow this blog you know that for some time we have been trying to sell our house and move back to Pittsburgh. Our tablets are done (DreamMap publishing in October) and it is time to come off the mountain. Of course moving is hard work so I haven’t been taking new pictures and have been thinking of how to keep the blog “alive” during this time of transition.

Although our new house is only two blocks from one of the largest parks in Pittsburgh (Frick Park) we won’t have quite the variety of wildlife we have in The Poconos. Oh sure there will be deer, rabbits and maybe even some fox but I don’t think they have black bears in Frick Park. It is always exciting to see bears in the wild and I will miss their occasional visits.

Bear out Back

Bear out Back

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Bye Bye Flutterbyes

Autumn comes quickly in the mountains. As we watch the butterflies and hummingbirds swirl around the remaining blooms of summer we begin to realize too soon they will be gone. A reminder for us to get our act together as once again we prepare to flee in the face of winter.

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Flutterbye

Flutterbye

Dog Fight

Watching seals play and fight is just like watching a dog fight. It does smell quite different though. This was captured in Monterrey California at a public pier in the mid 90’s. The seals were all over the boats and pier and that day I was glad I was not a boat owner. There were hundreds of seals, thousands of barks and groans and oh that smell!

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Dog Fight!

Dog Fight!

Shy Wolf Update

For those of you that follow this blog you know that I have been trying to raise awareness and hopefully support for a unique Wolf Sanctuary in Naples Florida. .The Shy Wolf Sanctuary rescue wolves that have been bred or purchased as pets and then abused or abandoned. The sanctuary is the one of the only wolf sanctuaries in the USA where you can actually interact with these beautiful wild animals. The sanctuary is totally supported by donations and merchandise sales. The staff is made up completely of volunteers. Plan a trip while in south Florida for a real wildlife encounter. Buy a T-Shirt, help a wolf!

These are some images that I have not published from our trip there in January 2014.

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Lone Wolf

Lone Wolf

Shy Wolf

Shy Wolf

Petting a Wolf

Petting a Wolf

Volunteer with Wolf

Volunteer with Wolf