Sunday, April 02, 2017

Maryland Zoo, Chapter 3: The Maryland Aviary

I think that a lot of people go to zoos looking for the big ticket stuff.  And that's all well and good--I mean, you'll see in this installment of posts that I have some great images of Southern White Rhinoceros, Africa Lions, Cheetahs, African Elephants...and you've surely enjoyed the aquatic shot of the Polar Bear!  But there are so many other fascinated animals to spend time with.  Other the years, I have to say, on my must visit list is always the Aviary/s.  Some zoos, like Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle have many, others, like the Philadelphia Zoo only have one, but it matters not the quantity, because for a patient soul, you will discover magic among the birds every time.
 Green Heron, Butorides virescens--I know?  Green?  I don't given 'em names, I just try and learn them, then keep them straight in my mind!

 Cattle Egret, Bubulcus ibis--quite the pristine lady!

 Little Blue Heron, Egretta caerulea--my elementary's mascot is the Great Blue Heron...sadly, this little beauty will probably never be so honored.  However, he is just as beautiful.
 The zoo has quite a colony of Black-crowned Night Herons, Nycticorax nycticorax, and they were in the process of expanded in this pair of nests.  Very fascinating stuff!

 A pair of Hooded Merganser, Mergus cucullatus.  He was content to float, but she kept diving and scraping the bottom of the stream.  And this is the thing about wild ducks.  Everywhere you live, you will encounter Mallards, if you have any source of water nearby.  But all of the other beauties belong to regions migratory pathways and are rarely seen elsewhere.  It's a thrill to see these creatures in the feather, as it were, rather than in a Peterson's Guide or an Audubon painting!
 The duck on the right is a male, Ruddy Duck, Oxyura jamaicensis--the names suggests where it normally spends its winters!  The duck on the left is unknown to me.  Neither of these ducks appears on the zoo's website.
 Wood Duck, Aix sponsa--and here's the one place I will contradict myself: in 24 years of living along Sligo Creek in Takoma Park, Maryland, I have twice seen Wood Ducks in the stream.  Clearly, the creek was only a stop-over point of a journey to somewhere else more amenable.

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