Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Easy Dinner

Meat Sauce over Angel Hair Pasta with shaved Parmesano Cheese.

New Mural At School

Visiting artist Arturo Ho helped our 5th grades to create a new mural for our courtyard.

Maryland Zoo Redux #1 - African Penguins and Pink-backed Pelicans

Went to the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore today for a couple of hours this morning. Saturday and Sunday were two days of Beerfest at the zoo to fund raise--I wish them well, but had no interest whatsoever to participate. Happy to report that the zoo is still there! ;-) Although a couple of notables were taking the day off, the Polar Bear, the Lion Pride...most of the Giraffe and Sitatunga herds. Which is all fine by me, I love what is there, and I love the new things I discover whenever I go. I'm going to share some pics with you in a sorta random release, but I will keep the animals clustered together. I hope you enjoy them, too.

The newest major installation at the Maryland Zoo is the Penguin Coast Exhibit that is the largest and most comprehensive habitat for the endangered African Penguin in North America if not the world. It will support a colony of 200 animals at some point in the future and is home of well over 50 birds today. The Penguins share this space with a handful of White-breasted Cormorants from the Equatorial coastline of Western Africa, and a gorgeous trio of Pink-backed Pelicans. The Cormorants have been bunkmates with the Penguins as a species for a couple of decades now, and the Pelicans joined the exhibit last year. Without further ado, I give you some penguins and pelicans from the Maryland Zoo.

Maryland Zoo Redux #2 - African Spurred Tortoise, Caribbean Flamingos and West African Black Crowned Cranes

A trio of the lesser included animals on exhibit: The West African Black Crowned Crane, the African Spurred Tortoise and the Caribbean (or American) Flamingo.  There are two species of the Crowned Crane kept in North American Zoos.  This is the less likely to be encountered of the two; the more commonly kept being the West African Grey Crowned Crane.  Both are spectacular creatures in my book, and this pair is always a delight to me whenever I visit.  Of tortoises there are about 10 species that are found in North American Zoos and the Africa Spurred (or Sulcata) Tortoise is one of the most common.  The tough "plate-like" structures on its legs make it easy to identify.  And finally the Maryland Zoo is home to a flock of the most vivid of Flamingo Species, the Caribbean (or American) Flamingo.  There are 6 species of Flamingos in the world.  Two reside in the Old World and four can be found in the America's   The most common of these four species are the American Flamingo (my preference) which can be found in colonies along the coast of Mexico, Belize, throughout the Caribbean Islands and even on the Gal├ípagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Maryland Zoo Redux #3 - Grizzly Bears and Arctic Fox

The Polar has competition.  Earlier this spring (and following the death of the Zoo's second Polar Bear over a year ago now) the expansive Arctic Polar Bear exhibit, designed to house bears of both genders at the same time and keep them safely separated, became the home to a pair of orphaned Grizzly Bear cubs.  The Grizzly's are sisters from Montana.  I got to see them the first week they went on display, and now some weeks later two things are clear.   They are growing up!  And the one that was the runt is still the runt...  So much so that I wonder if she would have survived in the wild.  The big sister was bound and determined to dislodge something from within the boulders.  In the fifteen minutes I watched her, she was unsuccessful, but happily engaged in the pursuit.  

The Polar Bear/Grizzly Bear exhibit shares a designed space with Ravens, Snow Owls, Bald Eagles and a pair of Arctic Foxes.  All of these enclosures are wrapped in a mess wiring that allows the trees and bushes to grow in and through--even allowing song birds to flit and out--well, I guess they get out... but obscuring the view of the animals.  And yet the image of one of the little Arctic Foxes fast asleep next to the edge of her enclosure was just too precious not to capture.

Maryland Zoo Redux #4 - White Rhinoceros, Plains Zebra and Common Ostrich

There is another trio of species that share an expansive enclosure--although, today, the members on exhibit were content to pretty much hang out in one particular area--the one with greatest access to viewing. The party was made up of one of the zoo's Southern White Rhinoceros, it's pair of , and the female Common Ostrich (the male otherwise occupied?).

A word on the Southern White Rhinoceros. Ever since I encountered that Rhinoceros cow with her newborn calf in the wilds of Zimbabwe in 1990, I have never stopped believing that these creatures are to be honored and allowed to flourish as even a miniscule reflection of our own humanity. Like it or not, we now have dominion over life on this planet. I doubt we will have it for very long!--and certainly not if we continue to abuse, destroy and monetize everything else on this little planet. Rhinoceros are one of the reasons that I believe in zoos, and why I want them to be excellent. Maryland Zoo does a lot so very well. Its trajectory is pointed in the right direction. Enjoy!

Maryland Zoo Redux #5 -

The next trio of species, sharing an adjacent habitat, are the buck of the Addra Gazelles, the pair of Saddlebill Storks, and the two Lesser Kudu cows.  It's spring after all, and the boys are in a certain mood...