Sunday, January 11, 2009

Going out of town.

I just wanted to let you know I am taking a break for a while. I learned yesterday that my sister Bev passed away. I can't really believe it but she has been sick for a very long time. She has been so brave throughout and I have always called her my hero. Bev went into hospital to receive more treatment the day before I went away, and a few days before we returned home I knew something was very wrong.

I guess I put everything in the back of my mind and refused to believe this day would ever come, always planning for the next time we would get together, the next road trip.

This photo was a very happy time for us on her last visit here. Her daughter, my niece whom I always call my little sister, took the photo. It was a very special visit to Niagara Falls for the three of us, a girls only trip, and I shall always remember it with a smile. We were on the little boat that goes up to the Falls and we jokingly called ourselves The Maids of the Mist for the rest of the holiday. In our last conversation together I reminded her of it and I heard her laugh, so I am sharing this picture with you and ask if you could please say a prayer for my sister Bev and her family.

Photos of our early years. Bev is on the left and I am on the right in both.

Gregg, Brad and I hope to go to Germany as soon as we can get our passports taken care of. I'll be in touch when I get back.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Miscellaneous Animals

This lovely animal is an Adra Gazelle. You can find out all about her here. To me she seemed a very delicate, beautiful little thing with a gentle air about her. Addra Gazelles are active during the day. In former times they could be seen in herds of as many as 500. The average herd size is now 15-20 animals. The drastic reduction is due largely to poaching.


We all know of the Zebra and I've already posted pictures of his companion, the Cattle Egret.

Grant's Zebra is one of several sub-species of Plains zebras. They are numerous throughout a very wide area in Africa south of the Sahara. They inhabit savannahs, plains, and in some cases mountainous regions.
You can find out more about the Zebra here.

An ostrich has been seen to pass an antelope in full gallop at 40 miles per hour, a feat which places it among the fastest of all birds, in spite of the fact that it does not fly.
You can read more here.

The White Rhinoceros. The word rhinoceros is derived from Greek, meaning nose horn which is their most distinctive feature. The white rhinoceros derives its scientific name, Ceratotherium simum from the Greek cerato, meaning horn; thorium, meaning wild beast and simum meaning flat nosed. You can find out more about him here.

Black and White Ruffed Lemur

Back to fluffy, cute and cuddly.

Lemurs are neither monkeys nor apes. They are primitive primates found only on the islands of Madagascar, off the east coast of Africa. Most lemurs are arboreal (tree dwelling).

This black and white specie is unique among lemurs because the female gives birth to twins and builds a "nest" where her offspring stay while she forages for food. Lemurs sometimes eat insects, small birds and mice.

Ruffed Lemurs are nocturnal but like to bask in the early morning sunshine, face to the sun and legs outstretched. This habit led natives to believe that the lemurs were worshipping the sun.

Spur-thighed Tortoise and Friend

This cutie ambled over to say hello when we stopped by his enclosure. He looked up at us and actually studied us for a while. Not sure if he thought we were going to feed him but there was a very large pile of veggies not too far away, so maybe he was just being friendly.

Honolulu Zoo has been home to Spur-thighed tortoises since 1990. In the following four years almost 200 babies hatched here. These active reptiles are native to Africa.

They have prominent spurs on their rear legs but they have no known function.

I apparently did not take a photo of the description of the turtles below. There were several sitting on logs. I want to say they are some kind of Asian river tortoise but I really have no clue.


The Gharial

This is the Gharial and is the second longest of all living crocodiles.

Gharials are found in Himalayan-fed river systems: Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra rivers, to the coast of Burma, Northern and eastern India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. They favor deep, fast-flowing rivers with relatively clear water, high banks, deep pools, and sandbanks for basking and nesting. They rarely venture more than a few feet away from the water.

They are mainly fish eaters, although they also take shrimps, crabs, frogs, snakes, birds and small mammals. The flattened snout is very efficient when sweeping and snapping sideways in the water at prey such as fish.

You can find out more here:

Great-Plated Lizard

This is a Great-Plated Lizard (Gerrhosaurus major). Great-Plated Lizards can reach a length of 22 inches. They are brownish solid-bodied animals with small legs and have a very rough set of square-shaped scales. They have deep grooves running the length of the body low on their sides dividing the rough scales.

These lizards come from East and Southeast Africa, and live in rocky areas and savannas. They eat arthropods, snails, small mice and some fruit. They also go by the names Tawny and Brown Plated Lizard.
And this was his next meal.

Baby Nile Monitor Lizard


I thought I would share a few reptile photos. I was fascinated with the way his mouth was opening so I took several shots and made it into a film strip of sorts. He has a blue tongue. You can check him out by enlarging the film strip if you are as fascinated as I was and yes I am smiling here as I realize that might not be the case.

I have since added the following two photographs that are in the film strip. That way you won't have to break out that magnifying glass. Won't do that again without making them much larger.


Nile Monitor Lizards are found from South Africa to Egypt and eastward to Liberia. Some say it was named because of its habit of keeping a lookout, or giving warning of the presence of crocodiles. It is an excellent swimmer and lives near water feeding on fish, frogs and crabs. On land it eats snails, snakes, turtles, bird and crocodile eggs. Hatchlings are brightly colored and will double their size in the first year feeding on insects.

The White-Handed Gibbon

These South Asian rainforest animals establish their territories with loud calls and acrobatic displays. Their distinctive hand over hand swinging is called brachiation.

Lacking tails they depend on excellent eyesight, agility and strength of their long arms to keep them from falling.



Thursday, January 8, 2009

Asian Elephant

Mari and Viagai are two Asian elephants who came to the Honolulu Zoo from India.

When we came to the Elephant enclosure we found it was bath-time.


"Our keepers walk them, they play lots of games, they have lots of toys, and it's very interesting and stimulating for the elephants" I read that in a newspaper article on line. That's what I like to hear. If they have to be in a zoo you want these beautiful animals to be happy and they certainly seemed to be enjoying their bath.




Tiger Cubs

We were fortunate enough to see the newborn tiger cubs born at the zoo last September 15th. The public was allowed to see them on December 20th. Our visit was on the Wednesday, December 24th, 2008. When we got there they were vert sleepy but Gregg managed to take several photos of them .
Awake!

Asleep!


Awake!


Asleep!

By this time I was feeling just like they were. In all these photos you can see an extra set of ears. We could make out two cubs and the third was probably there but out of sight of our camera.




Their parents are Sumatran tigers Chrissie and Berani, and this was the first litter of tigers born at the zoo in more than 25 years. The cubs are three males named Malosi, Keahi and Tondi.
Chrissie was monitored closely during her 107-day gestation period. She stopped eating Sunday and that apparently is a sign that birth is near. She was brought to a holding area where she gave birth on the Monday night.

You can see more photos of them at the zoo’s website here.

If you are interested in learning more about the Sumatran Tiger, you can more information here.
I have just found the meaning of those beautiful names for the cubs.
Malosi - Samoan: strong, powerful
Keahi - Hawaiian: fire
Tondi - Indonesian: spiritual one

SkyWatch Friday


SkyWatch was originally Dot’s idea and is now managed by Klaus, Sandy, Ivar, Wren, Fishing Guy and Louise. You will see some incredible sky photos if you click on the SWF button above and you can join in by sharing your own.

These were taken at the Zoo.

Three last bird photos from our trip to the zoo.

These are the last three of the bird photos, one of the Peacock which we all no doubt recognize, a little bird that looks like some kind of a small parrot/parakeet and a Spoonbill that was keeping company with the flamingoes.



Wednesday, January 7, 2009

More birds

More beautiful birds found found at the zoo. I will identify them where I can but maybe you can help me identify the ones I can't, or correct me if I am wrong on the others.
Top left is what I think is a Black-Crowned Night Heron. He was visiting the Flamingoes and a drop-in. Middle left is a Blacksmith Plover. Bottom left a Crane. The one directly in the middle is a White-Crested Turaco. Upper right a Cattle Egret. Middle right is an African Hornbill. Bottom right a White Headed Buffalo Weaver.

Watery Wednesday

Thank you 2sweetnsaxy of Eyes, Mind, Heart for hosting Watery Wednesday. You can find other water photos and share your own if you click on the WW button above.

I missed not being able to join in my meme's over the last couple of weeks and hope to be a better participant, so here is this week's contribution for WW taken while on holiday. It rained occasionally and I snapped this photo of a young boy with a red umbrella.
It was a little blurry so I do as I often do, I went into my Paint Shop Pro and played with it a little.
I enjoyed coming up with the different effects I could get.