Saturday, February 13, 2016

It Was A Zoo In Manhattan This Past Thursday

As in the Central Park Zoo. I took a walk  after an appointment I had in the city, and headed north on Madison Avenue toward Central Park despite the pretty cold temperature of 24 degrees. When I got to 59th Street I banged a left and after one more block I entered the park. As I was walking passed the Central park Zoo, I decided what the heck, I would shell out the ten bucks they wanted as general admission and see what they had in the way of interesting critters.

My first stop was the Tropical Zone. It is an indoor exhibit which you would think would house tropical animals and plants. Well, it did somewhat but not all of the displays were of tropical creatures. Some were from temperate deserts. The evident reason for that is tat the zoo has cut back over the years. As a matter of fact, the exhibits at the CPZ were fairly disappointing, to me because I have seen more variety at this zoo in the past. It was just that there were so limited as to the type of critters they displayed.

I still had a decent time for my $12 but I sure did miss the monkey house, which was still there after their big renovation back in the mid to late 1980's. I also missed the elephants and the polar bears and big cats (even though they have a now leopard enclosure). In place of polar bears, they now have two dismal looking female grizzly bears. At least when they had polar bears, you would often see them swimming in their pool, romping around the enclosure and playing with toys. I have never seen their grizzlies do much more than sleep or lazily walk around a bit and then go back to sleep.

Victoria Crowned Pigeon, there were several of these. This one was
constantly looking for nesting material. Other than the peacocks, these
pigeons were the most superbly spectacular birds in the exhibit.
Back to the Tropical Zone; I must admit it was nice walking in there and leaving the temps in the low twenties outside. It must have been about 85 degrees inside and was fairly humid too. It was a welcome change and worth the $12 admission fee right there. There were a good number of birds flitting about the trees, shrubbery, rocks and waterfalls inside. It was, in essence, and aviary that had glassed in enclosures around its inner perimeter. I saw some truly magnificent looking birds but to my dismay none were too cooperative in posing for pictures. I did get a few nice shots though.

The Victoria Crowned Pigeon was not afraid of getting wet. If you click to
enlarge this shot you probably will see the water droplets on its feathers.

It did like to shake the water off of its crown though.

Radjah Shelduck from Australia and new Guinea. This duck was the
most cooperative of the birds when it came to posing for my camera.

Profile pic of the Radjah Shelduck.

Then there was this one, another pigeon of some sort, sorry I did not get the
name. It certainly is spectacular and not just another NYC 'rat with wings'.

Thee were also some mammals and reptiles in the Tropical Zone, that I saw, including bats, banded mongoose, at least one flying fox, lemurs, a redfoot tortoise, a gila monster, geckos, and a few snakes.

I got one decent picture of a snake and a really nice couple of shots of the mongooses (or is it mongeese ;>).

Amazon Tree Boa.

Banded Mongooses, these were pretty active little critters.

While not the best photos, I could not fail to include pictures of the Superb Starling. This was one beautiful bird and as with other species in the aviary, this one was busy with nest building.
This Superb Sparrow was also tending it's nest.

Neither of my pics of this one are great but this one shows its color better.
After that, it was back out into the cold where I visited the grizzlies, snow monkeys, snow leopard (which I did not see), harbor seals, sea lions (always among the favorite attractions at the zoo) and some other bird exhibits including the very fishy and foul smelling penguin house. man there shit does stink to high heaven and it smells like putrid fish.

The only half way decent shots I got outside were of more birds. Of course, I was taking pictures with my phone, a Samsung Galaxy S6 Active, so the control I had for exposure and such was non existent since I was just snapping way in auto mode. I sort of wish I had my old Nikon FM2 film camera with me. Had I had that one along this next shot would have come out with the fence in focus but as it is, the shot shows an amazing looking bird anyway.

I call it Ducks and Whatever because I forgot to get the name of these birds.
There was also a pair of uncooperative cranes. They both had there heads out as I approached but when I got close they both looked unimpressed by me and each tucked their heads under wing and went to sleep.

White-naped Cranes

I took the hint and left the zoo shortly after that but made one final quick stop at the sea lion exhibit. I didn't bother to try to get a photograph of the sea lions because by that time I was getting pretty cold, hungry and thirsty and I wanted to get out of there and find myself something to eat and drink. That is exactly what I did too, well at least I got a beer.

All the best,
Glenn B

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