Cute faces at the zoo

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Another tourist trip during Christmas week. My sister and I spent a morning at the zoo. Beautiful and not too hot, the animals were out playing. I think that old turtle face is my favorite. He looks so prehistoric and funny with that blade of grass hanging out of his mouth. He was up moving around that morning. There’s always something entertaining at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.

Funny things at the zoo


One of the African spoonbills in the aviary that you can walk through. He’s looking at me like “What are you doing down there?”


Funny duck trying to hide under a small bush.


Everyone’s favorite, the meerkats.  The one on the right says “I’ll turn my head and you guys do what you gotta do.”


“Did you get all the bugs?” says the one on the left. “The things you do for love.” says the one on the right.


Baby marabou stork born this spring. He’s starting to look like his parents (which isn’t a good thing).


You can always see plenty of injured manatees at the manatee hospital at the zoo. Which is really sad. The pools are always full. They get injured manatees in faster than they can rehabilitate and release them. Most are from boat strikes but a few where still there from getting sick from cold stress in the winter. Those will probably be released soon. One had lost it’s flipper to a crab trap.


Turtles hanging out in one of the manatee pools. “No more parking on the stick.”


The masked lapwing is one of the coolest birds there. He lets people get pretty close.

A had two hours to kill on a Saturday morning before I had a family commitment so I ran over to Lowry Park Zoo to walk around for a while. I was hoping to find wild nesting spoonbills but they did not show up this year. I was still able to find a few things to take pictures of.

Linking to Saturday’s Critters

The zoo face awards of 2014.


He wins the “I want to hug you” face award. It’s not often he’s awake.


This one wins the “I have the brightest colors” award. He struts around the Australian section of the zoo. I love the red face and yellow beak contrasting with the black and white feathers.


Some kind of stork. This one wins the “I have yellow oozing down my beak” award.


The penguin wins the “best use of pink eyeshadow” award.


The flamingo wins the “Pretty in Pink” award.


The meerkat wins the “Dirtiest but cute” face award.


This one wins the “Most unattractive but coolest” award. The marabou storks were working on the nest. Last spring I was able to get a few shots of the baby. I’m hoping for another one this year. I wonder what that bright pink button looking thing is behind his head.


This one wins the “meanest” face award. A tough looking bird, the shoebill stork had a baby on Christmas day in 2009. They haven’t had one since. I didn’t see any of them sitting on nests while I was there the week of Christmas this year.


This one wins the “Clown” face award. They are housed in the Lorikeet exhibit.


This one wins the “best use of the Arizona desert colors” award.


This one wins the “Come near me and see what happens” award. Especially with that feather sticking out of his teeth.

On my Christmas tourist tour trip to the zoo with my sister, I only took my 300mm fixed lens. I wanted to be able to get decent shots of the baby elephants which tend to hang out in the back of the exhibit. But you can see how close you can get to most of these animals. Most of the shots I could only get their heads, except for that alligator, which was in the back but I still couldn’t fit his whole body in. He was huge. So, I decided to focus in on the details of their faces. Since it’s that time of the year when all of the movie award shows come on TV I thought I’d do my own zoo animal awards. Let me know if you think they should win any other awards!

Shine the Divine

Animals at Animal Kingdom


Funky fish. He looked prehistoric.


These meerkats were funny to watch.


Chilling out.


Something was tasty back in those weeds.


Do these horns make my butt look big?


“Where have you been? Your tail smells funny”

Some of the fun animals we saw on our early March trip to Animal Kingdom. Animal Kingdom is just a really big zoo at Disney World with a few rides thrown in. They do it right though. The exhibits are huge. And no wires or fences to try to shoot through. I had no problems with trying to focus through fence squares. Although I did have to zoom in on the gorilla since he was sitting pretty far back. A few animals we didn’t catch since they were hiding in the back. The safari ride is my favorite but it’s hard to get good shots. I had my camera set on auto and still didn’t get anything worth saving except for the 2nd one from the bottom. You ride in a big jeep and it’s very bumpy and jerky. The driver does stop for a minute or two at different place but it depends on angles, lighting or whether an animal is right in front of you when it stops. And, you can’t leave the park without having some kind of frozen treat. Even when it’s cold outside. Whether it’s a Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream bar, a chocolate covered frozen banana or just a plain ole ice cream cone.


Portraits of zoo animals


Meerkat with a dirty nose. I guess they spend their entire lives dirty.


Penguin with pink eyeshadow.


Flamingo with a curve.


Double eagles. It’s not often you see these two close together.


Some type of stork in the African aviary.  I thought the bright yellow beak with the red face was pretty cool and then I noticed the touch of pink in his feathers.


Most popular face award.


Eye of the tiger. Look at those white whiskers.


Portrait of a maribou stork that was only a day or two old.

On a recent trip to the Lowry Park zoo, I only took my 300mm fixed lens. I wanted to try it out on the baby elephant and see if the pictures looked different from using my old 70-300mm zoom. I decided that it would be my one lens for the day and see what I came up with. One thing I realized is that you get a lot closer to the animals there than you think. I kept thinking “I need my zoom.” so I could zoom out. Instead, I just focused on getting close up portrait shots of the animals, something I don’t do that often. It was a fun morning and the above are some of my favorite shots and since I’ve taken an annoying amount of baby elephant shots, I’ll be posted more of those soon as well.

Camera Critters

Fun things at the zoo


The meerkats are always on the lookout.


This is a Wolf’s Guenon but I call them monkey pants cause they look like they are wearing orange pants.


These guys win the “cutest family” award. They are red-tailed guenon. It looks like they are having a funny conversation.


Another shot with the baby.


The lorikeets were pairing up. We walked into the lorikeet aviary during that half hour of non-feeding time so instead of sitting on someone’s hand eating, they were all dancing around and pairing up. I’m sure it was that spell of warm weather putting them in the mood.


This is a pied imperial pigeon in the free flight aviary. I love his pretty butter color.


A sun bittern shaking his tail feathers at me. I thought he looked more like a snipe than the american bitterns we have here.


These lined the area around the elephant exhibit. I thought they were pretty cool and told hubby we should put some in the backyard.


Hibiscus blooming everywhere. One thing I did not inherit from Dad was a green thumb. He grew prize-winning hibiscus flowers when he retired and I can’t keep a cactus or air plant alive.

After watching the baby elephant for an hour, we walked around the rest of the zoo. There were several babies at the zoo.  We missed the baby hippo walking into the pond. We could only see the top of his head in the water and we saw the bear cub playing around.  The manatee hospital only had two injured manatees in their hospital urgent care tanks. That’s better than some visits when all three tanks are full. If the weather stays relatively mild like it has been then there should be less cold stressed manatees in the hospital this year. It was a beautiful warm January morning and by the time we left at lunchtime, the zoo was packed.