Monday, December 12, 2011
Florida Holiday 2011 Trip Report - In Which Trish Goes All the Way to Tampa to Watch Birds
On Black Friday (11/25) my sister and I flew down to Tampa, Florida to meet our aunt and our friend and her family and hang out with all of them for a day and a half before heading over to meet mom and dad at the Bay Lake Tower to see all the wonderful things Walt Disney World does for the holiday season and visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter over at Universal.
As you might imagine, this all turned into a heck of an adventure. I'll skip over the details (in particular the awful experience my sister and I had flying to Tampa) and get right to the fun parts. This trip is going to take a lot of posts to cover and note that the larger photos are hosted at Flickr so click them if you'd like to see the large versions.
Ah, Tampa! I hadn't been here in many years. We didn't have much time here, but we got to visit the Lowry Park Zoo.
The best way I can describe Lowry Park is this: This has to be the zoo that everyone who complains about how "boring" and "skippable" Disney's Animal Kingdom is over at DisBoards has visited all their lives. And I say that because it kind of ruined AK for me too (disclaimer: Trish still loves Animal Kingdom). Disney does everything it can to keep visitors as separated from the animals as possible and appears to have a very strained relationship between the educational aspects of the park and the "show" ("You guys have had enough of driving through a savannah of real animals right? Cause we're speeding off to rescue a fake one now!")
Meanwhile at Lowry Park, I was within licking distance of one Giraffid, could have fed another Giraffid, and stood ten feet away from a whole family of rhinoceri. And I almost got crapped on by the happy chap above.
Herewith, pictures of cool animals, amusing signs, and like such as! This will take at least two posts in itself, so today I will try to focus on animals of the winged theropod persuasion.
Tangent: An interesting thing I learned on this trip is that theropod is a tough word to use in conversations with Non-Paleo-Geek People. (ME: [trying to take the "Dinosaur Train" route] "Theropods have three toes and..." NPGP: "Oh, like a sloth?" ME: "... ... ... no.")
This here is another reason why Lowry Park wins. More places where humans can interact with nonhumans need signs like this.
There were small, free-roaming herds of Guineafowl running around, possibly to take care of insect pests. I couldn't look at them without thinking of Oviraptors.
You know, I didn't write down the name of these odd little birds, but I am instantly in love with them.
And this is why.
(EDIT: I'm guessing that they are Crested Couas.)
The whole walk-through aviary at Lowry was outstanding. Fruit Doves are a standard in such places, but I always love seeing the Nicobar Mulletpigeon.
I'm not following you, Sunbittern...
I'm not following you and hoping you will display your beautiful wings, Sunbittern...
(And not for the first time on this trip would my photography skills fail to capture something amazing.)
And around the next corner were Seriemas. The last surviving relatives of the Terror Birds. They could walk right up and lacerate me if they wanted to.
This Sandhill Crane was preening and I just happened to capture this amazing pose. I could draw the shape of that left wing and who would believe me?
I'll end here for now with this Southern Bald Eagle. I was surprised at how much smaller he looked compared to our Northern Balds. He was just a little bigger than one of our Red-tails.
On to Part Two!
Sketch of the day!
I'll have zoo sketches in the next post. For now, visit the Perch, which gave me a nice shout-out! And here's something inspired by Cinnamon Bunzah: