Saturday, August 8, 2009
Day at the Zoo
Finally had a somewhat decent day yesterday. Now was my chance to get to the Zoo. Had to park at the bottom of the hill and walk up. The National Zoo is on a hill. You either go up or down. I took my time (three and three quarter hours) and stopped by the lions. Then went to the The Great Ape House. The Western Lowland Gorillas were outside. I watched for a while and then drew four of them. They were quiet. The Female was carrying her newborn on her back. Just got a quick glimpse of her.
Then up the hill to the elephants. Unfortunately, they were doing their daily jig for the public. And believe me there was a lot of the public watching. Moved on to the Pandas. Each was in the back of the yard and couldn't be seen. Then across the bridge and to the Bird House. Really disappointed here. My favorite birds, the Red-crowned Crane, were gone. Bit disappointed, I was. I knew it was going to happen. I had talked with the head keeper last year and she said they were going to be moved to the farm in Shenandoah Valley this year for breeding purposes. The DNA strain was needed. So I wandered about the bird house and put some color on the Giant Kingfisher drawings I had done previously. Also stood and watched the Double Wattled Cassowary for quite some time. I make this deep hum sound in my throat and she then follows me along the fence line. Back and forth. The kids love this bird. It is so impressive.
Then up the hill looking for the Sloth Bear. Walking by the Clouded Leopard area I had to excuse my way through a crowd of folks trying to get a look at a partially visible animal. Little did they know that if you go ti the top of the walk and look down you will probably get a great look. I did and told others as they came by. They looked at me like I was crazy until they took a look. The Sloth Bears were in the back of their yards. Then off to the Cheetahs. The three brother were sleeping way out there behind some brush. The female was in her yard and visible. Even though crowded, I was ready to draw. She got up and walked behind some weeds.
Then down the hill. The Emu was in the back of its yard. Didn't even think about the invertebrates. There was a line to get in the house. Went back to see more of the apes. They were inside with half the kid population of the Zoo. Glad to see them enjoying the animals.
It may seem like a fruitless trip. Not so. I like to observe the animals and their behavior and I got to do that. I am thinking of recording the sounds made by the human parents. It would be humorous. One father was photographing the Cheetah with his cell phone. You hear "here kitty, kitty". I look up in disbelief and walk away.
Fred R. Crowley