Wednesday, February 04, 2004

We Now Resume Our Regularly Scheduled Blogging

美香 enjoys her moment in the sun. Evelin and I have to wait for the doctors to consult with each other before figuring out what's next to be done, and I have too much craziness going on at work to worry about test results that don't present any obvious solution, so I will return to fertility blogging once we know more. In the meantime, it's back to the zoo.

On Sunday, I spent a bit longer at the National Zoo than I usually do when I'm volunteering. Evelin's bookclub was meeting at our house, so I cleared out around 1:00 p.m. and got to just bum around until my shift started at 4:00 p.m. It was a pretty cold day, which meant a lot of animals were off exhibit, but Mei3 Xiang1 and Tian1 Tian1 were outside, enjoying a nap in the sun. Apparently, they had a good play session earlier in the day and they spent much of the afternoon napping. (During the watch shift, Mei spent about 20 minutes eating bamboo and then was dead asleep for the next 100 minutes.)

After checking out the bears, I went through the Elephant House, where Kandula was stomping around and making a lot of noise. Malaika, the reticulated giraffe, was still cowing Randall, the Rothschild's giraffe, who was peeking out from behind his side of the enclosure ... but not much.

Giant South American river turtles (Podocnemis expansa) aren't the easiest of animals to photograph, at least not when they're in a giant aquarium.I then headed down to Amazonia, which is in an out-of-the-way corner of the zoo to begin with but construction for the farm/petting zoo has it especially isolated these days. After checking out the fresh-water rays, I discovered that the zoo has some new giant South American river turtles (Podocnemis expansa, also known by the common names "arrau" and "tartaruga"). The turtles would float around pretty serenely until I tried to take thier picture, at which point they'd suddenly swim off in a different direction. If my digitial camera had a faster shutter speed or something, I might have gotten a decent photo, but oh well. Less camera shy was the shovelnose catfish (Sorubin lima), who made for a neat picture.

Shovelnose catfish (Sorubin lima) a.k.a. cucharón

After looking around at underwater side of things, I moved upstairs to the walk-through rainforest atrium. During the summer, Amazonia can be quite stiffling, but in the midst of winter, the humidity and warmth were nice. I never found the two-toed sloth (Choloepus didactylus ), but the Goeldi's monkeys (Callimico goeldii, also known by the common name "callimico") were bouncing around at a feeder station and a number of birds were flitting around, including a number of tanagers and a sunbittern (Eurypyga helias) that was strutting around the edge of the atrium. A palm tanager (Thraupis palmarum) -- at least I think it was a palm tanager -- flitted around me chirping while I was hunting for the sloth. Jungle Walk has a lot of bird song audio, as well as video of all sorts of animals.