Saturday, June 27, 2020

Stripes & Spots–Photo Practice at Melbourne Zoo

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Booking in advance one takes a chance on the weather at this time of year, in that it could turn out to be an awful cold and miserable day.

But we struck it lucky last Wednesday, it being a particularly mild winter’s day with ample sunshine. Perfect for a visit to Melbourne Zoo, where I have not been for over 20 years or so.

Though public admittance was restricted due to the covid19 pandemic to 2500 people, there were quite a few persons in attendance mostly parents with children.  I hate to think how many bodies would have been there on a normal day, so am thankful that numbers were limited as it was easy to snap unencumbered photos of the exhibits.

Upon arrival we headed off to the right, hoping it would lead us to the big cats who according to map were over there somewhere.

On the way we came across the comical meerkats, wonderfully photogenic beasts.

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Meerkat on guard duty

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Another meerkat on watch

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From there it was onward to the giant tortoise, a peculiar sculpture indicating it was nearby.

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Tortoise sculpture

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Giant tortoise photographed through glass

We passed the Japanese garden…

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Japanese Garden

…then headed back towards the centre pathway and came across the beautiful  old 19th century carousel, which was not operating, due to covid restrictions no doubt…

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Old carousel

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Carousel detail

…and the Peter Pan statue, an Australian version commissioned in 1926, created by Paul Montford.

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Peter Pan statue

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Peter Pan statue (detail)

On the way to the snow leopards we passed the pelicans and penguins…

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…and eventually came to the Snow Leopard enclosure.

Mother leopard was sunning herself high up on the other side of the enclosure and the cubs were hidden, though when we returned a bit later one cub was visible, unfortunately slightly obscured by mother leopard’s  leg.

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Snow Leopard cub

The Coatis and Tasmanian Devils were not visible, so we moved on to the lions, of which there were two males, gnawing on a snack of bones.

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Lion close up

Close to the lions were the African wild dogs.

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African wild dogs

Moving on, the peccaries and tapir were nowhere in sight, but we soon came to the giraffes and zebras and baboons.

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Two zebras side by side – stripes in tandem

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Giraffes – mother and foal

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Long neck

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Giraffe and zebra

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Giraffe head shot

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Baboons enjoying the sunshine

Walking back down the left side of the zoo, we ambled through the great flight aviary where a variety of water birds were on display.

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Some kind of ibis?

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Some kind of curlew?

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more birds

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Black cockatoo

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Black Swan

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The cassowary was in an enclosure by itself. Strange to see one up close and note how like a dinosaur it is.

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Next up was the elephants and the tiger.

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Elephant herd

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More elephants

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Another elephant

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Tiger again

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and again (after all it’s not every day you can photograph tigers)

We’d been at the zoo for over three hours by this time so there were only  a few more sections to visit – the monkeys and primates.

Unfortunately the gorillas were too far away to get good shots and my monkey photos were not a success except for this spider monkey.

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Spider monkey

The zoo charmers turned out to be the Lemurs who seemed almost tame, unenclosed, and sitting on perches close to the public walkway.

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Lounging lemur

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Lemur – such a long handsome tail

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Lemur in an aura of afternoon sunlight

We were somewhat footsore by the end, but it had been an interesting outing and we even ran into an old acquaintance in Arch, who has been a zookeeper at Melbourne Zoo since 1988. Keeping to the regulatory social distancing we reminisced about old times when we were part of a social group that gathered at the Dan O’Connell Hotel in Carlton back in the 1970s and ‘80s.

And it was a pleasant change to take photos of beasts other than race horses.

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