Tag Archives: woodland park zoo

Sea Eagles

Woodland Park Zoo has a pair of Stellar Sea Eagles in an enclosure.  The Sea Eagle is a big bird.  This pair were pretty active as well.  They were making a lot of noise and flapping around the enclosure not stopping at any one spot for long.  It made for a fun time trying to get some shots of them.  Shooting through the enclosure is a bit tricky but, being close enough to it allowed everything to blur out and the shots worked out pretty well.  They are an intense looking creature.

Bear Out in the Sun

Woodland Park Zoo used to have a pair of grizzly bears.  They made an appearance on this blog when we went to a fundraiser there which had a food stand cooking fish next to their enclosure which certainly got their attention.  Sadly, since that visit, one of the bears has died.  The remaining bear is still in the enclosure on its own.  With the sun out during our visit, it was wandering around a lot of its space.  We had a really good view of it as it came towards us.

At one point, the bear climbed up on a rocky outcrop.  It was backlit where we were.  I didn’t realize that just around the corner from us was a spot that looked up at this outcrop.  Anyone standing that at the time would have had a really impressive view up at the bear.  Would have been a good shot but never mind.

Since we were there on a Friday, it wasn’t terribly busy.  It was strange to see how quickly people wandered away.  A few minutes patience rewarded us with some really nice time watching the bear exploring the enclosure for snacks hidden by the staff.

Hippo Excursion Out of the Water

As goes large African animals, one of my favorites is the hippopotamus.  I’m not sure exactly what it is about them that appeals to me so much but I find them fascinating.  They can often be a bit disappointing at a zoo since they will spend long periods of time doing very little.  However, we have had some good luck over the years.  The one at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago once gave us an interesting moment and San Diego Zoo had a baby hippo swimming around during a visit there.

There are two hippos in Woodland Park Zoo and, when we arrived, they were both almost totally submerged in their pond taking it easy.  This does not make for much photo action.  Fortunately, a little patience paid off and one of them surfaced and proceeded (slowly) to exit the pond.  It wandered around for a short while before returning to the water and taking up its previous position.

This disturbance caused the other hippo to wake up for a while.  It didn’t exit the water but it did get its head above the surface and then it yawned a few times.  Hippos have amazing mouths and a yawn makes them look so dramatic.  I was absolutely delighted.  A couple of yawns and then it was back to submerged and napping.  I know they can be incredibly dangerous but they are still one of my favorite creatures.

Baby Gorilla At Woodland Park

One of the things that we were hoping to see during our visit to the zoo was the baby gorilla that was recently born there.  Of course, when wanting to see something at the zoo, you are always up against the problem that the animals are not aware of or interested in what you want.  They are doing their thing.  The parents of the baby were sitting up in a corner of the enclosure, a long way from everything else.  You could just get a view of them from a certain angle.

Then, our luck improved.  The mother walked down the to bottom of the enclosure near the spectators.  The baby was clinging to her arm as she came down.  When she stopped, it would jump off and run around a bit before grabbing back onboard when she started to move off.  Back up to the top of the enclosure and they were gone.  A brief moment and we just happened to be able to see it.  What a cute little creature it is.

Rhinos Messing With Me

During Wild Bites, mentioned in this post, we visited the rhino enclosure.  There were two rhinos inside munching on their evening feed.  The enclosure was not ideal for getting photos as they were indoors and there was a lot in the way.  However, they did head outside a couple of times.  I thought this might be my opportunity.  There were two areas where you could view them while outside and, while they could move between them quickly, to get around the outside required a bit more speed.  I looked at which way I thought the rhinos were heading.  They decided to change their minds and go the other way.  I was scurrying around like an idiot trying to get in position.  I never did a good job of it sadly.

Bears Tempted By the Fish

The Wild Bites food stands were scattered around the zoo.  One of the restaurants was serving a salmon dish.  They were set up right next to the bear enclosure.  The two brown bears in the enclosure seemed to be very interested in the food.  The smell of the fish was wafting in their direction and their noses were twitching like crazy.  They had been given their own food at the same time but I think that they were a lot more interested in our stuff than theirs.  I can’t say I blame them because it did taste great.

Wild Bites

Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle was holding a fundraising event this summer.  It was called Wild Bites.  Taking place in the evening, it consisted of a bunch of Seattle restauranteurs having food stands throughout the zoo along with some drinks stands.  You could wander around between the enclosures, take a look at the animals, stop for some snacks themed on the part of the zoo they were in and grab a drink too.

It was an enjoyable evening with some really interesting food and a nice atmosphere.  I will have some follow up posts with specific animals from the evening but overall we had a really nice time.  A minor problem was that a lot of the animals seemed to turn in for the evening once normal closing time came around.  We found quite a few were settling down or were already asleep.  Also, the drink stands seemed to run out of stuff later in the evening and, since we had waited to sample some of their stuff, to find it was out seemed a bit off.

Still, it was a nice evening and the zoo was a great place to wander as the light gently faded away.  It was all raising money for the zoo too so a worthwhile cause.  Keep an eye out for something similar if you live in the area.

Butterflies Everywhere!

We took a wander through the butterfly enclosure at Woodland Park Zoo.  These enclosures require a fair bit of care on the part of the visitor.  They briefed you as you went in what to watch for.  Double doors are at the entrance and exit to stop the butterflies escaping (or at least keep them in the entrance hall if they do manage to sneak out).  You must watch carefully for them.  They will land on you and your stuff but they will often be resting on the ground.  Treading on one will not be considered cool!

I will state right now that I didn’t make much effort to photograph a butterfly in flight.  They are rather fast movers as you quickly discover if you try to photograph them while airborne.  I have tried this before and I wasn’t going to frustrate myself again.  Instead I settled for a few shots of the stationary versions.  I assure you that they were real and alive – this was not a staged creation for me.

Flamingos Fighting and Sleeping

Wildlife is an attractive subject for photography, particularly when the creature in question is colorful.  A flamingo certainly fits the bill with the vibrant pink coloring.  In addition, given that they have such long necks and shapely heads, they can curl themselves up in ways that make for an interesting image.  The Woodland Park Zoo had a bunch of flamingos (a prize for the person that tells me the collective noun for flamingos without having to Google it).

Most of the birds were just hanging around, wandering about the enclosure and eating/drinking.  A few of them were asleep and a couple seemed to be pretty aggravated with each other.  These guys were chasing around the place and generally getting worked up which seemed to be nothing more than an inconvenience to the other birds.  The ones trying to sleep seemed particularly unimpressed by the disturbance.

The way in which a flamingo will sleep makes for a cool shot.  Aside from the single leg pose (apparently easy even while unconscious), they curl their necks around and rest their heads on the back of their bodies, apparently facing backwards.  The curve of the neck and the way in which the head sits in their back feathers is a great shape and zooming right in to get a tight shot of this seemed to make a lot of sense.  (Besides, when you are carrying a long lens all day, shooting with it must be the right thing to do huh?)

The Red Pandas are Performers

Visiting the zoo is often a game of hide and seek with the animals.  They live according to their normal schedules and are not inclined to be active just because you happen to be there.  They also will find a favored location in their enclosure which is not putting them on display to the animals on the other side of the glass.  You may catch a glimpse of something sleeping in a shadowy space or you may wonder whether the animal is even in there.

When we got to the red panda enclosure, I was half expecting to not see very much.  I figured this would be another reclusive creature.  I was wrong.  I don’t know whether they are naturally energetic creatures, whether they are curious about their visitors or whether some unseen motivation is given to them to get out there but these guys were the exact opposite of what I had anticipated.  They had a number of trees within their space and they were very happy to zip around through the branches.  This often brought them right up front to where the visitors were standing.  They would happily motor about, stare at the people, head back, disappear for a while before reappearing and repeating the process.  Their public was suitably appreciative.