Oceanside, CA 2014

     Thanksgiving of 2014, Becky (my wife) and I went to Oceanside, California. Oceanside is about 30 miles north of San Diego.

Southern California area map, (public domain image)

     Pictured below, Becky has made a new friend out on the Oceanside Pier.

Oceanside Pier, California 2014

     We spent a bit of time relaxing on the beaches of Southern California hoping to witness the grunion run of High Tide.  However, just a few hundred meters from a Condo was one of the romantic scenes from the popular movie, “Top Gun”.  A beautiful movie location and typical for the San Diego area.

Looking west at the Oceanside beachfront.

     Also, just a few kilometers west of Oceanside, we visited the world famous San Diego Safari park.  Pictured below is a photo of one of the many sites you would see there.  Giraffes are the tallest land animals. Giraffes may eat up to 34 kilograms of food per day, nibbling on leaves from Africa’s acacia trees. These trees often have thorns that keep most animals from munching on them, but those thorns don’t stop giraffes! They just use their long tongue to reach around the thorns.  This is picture of the Uganda giraffe, and is the only endangered giraffe subspecies. It survives in a few small, isolated populations in Kenya and Uganda. Yet at the Safari Park, they are seen here in plentiful herds.

The Uganda Giraffe at the San Diego Safari Park.

     Pictured below, Black rhinos and white rhinos are the same color, so it is very difficult to tell them apart.  Both live in eastern and southern Africa but eat different foods.  However, this one had a wide mouth. The wide mouth of the white rhino is perfect for grazing on grasses. The more narrow, prehensile lip of the black rhino is great for pulling leaves and shrubs into its mouth. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species lists black rhinos as Critically Endangered and southern white rhinos as Near Threatened. Northern white rhinos are extinct in the wild, and only two adult females are left on Earth.

White Rhino at the San Diego Safari Park, California

     Pictured below, this Black Rino has the more narrow, prehensile lip of the black rhino is great for pulling leaves and shrubs into its mouth.

Black Rhino at the  San Diego Safari Park

     Pictured below, these group of Lion’s Pride is a life that is all about sleeping, napping, and resting. In a 24-hour period, lions have short bursts of intense activity followed by long bouts of lying around that can total up to 21 hours! These gorgeous felines are good climbers and often rest in trees, perhaps to catch a cool breeze or to get away from flies. However, Becky and I saw these African lions relaxing on top of a 4 x 4 Toyota.

Becky posing near the Lion Pride at the San Diego Safari Park in California

     Later that week, we visited the main San Diego Zoo; nearer to San Diego.  There we could see a lot of the more exotic animals that you wouldn’t see anywhere else in the world.  For instance, below is pictured, is the largest parrot in the world. The Hyacinth Macaw is also one of the most striking with its deep blue plumage, yellow orbital ring and yellow stripe at the base of the lower mandible. It eats fruits from a select number of palm trees which are concentrated in the north and south central of Brazil, most notably in the Pantanal. The Hyacinth Macaw is classified as endangered due to the cage bird trade and habitat loss.

The Hyacinth Macaw at the San Diego Zoo, California

     Pictured below, The Toco Toucan is one of the most recognizable birds in Brazil with its distinct black plumage, white bib and large, multi-colored bill. It is the largest of the Toucan species, its comical look capturing global popularity. It prefers to live on the forest edges rather than inside the forest and can be found in the central and southern parts of Brazil.

The Toco Toucan at the San Diego Zoo

     Pictured below, the cheetah is the sprinter of the cat world. Their body is designed to run fast for short distances, allowing them to catch prey that other big cats can’t get.  The cheetahs’ ability to run starts with their flexible spine. It allows their front legs to stretch far forward on each stride. Cheetah claws are hard and sharp like cleats, giving them great traction when they run. Becky and I watched this cheetah run at full speed during the Zoo’s popular Cheetah Run.  The dog in the picture is his best friend.

The famous Cheetah Run at the San Diego Zoo, California 2014

     Pictured below is a strange one, the Tawny Frogmouth is a species of frogmouth native to and found throughout the Australian mainland and Tasmania. It is a big-headed, stocky bird, often mistaken for an owl due to its nocturnal habits and similar in it’s coloring.

The Tawny Frogmouth at the San Diego Zoo in California.

     These are only a few of the animals that Becky and I saw on this trip.  Personally, I’ve never seen a better diverse collection of endangered animals.  And I’ve seen a few zoos in my life.

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