Day 3 — Animal Kingdom!

I am informed that when presented with birds, I become five years old. We were looking for food, and then there was a guy with a great horned owl pimping the bird show, and I dragged Kevin in because we could get food later, and OMG birds! The ground hornbill! The Mississippi kite! The spectacled owl! And Kevin was sitting in a flight path, and got buzzed by the Harris hawk, and the African crowned crane, and then later by a mallard who wasn’t part of the show.

They also had an awesome chicken. I mean, sure, it wasn’t the young king vulture, but I appreciate a good chicken.

And there were various aviaries which were also awesome–an Argus pheasant! I’d never heard of such a thing!–and Kevin stalked a jacana trying to get me a good photo because he is awesome like that and OMG naked mole rats! They had a colony! The staff guy pointed out the queen for me. (Not a terribly regal animal. Still, you cannot go wrong with naked mole rats.)

And there were tigers, being watched over by a woman who clearly loved tigers and could take or leave humans. "Don’t climb on the fence. Don’t climb on the fence. Please don’t climb on the fence…you better not scare my tigers…Please don’t climb on the fence." She was a riot. Kevin used to volunteer at the Carnivore Preservation Trust, which she knew of, and there was much commiseration.

Also, flying foxes! Which are awesome! And…uh…letting it all hang out. I can say with some authority that a couple of the bats in that enclosure were definitely not Jewish. And definitely male.

Also, Kevin had never seen a Malaysian tapir, and owing to scale on the Discovery channel not always being clear, had previously believed that they were the size of a dog. The massive butt of the sleeping tapir disabused him. He had also never seen a Komodo dragon, and had not been clear on the scale either, and was gibbering a little.

After running around and squeeing a lot, on the way out of the park, we saw some more birds. Black-necked swans! And there were other ducks that the gentleman feeding the turtles was pointing out, including a mottled duck. "That’s a native," he said.

"What? Really? It’s from around here?"

"Yeah, they come in the with the mallards. Cross with them occasionally, too. It’s the one right there, looks like a female mallard with the different colored bill–"

I hugged him. (Hey, it was a lifer!) He looked at me a little oddly–perhaps random women do not often hug him for pointing out ducks, or possibly it was the fact that his hands were full of dead fish to feed the turtles at the time.

"You just made her day," Kevin told him.

"They, uh, have babies up the hill, too…?"

So I left a bemused employee with a handful of smelt in my wake, but really, haven’t we all done that from time to time?

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