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Showing posts with label Animals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Animals. Show all posts

Monday, 30 March 2020

Dan's Greenhouse

Front Street Lahaina in Maui Hawaii

Location: Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, USA
Address: 626 Front Street #4
Date: Feb 2017
Website: www.facebook.com/DansGreenHouse

  Front Street in Lahaina is filled with many shops and restaurants.  One of our favourite places to visit when on the Hawaiian island of Maui is Dan's Greenhouse.  We leave Front street and hurry up the stairs to the top floor.  The shop is filled with exotic plants, birds and usually one or two mini-pigs.

Bonsai Plants in Dan's Greenhouse Maui.

  There are Fuku bonsai trees and other plants just waiting to thrive under the Hawaiian sun.  As tourists we were not looking to take a plant home and didn't think customs would let us anyways.  We came to spend a little time with the wild animals who seem to enjoy seeing us as much as we enjoy seeing them.

Black Palm Cockatoo At Dan's Greenhouse.

 A black palm cockatoo was sitting by the window.  It looked as if he was in charge of flipping the OPEN sign at the end and start of each day.

A Female Eclectus Parrot At Dan's Greenhouse.

    In the next window sat a beautiful female eclectus parrot.  These parrots have extreme sexual dimorphism.  The female is bright red and the male is bright green.  Easy to tell them apart, but people used to think they were two different species.

Mini-Pigs At Dan's Greenhouse

  In a small little pen in the middle of the store were two little piggies.  They were so cute and were wearing floral leis.  These are known as Göttingen mini-pigs and grow to be about 35 kg as adults.  The myth of the teacup pig isn't true.  Be careful if buying a pig as a pet as you don't want your little cuddly piglet to end up being a 200 kg plus porker.  These two little guys grew on us while we were visiting, but only in our hearts.

Bare-Eyed Cockatoo At Dan's Greenhouse.

  As we headed for the door, one last bird wanted our attention.  A bare-eyed cockatoo was speaking to us.  It wasn't long before it had hopped up onto one of our shoulders to get a better look.  We spent some time talking with our new feathered friend until the store owner moved it back to its perch.  Good-bye little friends.  That includes all of you pigs, birds and even plants.  After all some positive words never hurt a plant's growth.

Map of Our World
Post # 282

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Ethel M Chocolate Factory & Cactus Garden

Ethel M Chocolates & Cactus Garden.

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Address: 2 Cactus Garden Dr.
Date: March 2020
Website: www.ethelm.com

    Franklin Mars started the Mars Candy Factory in 1911 with his wife Ethel.  Today Mars makes Snickers, Twix, Mars bars and more.  Ethel is the Ethel M from a popular chocolate factory near Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ethel M Chocolates Factory.

    While in Vegas you can take a short drive to see Ethel M chocolate being made in the factory.  It is made in small batches with no preservatives.

Ethel M Enrobing Machines.

  The tour starts with a taste of some chocolate.  So far so good.  You then wander past the machines where the chocolate is prepared.  Next it is more machines that fill multiple molds and create patterns on top of the chocolates and then put them into cases and boxes.

Chocolate Wall At Ethel M Factory.

  The end result is something like the giant chocolate wall at the end of the tour.  Thanks to all the different shapes and patterns you can identify which pieces to eat first when sampling from a box.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberreies At Ethem M's In Las Vegas.

  After our tour we enjoyed a chocolate cappucino and some chocolate dipped strawberries. Very nice.

Ethel M Cactus Garden.

  Next it was outside to take a tour of the cactus garden located just behind the factory.  A little desert after dessert.

Purple Pancake Cactus At Ethel M Las Vegas.

  If you still feel like food, there was purple pancake cactus on display.  We don't think they were very edible.

Ethel M Cactus Garden Joshua Tree.

  There was a couple of Joshua Trees.

Mountains From Ethel M Cactus Garden.

As well as a nice view of the mountains.

Costa's Hummingbird Ethel M Cactus Garden.
Costa's Hummingbird Ethel M Cactus Garden.

  There was also wildlife to be found in amongst the cactus.  Above is a male Costa's Hummingbird that is known for its purplish head if caught in the right light.  Its head feathers also sort of flare out on the sides.  It was sitting surprisingly still for a hummingbird.

A Verdin At Ethel M Cactus Garden.

  A small white, grey bird with a yellow head was all over the place.  We managed one good photo of it as it moved from branch to branch faster than we could get it into focus.  These birds are fairly common in Nevada and are known as Verdin.

Ethel M Cactus Garden.

Ethel M Chocolate Fountain.

  We enjoyed our visit to Ethel M.  A great chocolatier knows that chocolate and cactus work well together late in the afternoon.

Map of Our World
Ethel M Cactus Garden
Ethel M Chocolate Factory

Post # 280

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Leaping Cats

A Serval At Safari NIagara.

Location: San Diego, California, USA
Address: 2920 Zoo Dr.
Date: Feb 2014
Website: www.sandiegozoo.org

    The year 2020 is a leap year.  This February 29th we celebrate one of the animal world's greatest leapers.  The serval is a cat that can jump over 9 feet into the air and over 11 feet distance horizontally.  This allows it to snatch a passing bird right out of the sly.

A Leaping Caracal At San Diego Zoo Safari Park

  We witnessed the serval's jumping skills first hand at the San Diego Zoo.  At the San Diego Zoo Safari Park another cat showed off its skills.  In the photo above a caracal launched itself and twisted upside down so it was parallel to the ground.  It did this to catch a little fuzzy toy that was spun around by a string.

A caracal at Toronto Zoo.

  A caracal (above) can also leap over 9 feet into the air. The caracal wins the beauty pageant and ties in the high jump but the serval is the better hunter.  Both cats are relatively small and weigh up to 18kg.

A Serval At San Diego Zoo Backstage Pass.

  The serval has the biggest ears of any cat and the best hearing.  It also has the longest legs in proportion to its body.  Not to mention that it has black stripes that resemble those of a tiger.  Its long legs let it snatch rodents down tunnels and its curved claws let it hook fish right out of the water.


   It is said that when a serval pounces at prey it makes a successful kill 50 percent of the time.  In the video above it looks like it grabbed the toy 2 out of 3 times.  A leap year success rate is 1 out of every 4.

Map of Our World
San Diego Zoo (Backstage Pass) , San Diego Zoo Safari Park (Cheetah Run)

Post # 279

Monday, 10 February 2020

Valentine's Day List

Neon Heart

  1. Roses at the Ice Hotel
  2. LoveBot
  3. Teuscher Valentine Truffles
  4. Luzon Bleeding Heart Dove
  5. I Heart ...
  6. Heart's Content
  7. Distillery Heart
  8. Blue Whale Heart
  9. Lovebirds
  10. LOVE on the High Line
This is a list of things from our travels that remind us of Valentine's Day.  Love is in the air and maybe you will get an idea of what to get or do for your special someone this February 14th.

1 ) Roses at the Ice Hotel
Rose Room At The Ice Hotel

Roses are a nice touch on Valentine's Day, but why not a wall of roses carved out of ice and lit up above your own private bed.  Sure it's below zero celcius in the room but the Hotel de Glace is a beautiful place.

2)  LoveBot
Lovebot Graffiti

Around Toronto we have encountered LoveBot.  We have spotted him in several graffiti filled alleys.  He is just a little expressionless robot but he is filled with love.

3)  Teuscher Valentine Truffles
Valentine Truffle Holders From Teuscher

When it comes to cute truffle boxes, Teuscher is the best.  This Valentine's couple is a great gift for anyone who likes cute and chocolate.

4)  Luzon Bleeding Heart Dove
Luzon Bleeding Heart Dove

A Luzon Bleeding Heart Dove looks as if it has been stabbed in the chest. Don't worry it is alright. What looks like a wound is just part of its plumage used to attract a mate.

5)  I Heart...
I Heart New York Sign At The Airport

As campaigns go, the I Love New York campaign has been very successful. The word love has been replaced by a heart.

The I Love Regina Sign in Regina Saskatchewan

 We also encountered the I Love Regina sign when we were in the capital city of Saskatchewan. You would probably have a hard time finding someone called New York, but if you know someone called Regina then this is where you should take them on Feb 14th.

6)  Heart's Content
Heart's Content Newfoundland

To do something to your heart's content is to do it until you are completely satisfied.  It is also a small town in Newfoundland.  Perhaps your heart will be content in Heart's Content.

7)  Distillery Heart
The Heart At Toronto's Distillery District

As you enter Toronto's historic Distillery District you will see a heart that has sunk into the brick walkway.  A very popular spot to take photos with the one you love.  In fact, try as we might, we still couldn't take a photo without at least one person being inside the heart.

8)  Blue Whale Heart
The Heart At Toronto's Distillery District

The blue whale has the biggest heart of any living creature on earth.  We have a great love for blue whales.  Imagine one of these hearts filled with love.

9)  Lovebirds
Lutino Peach Faced Lovebirds At Bird Kingdom Niagara Falls

Some more love comes in the form of lovebirds.  These three birds are Lutino Peach Faced Lovebirds at Bird Kingdom in Niagara Falls.  Lutino means they are albino so they have different colouring.  Being albino has absolutely no affect on their capacity to love.

10)  LOVE on the High Line
LOVE Art On The High LIne.

The High Line is a park created in New York City from old elevated train lines.  On one of our visits we found LOVE.  We hope that everyone finds love this Valentine's Day.


Map of Our World
Post # 277

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Australia Day

Australia Day At The Toronto Zoo.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address:  2000 Meadowvale Road
Date:  Jan 2020
Website:  www.torontozoo.com

  Australian wildlife is being affected by wildfires.  The Toronto Zoo pledged to donate all the income from their Australia Day tours to help support the animal rescue efforts.  We took advantage and felt this was a great time to take an Australasia Pavilion behind the scenes tour.

A Matschie's Tree Kangaroo At The Toronto Zoo.

  Our tour started with the Matschie's Tree Kangaroo.  These kangaroos spend the majority of their time up in the trees and are more agile moving through the branches than down on the ground.  The kangaroo pictured above is a female called Puzzle.

Victoria Crowned Pigeons At The Toronto Zoo.

    The next section of the pavilion features free flying birds.  One of our favourites is the Victoria Crowned Pigeons.  They have white tips on the feathers that stick up from the top of their head like a crown.  If you are lucky you might hear the drumming whooping sound they make when they wish to attract attention.

A Macleay's Spectre At The Toronto Zoo.

  Next we went through a Staff Only door for a behind the scenes visit.  The tour guide opened a wooden door and we found ourselves at the back of the Macleay's Spectre exhibit.  We half expected insects to come flying out to make their escape.  Nothing happened as the usual defense mechanism for this stick insect is to cling to a branch and gently sway in order to make us think it is a leaf.

Kangaroos Behind The Scenes At The Toronto Zoo.

  We travelled down a small hall and were taken into the kangaroo winter home.  There were a few holding areas where the kangaroos were all lying around just relaxing.  Once we arrived and lettuce was offered things picked up.


   The Toronto Zoo has a mob of Western Grey Kangaroos.  A mob is what you call a group of kangaroos.

A Western Grey Kangaroo At The Toronto Zoo.
 A Western Grey Kangaroo At The Toronto Zoo.

    The kangaroos have big teeth for munching.  The kangaroo above on the left was a new mother about three months ago.  The baby joey will not leave the pouch for almost six more months.

Senior Kangaroos At The Toronto Zoo.

  One enclosure contained what the keepers called the old timers.  This is where the senior kangaroos were kept.  They often get annoyed by the constant hopping about of their more youthful family members.

A Wallaby At The Toronto Zoo.

  There was a Bennett's Wallaby in with the older kangaroos.  Wallabies are much smaller than kangaroos so despite being thirteen years old this wallaby appeared very young.  Thirteen is an upper age for a wallaby but hanging around kangaroos keeps it looking youthful.

A Swamp Wallaby At The Toronto Zoo.

  Another wallaby was in an enclosure by itself.  It was called a Swamp Wallaby.  The keepers ensured us that it was not alone and behind a piece of wood a bettong was sleeping waiting for dark.  A bettong is still a marsupial but more of a kangaroo rat than a kangaroo.

The Top Of The Great Barrier Reef Tank At The Toronto Zoo.
 The Top Of The Great Barrier Reef Tank At The Toronto Zoo.

  After leaving the kangaroo area we travelled through the pavilion to the Great Barrier Reef tank.  This tank is filled with various Australian fishes.  We went through another Staff Only door and up some steps to the top of the tank.


   We enjoyed feeding the fish in this tank.  Two of our favourites were the Clown Triggerfish and the Scribbled Angelfish who make a snapping sound when they bite down on the seaweed we dropped into the water.


    If you wish to identify the other fish in these videos above you can check out our Toronto Zoo page and scroll down to the Australasia Pavilion (Great Barrier Reef) section.  We enjoyed our tour and hope the money donated helps Australian wildlife. You can always go "down under" anytime if you visit the Toronto Zoo.

Map of Our World
Toronto Zoo

Post # 276