Thailand Travels

Thailand Travels
Elephant Ride in Thailand

Friday, March 18, 2011

My personal zoo

     I have been fortunate enough in my lifetime to encounter on various trips in many places the creatures in the nature of God's creation.  From the smallest leafcutter ant in the rainforest of Costa Rica to the magnificent elephants in Chiang Mai Thailand I've seen  a wide variety of wildlife. I'm not referring to what is found in a zoo but rather mostly in natural habitats. Photos and occasional notes have kept those creatures fresh in my memory.
     A river trip in Costa Rica brought us 'up close and personal' with howler monkeys. Yes, they do rightly earn their name. Lounging lazily in the surrounding trees, they commented loudly on our passing. In Thailand, small monkeys gathered round us near a Wat (temple) in their role as professional beggars. We were warned not to feed or encourage them, as biting was high in their bag of tricks.
     There is nothing quite so amazing as the albatross and its life at sea.  Standing on the deck of the cruise ship, we watched them sail along, taking advantage of the wind currents, all the while many miles from shore. Their trips to land were infrequent, as the sea was their home. We did however see a colony of royal albatross in New Zealand.
     Also in New Zealand, seen in a darkened area was the elusive kiwi bird. Nocturnal by nature, the only way to actually view them is in such an enclosed setting.  They sleep twenty hours a day. By contrast, the rhea, as a flightless bird seemed to roam the area of Patagonia at will. Large in size, they are actually a close cousin to the ostrich and emu. They are quite capable of outrunning most predators.
     The bald eagle of Alaska soars above, searching out their next meal. At home in both the salmon filled rivers and open ranges, they seemed relentless in their quest.  The wide wingspan allows them freedom to hunt the air currents at will. The Inside Passage of Alaska was awash with birds nesting along the banks that could only be called 'precarious'.  Kittiwaits and gulls put out a cacophony of sound occasionally topped by the crash of ice calving from the glaciers.  Condors with their enormous six-foot wingspan sailed over the plains of Patagonia.

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