Yesterday, the Regional Pastor was in to visit, so we got to eat out again and visit. It was a fun way to start the weekend!
Today, my family went down to Hershey and met my brother and sister-in-law for lunch at Friendly's. It was really nice to visit and chat with my family all together <3 I got an original burger and a birthday cake Frend-Z to eat, mmm :) After lunch my parents and I went to the zoo. It was swarming with people, but we still had a great time! Here are some photos and highlights...
This little guy was my favorite animal at the zoo :) He's a marten, a relative of otters, weasels, minks, and ferrets. He lives in colder areas and loves the snow. (info sign)
Mr. Roseate Spoonbill says, "Hello" :D There were two and both of them were preening when we walked by. I had seen photos of these online, but this was the first time that I'd seen one in person! (info sign)
They also had two red-tailed hawks. They were big and gorgeous. I love their dark brown colors and majestic wingspan. I think we saw a red-tailed hawk over the hill on Christmas afternoon last year. I'm going to keep an eye out for them in the area.
Magpies. I'd never really heard of them until recently. Their tail-feathers are so long! I was also impressed by the stark contrast in its black and white colors. The magpies we saw were quietly perched and beautiful to watch. (info sign)
Mom saw sandhill cranes last fall when she went to visit her sister in Florida. She took a photo then and so I was looking forward to seeing them at the zoo. We saw just one, but it was very pretty. It stood probably 3 or 4 feet tall with a fluffy tail.
Here's a close-up of his eye. Mm, so beautiful <3 (info sign)
Near the sandhill cranes, there was an enclosure with turkey vultures. Eek, I'm not really into vultures :P But this guy was sitting on the roof of the enclosure, spreading out his wings and slowly rotating around to show off. I'm not sure if he was showing off for the vulture inside or for us, but no one seemed to be paying attention to him. I took his photo, though :D
A highlight of the zoo was seeing a pair of bald eagles. We actually saw four wild bald eagles on the trip(!!) but it was humbling to see them up close.
They are majestic. (info sign)
One of our favorite animals to watch is the river otter. The otters we saw today took a swim in the icy water :D I always forget how big these guys are. But they swim so easily and quickly through the water. Ah, they're fun!
The Hershey Zoo also has white-tailed deer and pronghorns. Here was a little pronghorn who was looking around the enclosure. A few others were sitting in the paths and in the snow in the corner. (info sign)
We also saw a lot of owls :) I'm giving them their very own section in this post :3
This little lady is a burrowing owl. They live in the southwest USA. They don't dig burrows themselves, but live in burrows in the ground that have been dug out by other animals. They eat kangaroo mice in the desert. The display was under construction, but an employee had this 1-year-old owl out to visit :) So cute :3
Who's up there in the rafters... A barn owl! They're nocturnal, so it was catching some zzzzz's. Cornell has a barn owl cam, if you want tune in to watch some live ^_^
This was a very small owl, but I zoomed in on him because he was sleeping so adorably <3 I want to read up on screech owls. (info sign)
There were also long-earned owls in an enclosure that wasn't getting a lot of visitors. We walked down and around to see them, though. (info sign)
In the snow, we spotted a snowy white owl :) For the most part, he wasn't moving; but every now and then, he stretched his head up to look around <.< (info sign)
I hope Dad and Mom had as much fun as I did! Here they are standing in front of the cocoa silos in Hershey :)
We were standing on a bridge over a creek where wild ducks and Canadian Geese were swimming.
This was a view of the Susquehanna today.
And last, but not least, a visitor in our own yard this morning. The American Crow :) We have a few of these who regularly forage around the field behind our yard. Two of them were doing that this morning before we left for the zoo. When we got home, we put out some more sunflower seeds and had two cardinals and a sparrow come to enjoy dinner before it got dark. Since then, I've been processing and assembling photos - a nice way to spend the evening.
I'm thankful for the blessed birthday that I had this year :) Thanks to everyone who made it special and thanks to God for seeing me to (and through) another year!