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Where Bloggers Live: Travel to Look at Animals and Plants

Welcome back to the monthly edition of Where Bloggers Live! I am lucky to have joined a terrific group of bloggers who give a peek into the places and spaces where they spend their time.

Today's topic is Travel...and it might as well be time travel because it's been so long since I've gone anywhere! Well I will take this as an opportunity to photographically revisit my most recent two trips from back in 2017 (ugh, that is 5 years ago!):

-Zoo Tour 2017, in which my husband and I took about 10 days to road trip around the Midwest to visit zoos, aquaria, and botanical gardens.

-A pre-Christmas birding trip to southern California, after which we headed up to the Bay Area to spend the holidays with my parents and my sister's family.

Zoo Tour 2017

Travel that involves driving around to look at (and photograph) animals and plants is basically my very favorite type of travel! (Luckily my husband agrees.) So while 10 days of this may seem like a lot to many people, I absolutely love it.

I knew it would be challenging (i.e., impossible) to narrow down my photos from the Zoo Tour so I decided I would just quickly select one photo from each location to share. (Well, one location gets 3 photos because I couldn't resist.) Let's get started!

Henry Doorly Zoo (Omaha) - 9/29/2017

I love love LOVE the big cats, and this zoo (which is, in every way, a phenomenally good zoo) delivered with many terrific species, including this yawning cheetah.

I'm always happy to see a giant tortoise (and this African Spurred Tortoise was booking it across his enclosure by tortoise standards).

And hurray, I always want to see a rabbit! This Desert Cottontail came at the very end of the Desert Dome, which must use Tardis technology to be much larger on the inside because every time we thought we'd reached the end, there was another section...and another section...until we reached this sweet bunny. Saving the best for last.

Missouri Botanical Garden - 10/1/2017

This reflecting pool was made more spectacular by the inclusion of glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly.

St Louis Zoo - 10/2/2017

I'm a bird lover, so watching penguins (like this Gentoo penguin) is always a treat.

Cincinnati Zoo - 10/4/2017

Everybody loves a baby, and the adorable black rhino baby Kendi gave a good show climbing all over Mama.

Newport Aquarium - 10/5/2017

Rays are a strange mixture of creepy and cute, and their weird undulating movement is fascinating. This River Ray kept getting sand on himself as he swam around, which somehow emphasized the oddness of his locomotion.

Indianapolis Zoo - 10/6/2017

This was our final destination of the trip. A giraffe eating leaves from a high branch of a tree seems natural, but when they bend over to eat grass from the ground, it's a very silly look! Though it's true that the long neck comes in handy in both directions.

Pre-Christmas Birding Trip 2017

We visited a lot of different locations on our birding trip, so I'm just going to share a few photos that turned out especially nicely.

Upper Newport Bay (S. California) - 12/17/2017

When I was a new birder, I liked ducks because (compared to songbirds, for example) they are big and will often stick around in one place, giving ample opportunity to identify them. Now, as a beginner bird photographer, I like ducks for the same reasons! This gorgeous duck is a breeding male Bufflehead showing off that amazing sheen of iridescent color on the black feathers on his head.

San Joaquin (S. California) - 12/17/2017

I appreciate the cooperativeness of this Vermillion Flycatcher in positioning himself at the end of a bare branch against a brilliant blue southern California sky and staying there while I took a dozen photographs, hoping for the best. Such a strikingly colored bird!

Los Angeles Arboretum - 12/22/2017

Oh the magical strangeness of standing in a tropical rain forest, warm and humid, only a few days before Christmas! And who can resist a rainbow? I mean really.

Yeah, seeing these photos is making me itch to travel again and see more animals and plants! Just yesterday a co-worker in a video meeting was telling me about a Minnesota birding segment she heard on the radio, and the topic of travel came up. I explained to my colleagues that my favorite kind of travel involves packing hiking boots, binoculars, and clothing in technical fabrics. And it's so true.

One of the things I find rather amusing when I read about travel capsule wardrobes is the reminder that other people like to visit places where they will need to wear normal clothes (museums, restaurants, etc). Packing for our Zoo Tour was the easiest thing in the world since I just needed 10 days of socks/underwear plus a few pairs of quick dry exercise capris, sleeveless or short-sleeved tops, and sports bras that I could wash out in the sink and hang to dry for the next day. I was in 100% Looking Mode (with both a camera and binoculars hanging on me at every location) for the entire trip and it was wonderful. Do I look like sweaty fat middle-aged lady in hiking gear? Fine. I am a sweaty fat middle-aged lady in hiking gear who is looking at animals and plants and having the time of her life! I do not care what I look like to other people...I am (for once) not here to make a fashion statement. It's funny when I get mistaken for a professional photographer in these situations. No one seems to assume I'm a blogger because I don't take any selfies.

Thanks for joining me as I time traveled to revisit a couple nature-based trips from my past. I'm not sure what next month's topic will be, but I always enjoy the opportunity to explore slightly different topics from my norm.

In the meantime, visit these lovely bloggers as they share about travel today:

Bettye at Fashion Schlub

Daenel at Living Outside the Stacks

Em at Dust and Doghair

Iris at Iris’ Original Ramblings

Jodie at Jodie’s Touch of Style

Leslie at Once Upon a Time & Happily Ever After

Are you a fan of visiting zoos, botanical gardens, aquaria, and the like? Do you have a favorite location of this type? Do you ever travel to see nature?

Blogs I link up with are listed here.

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