Saturday, June 28, 2014

for the birds

I'm not sure when it happened exactly but H's and my crappy weather luck finally caught up with us.  We had planned to take B camping up to the Mirror Lake Highway in the Uintas for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, thinking that it would be cool enough for her up at that elevation and quiet enough for all of us going midweek, and we could all get some good fishing time in - I even got myself a Utah fishing license!  But we couldn't go Wednesday because the A/C crapped out and we had to wait around for the repair guy to come fix it (on the plus side: fixed, just in time for the hot weather!).  And then we looked closely at the weather and decided not to go for Thursday and Friday because of the high probability of thunderstorms and rain on those days.  The weekend weather was looking good but we ended up scrapping the camping entirely because that would put us in a campground on the weekend, meaning busy and noisier than we'd like.  So we sat around on Thursday, watching the U.S. men's national team play Germany (USA!) and feeling that we'd made the right choice as a massive thunderstorm rolled through, drenching the valley and the Wasatch and then moving east, where it would end up hanging out over the Uintas for a while.  (On the plus side: B is now so deaf from old age that she didn't hear the thunder at all!)

By the time Friday rolled around, however, we were feeling antsy and just couldn't stand to be housebound even with the winds and dark clouds roiling around the mountain peaks.  We decided to knock a city thing off our to-do list - the Tracy Aviary - with the option of a trip to the Hogle Zoo afterwards to check out their new savannah exhibit.  The Tracy Aviary is located in the southwest portion of Liberty Park in Salt Lake City.  They'd done a bunch of construction/remodeling work a few years ago and most of the exhibits are quite nice for a facility of this size.  There are over one hundred species of birds in the Aviary, with a particular focus on South American species.  The Aviary is divided into fourteen exhibits, including pelican and waterfowl ponds, the King of the Andes Andean condor, eagles, owls, macaws and king vultures, a variety of Argentinian birds, African hornbills, a rare birds exhibit and a South American pavilion.

Neither H nor I are huge bird fans but we did find several species quite interesting.  Our favorites were the Andean condor, the hornbills (they have l o n g eyelashes for protection against blowing sand - birds with eyelashes!), the stunningly colored scarlet ibises, the guira cuckoos (who looked like they'd just gotten out of the shower) and the eagles and owls.  Admission to the Tracy Aviary is only $7 for an adult ($5 on Mondays between 5-8 p.m.) and it's well worth a visit.

Golden eagle

Afterwards, we went to Dick N' Dixie's to regroup and plot our next move.  We decided to keep the zoo trip for another day and opted to return south for a late lunch of garlic burgers at The Cotton Bottom.  There was a decent crowd there for a 3 p.m. Friday "late lunch," prompting H to wonder why all these people weren't at work.  I just shrugged, tucking into my burger - if we were on vacation, they could be too.

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